The hottest new baby shower is an in-home ultrasound party. That’s where expectant parents hire ultrasound technicians, invite friends and family over, then huddle around a TV monitor to see a live shot of the baby-in-belly.

It’s the latest rage from California to Florida. And for an average of $250, technicians from companies like Peek a View - Babyface & More – or Miracle Imaging can point out various body parts, count the fingers and toes, and can reveal the baby’s gender to the whole group. It also gives parents the chance for a leisurely view of their soon-to-be child that they don’t normally get during a clinical test.  

But not everyone thinks an in-home ultrasound party is a good idea. Obstetrician Dr. Amber Sills points out that ultrasounds are for diagnosing serious medical issues, like birth defects, Down Syndrome or predicting fetal weight or the amount of amniotic fluid. They’re not for entertainment.

And even though ultrasound doesn’t use radiation, the effects of repeated tests are unknown. So, the FDA frowns on “keepsake” ultrasound videos and screenshots. And Connecticut prohibits baby ultrasounds unless they’re medically necessary.

And an in-home prediction of the baby’s gender could be wrong. Because only radiologists and OBs are qualified to read the images – not the techs who perform the ultrasounds. There’s also the potential for disaster. Dr. Sills worries what might happen in a party situation if the ultrasound tech can’t detect a heartbeat or spots a birth defect. She also worries that expectant mothers will skip the medical ultrasound and do a party version instead.

But ultrasound techs insist they book a party only after the woman’s doctor has confirmed a healthy pregnancy. And most of the time, they get to share fun surprises, like an ultrasound party where everyone discovered the mother was expecting twins.

So what do you think? Ultrasound parties? Potentially dangerous – or a new way to celebrate? Facebook.com/JohnTesh.