It has become commonplace for pregnant women to undergo ultrasonography, or medical sonography, to check the physical health and progress of their unborn baby. A side benefit of sonography is the ability to detect the baby’s sex before birth. And the images, called sonograms or ultrasounds, become a child’s first baby picture. These are often shared with family, friends, and the internet, even if the baby is hard to decipher by untrained eyes. Sometimes those mysterious images invite pareidolia, which is our human tendency to see familiar shapes among the unfamiliar. Here are some examples of the strange things seen in obstetric ultrasound images.
BosskHogg did not identify the parents who showed him this ultrasound image, but it was apparently taken pretty early. They referred to the child as “Ducky” until they settled on a name for the boy he turned out to be.
2. Emperor Palpatine
3. Another Emperor
DeviantART member Hearte42 shared this early image of his son, shrouded in darkness, which gave him a definite resemblance to the evil Emperor of the Star Wars universe.
4. Baby and Cats
Everyone who sees this ultrasound has to make the same joke: that it's a CAT scan instead of a sonogram. The large photobombing cat is on the right, with a smaller kitten head to its left. After seeing those, it’s hard to see the baby at all.
When redditor AliceAsya was pregnant a couple of years ago, the doctor surprised her with an image that indicated she should expect a woodpecker.
Friends of redditor AsianAnnie shared their baby's ultrasound, and everyone in their circle bit their tongues about the apparent demon staring at her unborn child. If the demon is not obvious to you, this sequence should make it clear—and possibly leave you with nightmares. A commenter who actually performs ultrasounds explained that images like this are caused by the folds of the placenta, which can look like anything.
8. Charlie Brown
Redditor rlgianni sent her mother an ultrasound image and it came back with an addition showing who she would be giving birth to. Is this child doomed to kick a football that's being pulled away from him like Charlie Brown?
9. Rock On!
In some cases, it’s not pareidolia but the baby itself who gives us a surprise on an ultrasound image. Jeff and Susan Snow, who are both musicians, shared this ultrasound of their son Harrison giving a prenatal “rock on!” gesture. Now four years old, little Harrison Snow has been battling health issues that affect his breathing since soon after his birth. You can follow his story here.