You know your baby is growing. You can see and feel the changes in your body. But sometimes it is important to know what is actually happening inside your body. Under certain medical circumstances, or as a personal choice, you may choose to have a 4D ultrasound to give you an up-close and personal “real-time” view of your baby.
Routine prenatal ultrasounds (also called a sonograms) have been used for many years as a to create a visual image of your baby, placenta, and uterus, as well as other pelvic organs. But ultrasounds have come a long way in recent years to include 3D and 4D ultrasounds. The concept is similar to a 2D ultrasound: sound waves travel into the abdomen and echo back from inside. However, the 4D ultrasound collects images faster and provides a much clearer, almost life-like image, along with motion.
4D ultrasound can be very useful if your doctor is concerned about a problem with your baby. It can show the face, limbs, and body in detail and can be helpful in guiding your doctor's hand if a procedure must be done while your baby is still in the womb.
Is 4D Ultrasound Safe for my Baby?
Studies suggest that 3D and 4D ultrasounds are safe, but experts worry that too much exposure to any ultrasound could cause risks. 3D and 4D ultrasound machines tend to release higher levels of energy than traditional 2D machines. It is generally recommended that 3D and 4D ultrasounds be done only at the request of your doctor for medical purposes.
Reasons for a 4D Ultrasound
Your doctor may recommend a 4D ultrasound to:
Determine fetal age
Diagnose congenital abnormalities
Evaluate position of placenta
Determine multiple pregnancies
If you're having a low-risk pregnancy, you might not be offered an ultrasound at all. Discuss with your doctor about whether or not an ultrasound should be included in your pre-natal care plan.