Are 3D and 4D Scans Safe During Pregnancy?

Are 3D and 4D Scans Safe During Pregnancy?

It is well known especially now with social media, that the new cool thing is to see your little one in full form, through the eyes of a 4d scan. It's all about who can catch their little one yawning, sticking their tongue out or accidentally showing their "Toby Tall" to everyone present. 

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What Is An Ultrasound Scan?

Ultrasound scans are a routine check on the baby, using sound waves to build an image of your baby in the womb. These are often using just black and white and can look like little aliens on the screen but that is your baby kicking about. The scans are painless and have little to no side effects on both mother and baby. Scans are used to detect multiple things and keep an eye on the well-being of your unborn baby. Scans can be helpful for the following reasons;

  • Confirmation of the pregnancy, 
  • Detection of multiple pregnancy,
  • Rule out an ectopic pregnancy, 
  • Confirm/Rule out/Assess the risk of chromosomal abnormalities, 
  • Check the growth of the baby, 
  • Predict due date,
  • Check the amount of amniotic fluid around the baby, 
  • Look at the baby's positioning before preparing for labour, 
  • Determine position of the placenta.


What Is A 2D Scan?

2D scans are the black and white flat images that show basically an outline of your baby. It shows the skeletal outline of your baby and you can see your baby's heartbeat on screen. 

What Is A 3D Scan?

3D scans are still images of your baby in three dimensions, hence the "3D". 3D scans aren't part of your routine prenatal examinations and are usually booked into a private clinic and these are usually on the pricey side. During this scan, a number of 2D images are taken from different angles and they are put together so you can see the whole surface area of your little ones face. 

What Is A 4D Scan?

4D scans are very similar to 3D, however the images show movement, taking on the look of a video. During the 4D scan, you will see your baby in real time, you might even feel like David Attenborough sat watching the lifestyle of your little one. You will find this is when you're on the hunt for your little one's attitude and having their own little personality through the screen. You may even catch your little one sucking their thumb. 

4d sucking thumb scan

Are Scans Safe For My Baby?

 Whilst all scans are considered safe, healthcare professionals tend to stick to one rule known as ALARA; As Low As Reasonably Achievable. Meaning they tend to try and hold off giving as many ultrasound and only do these when necessary. During the scans, your baby is exposed to energy in the form of heat and under some circumstances this can lead to birth defects. Healthcare professionals try and limit the amount of time during the ultrasound and also reduce the amount of power used for the scan. This will reduce the amount of energy the baby is exposed to as much as possible. 

Do I Have to Have a 3D or 4D Scan?

Of course not. You don't 'have' to do anything, expect give birth to your baby, obviously. But anything else is for the best interest of your baby or your choice. You can choose to take part in a 3D or 4D scan or you can stick to routine scans and enjoy a 2D image of your little one. 

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