Aside from giving birth, a highlight of any mother’s pregnancy is seeing her child for the first time through a baby ultrasound. In addition to playing a huge emotional role during pregnancy, these imaging tests are important for medical reasons, such as tracking a child’s development and ensuring that both the baby and the mother remain in good health.

What is a 4D Ultrasound?

Most women’s imaging centers will offer 2D ultrasounds to expecting mothers. Some may have the option of using a 3D scanner, which stacks 2D image slices in order to create a 3D image. Recent technology advancements have made 4D baby ultrasounds available, which “true 3D” images in real time as a motion picture or movie. 

These 4D ultrasounds are a great alternative option to expecting parents. Before choosing to get one, there some things new parents should know and evaluate about this particular baby ultrasound. Here are 4 facts you should know about 4D baby ultrasounds

Fact #1: They Use Sound Waves To Create A Movie

Instead of seeing a 3D image of your child, you see a motion video. The sound waves pass from your abdomen through your uterus and bounce off your baby in the form of echoes, which translate on the screen as a motion image. This means you can see you baby moving, yawning, or kicking in-real time!

Fact #2: Getting A 4D Baby Ultrasound Is Optional

Depending on the imaging center that you visit, they will likely use either a 2D or 3D ultrasound. Though 2D ultrasounds are considered somewhat “old-school,” they complete the main medical purposes for an ultrasound, which is monitoring the baby’s development, their age, heart rate, and the cervix’ health. The benefit of a 3D ultrasound is that they can catch certain birth defects missed by a regular ultrasound, such as a cleft lip, and they provide more realistic images of the fetus. 4D ultrasounds are super cool in that they provide a real-time movie of the fetus. However,  are typically only used if there is a medical reason, or if the parent wishes to see their baby more clearly.  

Fact #3: 4D Ultrasounds Could Help Measure Brain Development In Fetus

In a NIH study measuring the role of 4D ultrasounds in the assessment of fetal behavior, researchers found that by observing fetal movements and facial expressions for 15-20 minutes in each trimester, they could develop a behavioral pattern in the fetus’ behavior which would allow them to determine proper maturation and the development of their central nervous system

Fact #4: The Use Of 4D Ultrasounds Can Be Exploited

While 4D ultrasounds are deemed medically safe, they should always be conducted at a medical imaging center and by radiologists. Anywhere offering 4D ultrasounds for the sole reason of seeing the baby that isn’t in a medical facility should be avoided. These centers, often found in Malls and Shopping Centers, are not equipped with medical-grade equipment and they are not trained radiologists. These tests run the risk of causing harm to your baby.

If you are an expecting mother in need of a 4D baby ultrasound or would simply like to learn more about what a 4D baby ultrasound is, feel free to give us a call or schedule an appointment to meet with one of our board-certified radiologists.