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22.11.2022
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When Is the Best Time to Get a 3D/4D Ultrasound?

For medical reasons, it is a good idea to have at least one 2D ultrasound scan of your baby during pregnancy.  Using 2D ultrasound provides the sonographer with a wealth of information; they can perform a full well-being check to make sure your baby is growing on track with your dates and is healthy, and even determine the gender! They can also detect and flag the presence of possible fetal anomalies. Most health insurance providers will also cover the cost of conducting this scan.

What then are 3D and 4D ultrasounds? Are they safe? And when is the best time to have them done?

What is the Difference Between a 2D and 3D Scan?

A 3D ultrasound scan differs from the standard 2D scan because it includes a third dimension, resulting in hyper-real ultrasound images with depth and detail, as opposed to the flat black and white image of a 2D scan. As a result, a 3D ultrasound can reveal more about your baby’s development, such as facial features and expressions, or providing intricate imaging when there is an anomaly that needs to be studied further. This can help your doctor determine when to begin treatment or correct such anomalies.

A 4D ultrasound includes time as the fourth dimension; producing a series of short snapshot videos of your baby wriggling, yawning, smiling, having a good stretch and sometimes even practicing their crying! 

Are 3D Ultrasounds Safe?

Ultrasound imaging is a medical procedure and should therefore be performed by certified and experienced medical staff.

Although ultrasounds use non-ionizing radiation to send sound waves into the body, there remain unstudied risks of prolonged exposure to this emission. Unfortunately, most for-profit clinics may be too focused on obtaining a perfect picture or video of your baby to take necessary caution about your exposure levels. At The Ultrasound Suite, our highly-qualified and experienced sonographers follow strict best-practice guidelines to ensure your baby is safe during the scan. 

Having said that, there is currently no evidence to suggest that an 3D/4D ultrasound is potentially harmful to the baby. All pregnancy scans that are carried out should always be conducted for medical purposes and in line with  guidelines.

It’s also important to note that all keepsake scans should be carried out in conjunction with a wellbeing scan to ensure your pregnancy is progressing as it should be.

When Is the Best Time to Get a 3D/4D Ultrasound?

The ideal time to carry out a 3D scan of your baby would depend on when it is required for medical reasons. For example, if your doctor needs to check for specific conditions, the urgency of such a diagnosis would determine when you’d need a 3D scan.

However, to capture an image of your baby for keepsake via 3D ultrasound, it would be best to do so when enough soft tissues, such as fat, have formed on the baby’s face. This period is usually between the 28th and 30th week.

If patients receive a 3D scan before the 28th week, the images of the baby may not be as detailed as expected due to the baby’s small size. At the same time, waiting till after the 30th week may reduce the chances of getting a clear image as the baby’s size and reduced fluid levels may obstruct the view.

How to Prepare for a 3D/4D Ultrasound.

We always advise that patients maintain the recommended daily water intake in the week leading up to their scan, as this can assist with fluid levels for good pictures. If your baby has a habit of being curled up during their scans, it can help to eat or drink something sugary before the appointment, as a little sugar rush can get baby awake and moving!

 

Do you have a pregnancy or ultrasound related question? Chances are someone else is wondering the same thing. Send us your questions and we may write a blog to help answer it! Email your query to info@theultrasoundsuite.ie

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