28-Week Fetus ‘Waves’ to Expectant Mom and Dad During Ultrasound Scan

May 16, 2019 Updated: May 24, 2019

One of the most exciting things about impending parenthood is anticipating the bonding that will take place between new parents and their new young baby. Even before a child can walk and talk, it’s the little things—the smiles, the giggles, and the snuggles—that help establish a lifelong relationship between parents and their little miracles.

While most expecting mothers use the faintly felt kicks, doctor-revealed heartbeats, and grainy ultrasound images to get to know their unborn babies, though, one couple from Berkshire, United Kingdom, got an extra-special treat during their OB appointment this past year.

Lucy Bearley and Stuart Barrett were 28 weeks into Lucy’s pregnancy with their first child when they went in for a routine ultrasound appointment.

The couple expected to see the typical images that come out of such an appointment, with the ultrasound technician prepared to point out things like the baby’s heart, face, hands, and feet. What they weren’t expecting, though, was little baby Declan—who was born in March of 2018—to give his parents a little wave!

“I was laying on my side so it was difficult to see much really. Stuart suddenly said he thought he saw him waving so we asked the lady to rewind the footage,” Bearley said.

Sure enough, the ultrasound technician took a look back in the footage to see that the tiny baby, still months out from his official debut into the world, had cheekily waved his little hand in a way that appeared to be an adorable “hello.”

“It was really lovely to see but I think we’re definitely doing [sic] to have a little showman on our hands. He’s obviously a bit of an attention seeker,” Bearley added.

According to Barrett, the sonographer had never seen anything like it during her time at the job. And when the excited couple showed their midwife, even they admitted that it was an incredibly unusual phenomenon—especially since baby Declan had seemed to turn and look at the camera at the same time.

At the 28-week point in fetal development, an unborn baby, though shockingly tiny, is nearly fully developed—so they have some muscular ability, which enabled baby Declan to wave his arm around even in utero.

The action at that point in a baby’s development is entirely involuntary, with most babies transitioning to voluntary movements at around 3 or 4 months. But even though baby Declan’s wave was as likely a nervous system or muscular reflex, that special bonding moment with his parents was both unique and incredibly special for the small family.

“It’s like he was doing his own thing and then decided to give us a proper hello so we would leave him alone,” joked Barrett.

The couple said that their friends both considered the action entirely adorable and a little bit terrifying—suggesting jokingly that they needed to perform an exorcism once baby Declan entered the world—but for the brand-new parents, it’s the kind of memory that they’ll be able to hold on to forever!