Before the big moment comes a yawn. But for expecting parents, seeing their baby before birth can educe a far different reaction, somewhere between excitement and euphoria.
A new elective ultrasound business is giving Centre County residents a peek behind the prenatal curtain. Hide and Seek Prenatal Peek, 610 Willowbank St. in Bellefonte, is holding a soft opening on Wednesday and will host a grand opening at noon April 22.
Owner Jennifer Miller said the business was a long time in the making, first entertaining the idea in 2005. According to the company, it is the first of its kind in Centre County.
Miller, who is registered by the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography, has worked with families before in a clinical setting. She noticed that even small things like a yawn or the cadence of baby’s heartbeat can be a significant moment for parents to capture.
“For the families, it really hits home for them,” she said. “People think it’s cute, but it’s way deeper than that: It’s the beginning of this deep bonding.”
According to Miller, it’s a learning process for everyone — siblings included. Seeing the image, she said, can make the moment feel more visceral.
“Pregnancy is very abstract, it’s this whole process going on behind something you can’t see,” she said. “For little ones, they just see Mom’s belly getting big.”
Elective ultrasounds, which have become more popular in recent decades, allow expecting parents to see more realistic images of their baby than older technologies have afforded. As with Miller’s services, they typically range from $75 for 2-D images up to $300 for a high definition session that includes color prints.
But they are not a substitute for prenatal care, a requirement for parents walking in the door, Miller said. Those looking to receive an ultrasound must be under the care of an obstetrician-gynecologist or physician.
Miller credited the Penn State Small Business Development Center and small business consulting nonprofit SCORE for their assistance in getting the business started.
“We’re such visual creatures,” Miller said. “Once you understand, it connects you so much more.”