What is A 4D Ultrasound Scan & How It Works?

4D Ultrasound Scan

Image: Shutterstock

Who doesn’t love to see an image of their baby moving inside their womb? The very experience is undoubtedly out of the world! In this era of medical advancements and technology, it is possible to have such a surreal moment. You can now ‘feel’ your little bundle of joy before your due date!

Once your pregnancy has been confirmed, you will be referred to various tests and scans. While some of these tests are mandatory, few tests are optional.

One such optional scan during pregnancy is a 4D scan test. Before you plan on getting a 4D ultrasound, it is important to understand that not all medical facilities have the option. Also, this form of ultrasound is not legal in certain parts of the world. You also need to know whether your insurance will cover this test or not. Read on to know more about 4d ultrasound scan.

What Is A 4d Ultrasound Test?

A 4D ultrasound test (1) is a way of reproducing a moving image of your baby inside your womb. The 4D ultrasound uses sound waves to

create this moving image. In a 3D ultrasound, you can see a three-dimensional image of your baby. A 4D ultrasound takes this experience to the next level. It creates an effect that is similar to watching a live video. Using this technology, you can see what your baby is doing at that moment inside your womb. In fact, you can even see if your baby is yawning or smiling at that particular moment!

[ Read: Ultrasound In Pregnancy ]

How Is The 4D Ultrasound Test Done?

The 4D ultrasound is done in a way that is very similar to other ultrasound procedures during pregnancy.

  • You will be asked to lie down on your back on the examination table.
  • A special gel will be applied on your belly by the medical technician.
  • This will help to carry the sound waves.
  • The technician will then hold a probe on your belly and move it in circular motions to get a good image.

How Does The 4D Ultrasound Work?

Here is how the 4D ultrasound helps create the image of your baby from inside the womb:

  • A device known as transducer is moved along your abdomen.
  • This will send the sound waves via your abdomen and through your uterus.
  • These sound waves will bounce off your baby in the form of echoes.
  • The monitor will pick up these echo messages and translate them on to the screen.
  • As your baby moves and kicks about, you will be able to see the images on the ultrasound screen.

[ Read: Scan For Twins ]

The Results:

While the 4D ultrasound is in progress, your doctor will help you see your baby on the screen. This will enable you to know what your baby is doing right then.

The form of results that you will get from your 4D ultrasound may vary depending on your doctor and the medical procedure. While some results are given in the form of a picture of your baby, some doctors may hand out a proper 4D movie to you.

[ Read: Fetal Echo Ultrasound ]

When Is A 4D Ultrasound Done?

Your doctor will be the best person to tell you when to get a 4d ultrasound. While some suggest getting it done between weeks 27 to 32, others may suggest getting it done between weeks 26 to 30.

It is important to note that from the 19 to 24 weeks of gestation(2), the gender of your baby can be determined through these scans. While this is legal in some parts of the world, it is considered illegal and punishable by law in other countries. Do have a word with your doctor to know when you can safely get this test done.

Important Points To Remember:

It is natural that you may be super excited to see your baby for the first time while still inside your womb. However, do remember that this is not a good idea always. (3)

  • According to most studies, 4D ultrasounds are safe and cause no threat to your baby. These 4d ultrasound scans can also help your doctor spot any problem with your baby and discuss them with you before the delivery itself.
  • The concern is when you get a 4D ultrasound from companies who offer these results purely for the reason of showing you your baby’s face.
  • Not all facilities are equipped with the safest machines to carry out the test and it could prove harmful for your baby, even though you may not realize it at the time.
  • Also, too much exposure to any form of ultrasound is not good for your baby.

[ Read: Transvaginal Scan ]

While it surely is exciting, you need to check with your doctor whether you really need a 4D ultrasound. If you can avoid it, it is always recommended that you don’t go for it. Ask your insurance company if they cover the cost of a 4D ultrasound. Understand the pros and cons of the test from your doctor and make an informed decision.

Recommended Articles:

  • 4 Useful Tips Of Using Doppler Fetal Monitor At Home
  • Fetal Echocardiography – Purpose, Procedure & Risks
  • What Is Cardiotocography & How Is The Test Conducted?