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Everything You Wanted To Know About 4D Ultrasound Scan

by Aradhana Pandey(more info)

listed in women's health, originally published in issue 226 - November 2015


It’s amazing, the remarkable developments that medical procedures have seen over the years, thanks to technology. Not many decades ago, expectant parents had to wait for nine long months to see what their little one looked like. To put that anticipation and wait to rest, today, with the help of 3D and 4D ultrasound technology, you can see every stage of your baby’s growth when he’s in your womb. You can see every little movement - his frown, smile, and kick, all further adding to your 40-week long journey’s thrill and excitement. While some expectant parents still prefer an element of surprise when it comes to their baby, some cherish seeing every stage of their infant’s development. Whatever said and done, one cannot ignore the growing popularity of this technology. If you’re contemplating going in a 4D ultrasound scan, here are a few pointers that will guide you:


Pandey 226 4D Ultrasound Scan

What is an Ultrasound? How Is A 4D Ultrasound Different From A 3D Ultrasound?

An ultrasound is a medical procedure through which a screen displays an image of your fetus created by the high-frequency sound waves transmitted through your body. A traditional 2D ultrasound procedure scans through your baby’s body, displaying his internal organs, so as to understand if there are any defects in his heart, kidney or other internal organs. A 3D and 4D scan shows you a clear picture of your baby’s skin and facial features.

A 4D ultrasound, unlike a 3D ultrasound, also helps you see the real-time motion of your baby, including the movement of his lips, yawns, blinks, etc. While a 2D ultrasound provides information about internal abnormalities, both 3D and 4D ultrasounds provide information about physical abnormalities in your baby like a cleft lip.

3D/4D scans more than serving a medical purpose, provide a bonding experience between the parents and the unborn baby.

When Is The Right Time For A 4D Ultrasound?

The best time to go for a 4D ultrasound is between 26-30 weeks of gestation. The development of your baby’s facial features takes slightly long, so waiting it out is always better. Beyond 30 weeks, however, your baby’s head may go deeper into your pelvis, so you may not be able to see his face clearly.

At times, however, depending on the lying position of your baby, you may not be able to see his face. Your sonographer may ask you to come back later when your baby might have changed his position, for you to get a clearer view.

Are There Extra Costs Involved?

A 4D scan doesn’t usually form a part of the necessary tests that your obstetrician may ask you to go through during your pregnancy. You can opt for it, but the facility will come at an extra cost that will vary across clinics, based on their offerings and expertise. If you want a DVD recording of the scan for a keepsake, you may even have to pay over and above the cost of the scan. Though an ultrasound is generally safe, a recording, isn’t suggested by experts because it may expose your baby to ultrasound beyond recommended limits.

What Are The Considerations To Keep In Mind Before A 4D Ultrasound?

  • Ensure that you plan to get a 4D scan done only once your 2D scan is over, thus ruling out the possibilities of internal defects in your baby;
  • Research well before you zero down on the clinic where you’re planning to get the 4D ultrasound done. Enquire about the educational background and training the technicians scanning you have in this sphere. This will help put your inhibitions to rest as well as promise you quality imaging;
  • Keep yourself well hydrated especially a few days prior to the scan. Doing this will help increase the level of the amniotic fluid, thus helping improve the quality of the scan;
  • On the day of the scan, make sure you’ve eaten a light meal along with a glass of fresh fruit juice about an hour prior to your appointment. Doing this will help get your baby active and thus exaggerate his movements during the scan;
  • Do check with your imaging provider if they would be repeating a free scan if you are unable to see your baby’s face during the first scan.

Most essentially, cherish the first wonderful moment you get to spend with your baby; it is indeed an experience of a lifetime!


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About Aradhana Pandey

Aradhana Pandey is a passionate writer and loves to write on topics including yoga, wellness, health and lifestyle. She believes that good health is the key to success and happiness. Through her writings she loves to motivate people to develop healthy habits and adopt natural ways of living to achieve sound health. In my free time she loves to experiment on new cuisines and travelling. Aradhana may be contacted via


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