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What Can a 3D/4D Ultrasound Scan Tell Me About My Baby?

Many future parents want to meet their baby as soon as possible and bond with them. This is now possible through 4D and 3D ultrasound technology. 3D/4D ultrasounds give you a unique opportunity to bond with your baby like never before. Time is taken to capture 3D baby scan images and 4D video clips – the fourth dimension is the moving part. We perform all our 3D/4D scans using the latest GE Healthcare equipment – global leader in obstetric ultrasound technology.


The purpose of this scan is:

  • To determine the presentation/lie of the baby
  • To locate the position of the placenta
  • To measure the amniotic fluid index
  • To assess the fetus’ growth
  • To establish a current estimated fetal weight
  • To identify and measure fetal heart rate
  • To determine the gender of the fetus if requested
  • To see the baby in 3D and 4D


What is a 3D/4D Ultrasound?

3D/4D Scans are carried out for those who wish to see detailed images of their baby as opposed to the traditional 2D black and white images we’re all used to. A 3D/4D scan provides high definition images of your baby’s facial features and shape in both still images and moving images. 3D/4D scans are completely optional for pregnant women and are really just an extra bonus to get to meet your baby a little earlier.


If patients are wanting a very thorough check of the fetal organs then they should actually opt for the “detailed anomaly scan” instead which is performed 18-24 weeks – this is in 2D only.


How is a 3D/4D scan different to any other scan?

With 3D and 4D scans, you see your baby’s skin rather than their insides which is normally carried out in a 2D scan. You may see the shape of your baby’s mouth and nose, or be able to spot them yawning or sticking their tongue out. 


3D and 4D scans are considered as safe as 2D scans, because the images are made up of sections of two-dimensional images converted into a picture.


3D scans send waves from lots of different angles to help create a high definition picture of your baby whereas a 2d scan will only send waves from one angle and create a black and white still images. 3D scans allow sonographers to capture more details of the baby’s aesthetic features and give parents and peak as to what their baby will look when born. 4D scans operate the same way as 3D Scans. They send multiple waves at different angles but instead of capturing a still image they give you a real time 3 dimensional moving image.


Do I need to get a 3D/4D scan?

There are no requirements when pregnant to get a 3D/4D scan. 3D/4D scans are great for when parents want to meet their baby for the first time before they are born. It’s important to note that if you do get a 3D/4D scan that it includes a full fetal wellbeing scan as well. A 3D/4D scan will not be able to pick up on abnormalities that a 2D scan can.


What’s Important to know about a 3D/4D ultrasound?

A 3D/4D ultrasound provides no clinical benefit. It will not detect any abnormalities or problems that your baby may have. A 3D/4D scan only provides a detailed high definition still picture/motion picture but doesn’t provide any further information about the well being of the baby.


Fetal abnormalities are best detected with 2D (black and white) ultrasound. This is why it is paramount that these scans be done with a well-being component. Patient’s should be cautious of utilising services who only offer 4d scans without a fetal well-being check.


A 2D ultrasound scan is the best method of providing a full well being fetal assessment. It determines the lie or presentation of the baby (breech, transverse or cephalic), it provides us with information about the placenta location and appearance, it establishes an estimated fetal weight, it examines the umbilical cord Doppler flow to determine whether the placenta is functioning as it should, it calculates the amniotic fluid volume around the baby and it allows for the sonographer to check the standard fetal measurements. Time is also taken to make sure that the baby is swallowing, breathing and moving normally.



We prepared this blog to help educate people that 3D/4D scans are not enough to determine the wellness of your baby and that it’s important when providing a 3D/4D scan that a full fetal wellness assessment is carried out as well. Here at The Ultrasound suite we use the latest ultrasound technology to help carry out these types of scans on our patients. We have a team of highly trained sonographers who have extensive experience in carrying out an array of scans. We are one of the few centres who provide a wellbeing baby scan in conjunction with your 3D/4D baby scan all for one reasonable price. The health of your baby is of utmost importance to us and we always perform measurements and check the wellbeing of your baby. Book your scan with us today or get in touch if you have any questions.


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