We’re expecting!

Chesapeake, one of the Aquarium\'s pregnant dolphins, has an ultrasound every month or so.The National Aquarium in Baltimore is proud to announce the pregnancy of two bottlenose dolphins! Chesapeake and Shiloh are both expected to give birth in August.

Director of Animal Health Leigh Clayton works closely with the Marine Mammal team to manage the well being of the dolphins at the Aquarium. Leigh and her staff utilize ultrasounds to confirm pregnancy in dolphins. Blood hormone values (specifically progesterone) are also measured routinely and are often the first indication that an animal may be pregnant.

An Aquarium staff member performs an ultrasound on a pregnant dolphin.However, progesterone levels also increase during ovulation and may remain elevated for weeks after a normal ovulation. In addition, pseudopregnancy is possible in dolphins and hormone levels may remain elevated as if the animal is pregnant, but no fetus is present. Ultrasound is the only way to reliably confirm pregnancy. The gestational sac can be visualized as early as 4 weeks after conception and fetal heartbeat and skeletal structures can be seen as early as 6 weeks, though in our setting these are more typically seen at 8 weeks. When a pregnancy is suspected, the veterinarians and trainers work together to obtain ultrasound exams on the animals every 1-2 weeks.

Please continue visiting WaterLog for the latest updates from the Marine Mammal team as the Aquarium prepares for the births of two calves!

2 Responses to “We’re expecting!”


  1. 1 dolphinfan June 12, 2008 at 4:13 pm

    Wow, the sonogram picture is amazing!! I got to touch Chesapeake when I participated in the Dolphin Encounter program – can’t wait to meet her new calf!

  2. 2 kattour2 June 26, 2008 at 8:51 am

    I am really excited about your announcement of your dolphins giving birth soon. I have seen many baby dolphins in the Florida Keys and they are really amazing and fun to watch. The cling to their mothers but they also have such an independent side too.
    I hope you post the birth with some photos of the new jewel.
    God Bless,
    John


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