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.
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.