Ultrasound to fruit? You might be asking yourself what the connection is there. Let me clear it up – you’ve probably seen those charts that say what size your baby is based on how far along the mother is. For example, week 5 they are the size of a sesame seed, 7 weeks a blueberry, 11 weeks a fig, 20 weeks a banana, 38 weeks a pumpkin, etc…
I thought I would use this idea to compare sizes of different structures in our body to fruits. When I perform an ultrasound everything is magnified on the computer screen. Because we can zoom in or out on a structure it makes it difficult to know how big they are. We can measure the structures using the machine and it is pretty accurate to the actual size. I thought comparing it to fruit will make it easier to put it in perspective because my eyes believe everything on the screen is to scale.
Everyone has different size structures, therefore these are approximations. Most of my comparisons with the fruit are in length, excluding the liver which is compared by weight.
The heart pumps out 70-80mL of blood in each beat. The average blood pressure is 120/80 with a heart rate of 60-100 beats per min. It is about 12cm long and 6cm wide.
The aorta is part of the systemic circulation, it is one of the Great Vessels. It is important and works very hard because it takes nutrients and oxygenated blood from our heart and distributes it to the rest of our body. It is only 2-2.5cm in diameter nearest to the heart.
The pancreas is important for digesting carbohydrates, fats and proteins by releasing enzymes into the intestines to break them down. It is also important in maintaining glucose levels by releasing hormones into the blood. The pancreas is about 15cm long. I can tell you when I first saw the pancreas I was very surprised how big and long it was.
The liver is very large on an ultrasound, you cannot miss it. It has many functions, I will simplify it slightly. The liver is responsible for metabolic regulation, blood processing, and bile production. Everyone has a different size livers. We do not normally measure the length of the liver because it is variable from person to person but it weighs approximately 1.5kg.
The gallbladder stores bile until it is needed. When you eat a fatty meal, the gallbladder releases bile to help break down the fat. It can hold 50mLs of bile. It is about 7-10m long.
Most people know the kidneys make and remove urine but it also monitors blood volume and oxygen levels. The kidneys are 8-13cm long. This fruit comparison has my favourite fruit, the Ataulfo.
Honorary Mention: The Spleen.
What does the spleen do? No one really pays attention to the spleen, I almost forgot to add it that’s why I made it an honorary mention. The spleen helps fight against infections, filters blood and makes red blood cells in the fetus. You can live without a spleen. Other organs such as the liver and lymph nodes can do the same function. I was shocked that it is the same size as the kidney. You have 2 mango sized organs on your left side.
This surprised me how small it actually is. Especially since it is the home of a baby, that means that the uterus has to grow a lot to accommodate for its tenant. The uterus is 7-8cm long.
The ovaries hold all the eggs we will ever have, about 2 million eggs. They make us crabby because they are hard to find on Ultrasound and crabby because of the hormones they release. They can be up to 4cm long. That is about half the size of the uterus.
If there is anything you would like me to blog about let me know in the comments. I will be happy to write about it.
I used my notes from my level 1 DSON classes for details of each structure.
Pictures are from: Baby Fruit, Heart, Dragon Fruit, Aorta, Cranberries, Pancreas, Banana, Liver, Cantaloupe, Gallbladder, Lemons, Kidney, Mango, Ninja Spleen, Uterus, Apples, Ovary, Crabapple and Gallbladder friend