3D and 4D Ultrasound

3D and 4D ultrasound at Ultrasound Care

The Ultrasound Care team of specialist obstetricians and sonographers use the latest ultrasound equipment and are experts in 3D and 4D ultrasounds for pregnant women.

What is 3D ultrasound?

This is a three-dimensional ultrasound image created by processing multiple 2-dimensional images in order to get depth to the picture. 

3D ultrasound uses simple, safe ultrasound waves, which are then processed by high powered computer technology. The images are then displayed on a large screen during your scan. Ultrasound Care’s scan rooms have been designed with the comfort of our patients in mind. The position of the screens has been thoughtfully placed so as not to make you uncomfortable when you are trying to view the scan images.

What is 4D ultrasound?

4D Ultrasound takes multiple 2-dimensional ultrasound images, creates a 3-dimensional image and then does this repeatedly so that, over time, you can see the movements of the baby in three dimensions. The fourth dimension is time. So, you can see live movements of your baby in-utero. 4D is just like watching a video.

What are the benefits of 3D imaging?

Three-dimensional imaging provides several important benefits over 2D imaging, but it does not replace 2D ultrasound. 

Surface rendering with 3D provides beautiful images of the surface of the face, tummy or spine of the baby. It can show up problems like a cleft lip, an abdominal hernia or a spina bifida with amazing clarity and allows the parents to recognise what the Ultrasound Care doctor is concerned about. If the ultrasound shows that your baby may need surgery shortly after birth, the ultrasound provides your baby’s surgeon a better view and helps them to advise about the likely outcomes.

A wriggly baby at 12 weeks gestation

This 36 week bub was grabbing its toes!

Why do 2D first?

While Ultrasound Care are happy to do 3D and 4D scanning for you, we believe that it is also important that we make it a priority to find out if there are any problems with the baby. 

To achieve this, all our Ultrasound Care sonographers are fully qualified in ultrasound, with special skills and training in obstetric ultrasound. We also always ensure we do a comprehensive assessment of the baby’s growth and well-being at the same examination.

What are the benefits of 4D?

Four-dimensional imaging enables us to watch fetal behaviour and see the movements or lack of movements at fetal joints. This assists our care team when trying to classify joint and skeletal problems with your baby such as a club foot.

Four-dimensional imaging also allows us to gaze at the baby’s face and see fetal swallowing, fetal breathing and different facial expressions.

Is 3D and 4D ultrasound safe?

Yes. 3D and 4D ultrasound use sound waves, just like ordinary 2D ultrasound. Numerous studies over several decades, have shown that there is no detrimental effect on the baby from ultrasound.

Will the baby feel the ultrasound?

Not to our knowledge. Just as adults cannot feel ultrasound waves, or sound waves, it is unlikely that the baby can feel it.

Will I get to see the baby’s face?

Our sonographers usually manage to get gorgeous baby photos, however, the picture is affected a lot by the position of the baby at the time of the scan.  If it is head down and facing your spine, we only get to see its back.

What is the best time to see the baby properly?

The best time to get the baby in a good position is from about 24 weeks gestation to 34 weeks gestation. Please also be aware that before the third trimester, most babies have little padding under the skin, so they can look a little bony.

A gorgeous sleepy baby at 30 weeks gestation – The eyes are open in the left-hand image, but as you can tell from the image, the detail in the eyeballs is not appreciated on ultrasound.

How do I arrange for a 3D and 4D ultrasound of my baby?

All Ultrasound Care practices provide 3D and 4D ultrasounds for pregnant women. Please find a location that suits you and call our team to make an appointment.