3D and 4D Pregnancy Ultrasound: What to Expect

4D Pregnancy Ultrasound

Ultrasounds have been used for decades in a variety of capacities as a diagnostic tool. When it comes to pregnancy, ultrasounds offer an “inside” view or a sneak peek at a baby that wouldn’t be possible otherwise. While 2D ultrasounds can indicate the child’s size, structure, gender, and even a two-dimensional view of the child’s facial features, it is rather superficial. Technological advancements that allow for 3D and 4D images give parents a completely new perspective when it comes to seeing their child for the first time.

What’s the Difference Between 3D and 4D?

The main differences between 3D and 4D imaging are movement and image quality. While a 3D image will show all the dimensions of a child’s features and structure, it does not show movement. They are basically snapshots of the image. With 4D imaging, the signals sent to the machine are continuous, providing parents with a view of their child in real-time, complete with facial expressions and body movement. 3D and 4D imaging sessions can take an hour or longer, but less than 30 minutes of that time will be taken up by the actual ultrasound.

The Safety Factor

The ultrasounds that are performed at the spa allow expectant mothers to see their baby months before it is born. A 3D or 4D ultrasound should never take the place of those performed by your primary care doctor. While they are excellent at allowing you to view the baby on the outside, the ultrasounds performed by the primary care doctor can determine health issues that may not be present on the other scans. In the doctor’s office, the idea is to ensure the baby is healthy and on track with no abnormalities and defects. At the spa, the primary goal is to show you how your child is developing and allowing you to watch the process.

There are other possible safety factors when it comes to ultrasound technology. Because the technology uses sound waves, the tissues those waves pass through may become warmer than normal. This can result in abnormalities in the tissues, such as gas pockets and fluid retention. Be sure that the ultrasound facility employs sonographers that have extensive training and certification in medical ultrasound with a focus on OB/GYN scanning. 

What Ultrasounds Can Show

Ultrasounds can show both the good and the bad during pregnancy. They can determine structural abnormalities as well as the child’s gender and facial features. A 4D ultrasound shows movement, which can also provide doctors with valuable information when it comes to a child’s physical health. This type of imaging also provides parents with an accurate picture of what their child looks like before birth. While this type of test is not recommended on a regular basis, a 3D or 4D ultrasound has benefits for both parents and the doctor. From the parent’s point of view, being able to see your child months before birth gives you peace of mind and the chance to peek into your baby’s world and see their beautiful face for the first time.

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