An ultrasound scan has become standard practice during pregnancy. Many mothers look forward to their ultrasound to catch a glimpse of their baby and make sure that everything is going well with their pregnancy, yet thanks to the recent technological developments in this field, getting an ultrasound will become the highlight of your pregnancy.
All about your ultrasound – What is the difference between a 2D and a 3D or 4D ultrasound?
An ultrasound scan or sonogram uses ultrasound waves as a medium to go through the abdominal muscles and uterine wall and help you see the developing fetus inside the mother’s womb. A 2D ultra sound has become routine practice and most doctors consider it as standard good care.
A 2D ultrasound will confirm your pregnancy in your first trimester. You will be able to see the small embryo and the placenta in the womb and have the peace of mind that all is well with your baby. Your doctor will also give you a print out of your baby and you will have the first picture of your little one to treasure.
Further 2D ultrasounds will be performed during your second and third trimester to make sure that all is going well with the developing baby.
The difference between a 2D, a 3D and a 4D ultrasound is that while a 2D ultrasound will help you perceive shadows of the outline of your baby’s face, body and internal organs, a 3D ultrasound will give you depth perception and will help you see possible defects in the heart chamber or a cleft palette.
During a 4D ultrasound the images will become much clearer, and a parent will be able to see the face of the child, details such as fingers and toes and even facial expressions.
All about your ultrasound – The benefits of a 4D ultrasound
I have just been through a 4D ultrasound and the experience was incredible. Catching a glimpse of your child’s face is priceless. Even though 2d and 3D ultra sounds are perfect for diagnostic purposes, I think that the thrill of seeing your child’s face during a 4D is a great way to bond with your unborn child.
In a 4D ultrasound you will be able to see your baby’s profile, the eyes, the nose and lips of your child and it is a great way to bond with your baby.
All about your ultrasound – What to expect during a 4D ultrasound
The baby is no longer a group of shadows on a screen. You will be able to see the child’s face and facial expressions, his little fingers and toes, see the baby play with his fingers, suck his thumb and even blink and smile. Though a 4D is done for non medical purposes, I think it is a great way to make sure that all is well with your child.
The technician will start by looking at the head circumference and will then move to the heart. You will see him check the heart chambers and check for abnormalities. The technician will also check the abdominal circumference, stomach vault, umbilical cord, spine, the fluid and the placenta, amongst other things.
To see a 4D ultrasound examination click here
All about your ultrasound – When is the best time to have a 4D ultrasound?
A 4D ultrasound between 16-20 weeks will give you images of the whole baby. If you opt for a 4D during 28-32 weeks you will be able to clearly see the baby’s face and facial features, together with details of fingers and toes. 26 weeks is the best time to see twins.
For a directory of 3D and 4D ultrasound providers click here
On a final note – the costs and risks of ultrasound technology.
4D ultrasounds are expensive and unless your doctor recommends a 3D ultrasound to investigate possible abnormalities, it is unlikely that your insurance will cover the cost. There have also been controversies with regards to the safety of ultrasounds and there have been studies that have linked abuse of ultrasounds with autism and problems in neurological development, yet most doctors will still recommend an ultrasound because even a standard 2D ultrasound is one of the best way to monitor pregnancy.
Among other things your technician will be able to measure the head, the abdomen and femur of the fetus. The technician will also be able to check internal organs and the spine. All this information will be crucial in determining the health of your baby and will help doctors provide the necessary treatment. The best way to rule out any concerns you might have when it comes to an ultrasound is to discuss any possible issues with your care provider.
To see a video outlining the benefits and risks of an ultrasound scan click here