Baby Hair on Ultrasound: What You Can Expect To See (& When)

When pregnant, you typically receive ultrasounds in the first trimester around week 8 and in the second trimester around week 20.

For many women, these ultrasounds are a highlight of pregnancy as they await the arrival of their little ones.

The anticipation builds as they walk into the sonography room, lie down on the table, get a squirt of gel, and stare at a fuzzy black-and-white screen with no clue what they’re looking at. 

So, can you see hair on an ultrasound? You can see hair on 2D, 3D, and 4D ultrasounds given ideal conditions and a trained eye. Hair is most prominently visible on 2D ultrasounds where they appear as white strands or a fuzzy white halo. Hair can be seen as an out-of-place contour in 3D and 4D ultrasounds with a sonographer’s assistance. 

Keep reading to learn more about the different types of ultrasounds, what parts of the baby you can see, and how to identify what you are seeing. 

Hair on Ultrasound

To the untrained eye, an ultrasound is just blobs of black and white, but someone who knows what they’re looking for can see all sorts of things like a baby’s heart, spine, and even hair.

Hair on 2D Ultrasound

Hair is visible on a 2D ultrasound in the later stages of pregnancy. This hair typically either looks like thin white strands or a fuzzy halo atop the baby’s head depending on the digital clarity of the ultrasound and the amount of hair.

It can be difficult to spot, but a trained sonographer should be able to point out the baby’s hair if any is present.

Hair on 3D and 4D Ultrasound

3D ultrasounds operate differently than 2D ultrasounds by emitting multiple waves from different angles to produce a 3-dimensional image.

Instead of being able to see individual hairs, you will only see hair on a 3D ultrasound if your baby has a lot of it.

Rather than viewing via color contrast as you would in the 2D ultrasound, hair in a 3D ultrasound looks like an out-of-place contour on the baby’s head.

The main difference between 3D and 4D ultrasounds is that you’re able to see your baby move in real time. The advantage of this is that the baby may be viewed from different angles.

However, looking for something as small as hair on a 4D ultrasound while the baby is moving poses a challenge.

When Hair Becomes Visible on Ultrasound

The time at which hair becomes visible on an ultrasound depends heavily on the amount of hair the baby has.

The baby’s hair follicles are developed around week 15. As their hair begins to grow through these follicles, it becomes increasingly visible. Hair is often able to be seen at the 20-week anatomy scan. 

How To Tell if A Baby Has Hair on Ultrasound

If you’ve never seen hair on an ultrasound before, it can be difficult to find. For this reason, it’s easiest to ask your sonographer to point the baby’s hair out if they have any.

However, you can spot hair on a 2D ultrasound because it will look like a small bunch of white wisps. On a 3D ultrasound, it will look like an out-of-place bump on the baby’s head.

What Color Is Hair on Ultrasound?

You will not be able to see your baby’s hair color on an ultrasound. Even if you could, their hair color is likely to change in the first few months of life.

On a 2D ultrasound, hair strands will appear bright white in contrast to the darker background. In 3D ultrasounds, hair is not colored at all. 

What To Expect To See on Baby Ultrasound

Ultrasounds can pick up several components of your baby’s anatomy and physiology. Ultrasounds detect both external and internal structures of the body.

For example, it outlines the legs, feet, and toes, but it can also see the bones within them. In addition, ultrasounds can spot organs, blood vessels, muscles, joints, and tendons.

Ultrasounds are also useful for the early detection of infections, tumors, cysts, and cardiovascular abnormalities. Issues with fetal anatomy are typically detected at the 20-week anatomy scan if they are present. 

What Weeks Do You Get Ultrasounds During Pregnancy?

A healthy, uncomplicated pregnancy usually requires 1-2 ultrasounds. The first ultrasound, held between 7 and 10 weeks, is used primarily for fetal dating and heartbeat detection.

The second ultrasound, between 18 and 22 weeks, is to check the fetal anatomy for abnormalities, infections, and growth.

A complicated or high-risk pregnancy will often require more frequent ultrasounds during the first and third trimesters. 

How To Increase Baby Hair Growth During Pregnancy

Fetal hair growth is driven by estrogen. Eating foods that increase the production of estrogen in the body during pregnancy can positively impact hair growth.

The best foods for this are nuts, seeds, berries, sweet potatoes, avocados, fish, eggs, and spinach.

Baby Born With Lots of Hair on Body

A thin layer of hair called lanugo forms all over the baby’s body while in the uterus.

Lanugo has two primary purposes: to protect the baby’s skin and regulate their temperature. This hair thins out as birth approaches and typically falls out within the first few months of a baby’s life.

Premature babies will often have more lanugo than babies that were carried to term.

Related Questions:

Why Are Some Babies Born Without Hair? 

Fetal hair growth is dependent on genetics and maternal hormones during pregnancy. It is normal for some babies to be born without hair either due to genetics or lack of estrogen.

When Do You Get Your First Ultrasound Photo? 

You typically receive your first ultrasound photo between 7 and 10 weeks during the fetal dating scan. Sometimes photos are provided in a digital format while other times you can receive physical hard copies.


Fetal hair is detectable most prominently in 2D ultrasounds but can be visible in some 3D and 4D ultrasounds as well. Fetal hair growth occurs around week 15 and is typically seen on ultrasounds at the 20-week anatomy scan.