Getting to hear you and your partner are going to be parents is perhaps one of the most exhilarating announcements. This is especially true in the case of first-time pregnancies. The dream of having one’s own family soon starts to take shape and suddenly, everything centers around the pregnancy schedule, mother’s health routines, and the baby’s development.
Children are a delight, that most people are longing to embrace, which makes the 9-month wait for the baby that much more exciting, adventurous and full of surprises.
Are you at the start or somewhere in the middle of that journey to meet your baby? You must also have a lot of questions on how to care for the baby as it depends on you a lot more while inside the womb.
Whether you’re a mother or a father, you’re bound to be taking precautions and going the extra mile to keep the baby in the pink of health. That said, you must also have curiosity on the gender of your baby, what his/her features will look like, and suddenly 9 months can seem like too long a wait.
Well, traditional methods and baby scans may not have been able to offer much excitement except of course for a black and white, blurry image with an astonishingly powerful heartbeat. But that’s where 3D and 4D can be a game-changer.
Now you may be wondering what’s so different about the 3D and 4D ultrasounds. To answer that, let’s start with defining 2D ultrasound. As its name suggests, 2D ultrasound introduces you to your baby in 2-dimension form.
Going back to the reference above of ‘black and white + blurry with a rather fast heartbeat’ – this statement categorizes as a 2d ultrasound. To sum things up, it gives you proof of the life living inside of you while containing the surprise. But, since today’s generation is all about instant-gratification, even pregnancy and parenting questions are sought-after with an expectation of wanting answers in real-time.
If you’re reading this, thinking yes, I’d rather know whether we’re expecting a girl or boy so I can plan the baby’s room and wardrobe better, this is exactly what we’re referring to. And 3D/4D Ultrasound is the way to satisfy that curiosity.
Although it makes use of the same technology called sound waves, and it is carried out in the same manner as 2D scanning (i.e. by placing the device over the belly), 3D crafts an image of the baby’s details. Yes, it is possible to see your baby’s features and particular physical characteristics while yet in the womb.
Now, a 4D Ultrasound scan takes this even one step further, allowing you to view the baby as it moves or turns. For some extra fortunate parents-to-be, it may even include a glimpse of their baby yawning, stretching, or smiling.
We attended the ultrasound 4d scan today. The experience was eye opening. It gave us an insight on how our unborn child will look like. Also the staff member doing the ultra sound was very nice.Eric and Ella
4D imaging is what we did for my first and now second child. David is very welcoming and anytime called will give you an appointment right away. We did this on Sunday which was a long weekend. Also the images and clips were transferred to our phones on the spot. Very pleased.Hadi Zadeh
My husband and I went in for a 3D/4D ultrasound at my 30 weeks pregnancy. David Portnoy was such a nice person, very welcoming and made us feel so comfortable! I recommend Early Image to everyone. I’ll for sure go back in the future! – Thank you David!MIA ALI
Like you’ve read above, 3D and 4D ultrasound offer the unmistaken advantage of giving you the ability to connect with your baby, much earlier than planned.
However, experts will constantly remind you that this is entirely dependent on how skilled the technician is at his/her job and the technology being used. This brings us to the important thing to keep in mind to avoid a disappointing experience.
Do remember to check whether they practice using safe technology, have a comfortable and hygienic environment and have certified staff.
Additionally, you can speak to them as to when is the best time to attempt getting clear, high definition images.
And finally, don’t forget to check out our website, services, and testimonials from other clients to help you decide whether you should proceed with them.
Ultrasound in pregnancy (also known as ‘sonograms’ or ‘scans’) can be performed for a variety of reasons. Medical ultrasounds in pregnancy work on the same principle as sonar (used in oceanography to map the sea bed). The technician uses a hand-held ultrasound probe (or ‘transducer’) to generate and receive high frequency sound waves that cannot be heard by the human ear.
Hundreds of sound waves are emitted from the transducer during each scan. These waves are absorbed and bounced back from human tissues, bones and body fluids (all with different densities) to create black and white ultrasound images that look similar to a photographic negative, with black areas indicating liquid mediums (such as amniotic fluid) and grey or white areas indicating denser materials such as tissues and bones.
The sound frequency of ultrasound is measured in megahertz (or MHz). Frequencies used for pregnancy ultrasounds can range from 1.6 to 10 MHz, but are more commonly between 3 and 7.5 MHz.
Generally the lower the frequency, the further (or deeper) the sound waves can penetrate the body’s tissues. Ultrasound waves that create images for visual examination are intermittently ‘pulsed’ to reduce the heating of the body’s tissues (unlike continuous ultrasound therapies that may be used to treat injured muscles and tissues). ‘Diagnostic ultrasounds’ (that create images) tend to require lower intensities than Doppler ultrasound, used to assess blood flow through the cord and placenta and to listen to the baby’s heartbeat.
Ultrasound does not use radiation (like x-rays) and is seen by many caregivers as a non-invasive way to view the unborn baby, uterus and placenta during pregnancy.
The physical effects and research into the safety of ultrasounds are looked at in Ultrasounds in pregnancy are performed by a qualified Sonographer (technologist) or a Sonologist (specialist doctor). In a hospital environment usually the Sonographer performs the examination and the Sonologist in charge of the department interprets the images and writes up the final report.
There are many different ways ultrasound in pregnancy, for various reasons. We perform the following:
Ultrasound technology is often used to listen to an unborn baby’s heartbeat (after 12 weeks of pregnancy). Caregivers can use a hand-held portable doppler (or ‘sonocaid’) that emits sound waves of about 2 MHz of frequency to detect changes in blood flow through the baby’s heart to produce an audible sound. CTG monitors also use ultrasound to continuously record the baby’s heart rate during pregnancy and labour.
Most ultrasounds are conventional 2D (or two-dimensional) images. 2D ultrasound images are made up of a series of thin image ‘slices’, with only one slice being visible at any one time to create a ‘flat’ looking picture.
During the late 1990’s, 3D or ‘three-dimensional’ ultrasounds (also known as ‘ultrasound holographs’) started to become available in some ultrasound centers. However, 3D ultrasound machines are extremely expensive and are not widely accessible at this stage.
3D ultrasounds work by taking thousands of images ‘slices’ in a series (called a ‘volume of echoes’). The volumes are then digitally stored and shaded to produce 3 dimensional images of the baby that look more life-like. 4D (or ‘four-dimensional’ images) just means the images can be seen to move in ‘real time’ so the activity of the baby can be studied.
Most 3D ultrasound machines require the operator to hold the transducer steady, while the internal workings of the transducer move at the correct speed to capture each ‘volume’. Other machines can involve the operator manually moving the transducer over the area to capture the volume. However, this requires a good deal of skill and practice so the transducer is kept perfectly steady and images are obtained at the proper rate and angle.
From a medical perspective, 3D/4D ultrasounds are not essential and generally, all the information your caregiver needs can be obtained through a conventional 2D ultrasound. However, the claimed benefits for using 3D/4D machines can include:
Seeing some parts of the baby more clearly and at any angle. For example, better visualising abnormalities such as a heart defect, cleft lip or neural tube defects such as spina bifida. This may help make better plans for the baby’s treatments and care soon after birth. Sometimes an additional 3D ultrasound will be ordered to have a better look at an abnormality that may have been detected with a routine 2D ultrasound.