Appendix J: Suggestions for taking photographs of a fetus or neonate with a congenital anomaly

If parental consent is required for taking the photograph
  • Ensure the consent form is signed before taking the photograph.
    • Note: if parents do not consent to a photograph, the fetus or neonate can still be included in the surveillance programme.
Prior to taking the photograph
  • Have a clean, simple, non-patterned light or dark blue background (no blankets or other things in the bassinet or on the examination table).
  • If there are objects on the examination table that affect the photograph, remove them before taking the photograph.
When taking the photograph
  • Take a view of the entire fetus or neonate, plus several focused views of the congenital anomaly/anomalies.
  • Take a separate view of the face, if possible.
  • Take a front or back view, or both, plus a side view, depending on the congenital anomaly.
  • Avoid taking photographs at an angle; i.e. take all photographs holding the camera at 90° to the fetus or neonate.
  • Use no personal identification; instead use coded identification.
  • If more than one photograph is taken, make sure that all photographs can be identified with a code for that particular fetus or neonate.
  • Assign identifiers to the photograph files, using a unique code and adding an extra number to indicate the number of photographs taken of the same fetus or neonate (for example: 0001_1; 0001_2, etc.).
  • Place a label next to, but not touching, the fetus or neonate, if needed. Similarly, place a ruler or measuring tape next to, but not touching, the fetus or neonate, to help estimate size.
  • Ensure that there is adequate lighting and no shadows in the photograph. Use a flash if needed.
  • Consider the cost of photograph storage.
When a digital camera is used
  • Use high resolution, at least 300 ppi (pixels per inch).
  • Review photographs quickly while on site.
  • Save the image in jpeg (jpg) format; make sure each photograph is transferred to a computer file or other secure storage before deleting it from the camera.
  • Tablets or smart phones can also be used to take photographs.

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