What should I know about 3D/4D ultrasounds? And How to Prepare for it?

What should I know about 3D/4D ultrasounds? And How to Prepare for it?

An ultrasound is also known as a sonogram is a diagnostic tool that is used to view inside your body1. It does this by sending waves through your body using transducers. When these waves come into contact with tissues, bones, and fluids, they bounce away. Thus creating echoes that are then picked up by the transducers and turned into images2. This is essentially what happens during your prenatal ultrasound visits. Your health provider sends sound waves using the transducer through your abdomen and the corresponding echoes produce the image you see on the screen.

You might be wondering what differentiates a 2D from a 3D ultrasound and a 3D from a 4D. A 2D ultrasound, also known as the standard or conventional mode is 2-dimensional. That is, the images are made of slices, as a result, they are not very clear to the patients, though they provide a substantial amount of information to ultrasound professionals. With the 3D Ultrasounds, the volume of the echoes is collected. This produces a 3-dimensional image. This image is stored and shaded digitally to produce the lifelike looking images you observe on the screen. Finally, with the 4D ultrasounds, the 4th parameter is allocated to time. Hence, a 4D examination is a 3D examination with movement in real time. Here, you can watch your baby’s expressions and movements. Your health provider will request a 3D/4D examination if your baby is at risk of certain birth defects and preterm labor. This will enable him/her to closely watch and examine your baby. For more information, consult with one of our obstetricians in Manhattan today.  

What should I know about 3D/4D ultrasounds?

There are a few things you should about a 3D/4D ultrasound before you schedule one. For instance, when is the best period to have a 3D/4D ultrasound and why are other periods not as effective in producing clear images. The optimum time for a 3D/4D ultrasound is between the 26th -28th weeks. This is because early on the baby’s features are too small to see much details and after the 28th week, there is less space. As a result, it becomes difficult to get a clear view of the baby’s face. You should also note that your baby’s nose may look different during the ultrasound (broader/flatter than it actually is). There are a number of reasons for this, some of them being a lack of adequate amniotic fluid, the baby being positioned too close to the uterine wall, etc.

How should I prepare for the 3D/4D ultrasound?

Though a lot isn’t needed to prepare for a 3D/4D examination, you should always arrive 15-20 minutes early for your appointment. For the best results, you should drink more than usual during the week preceding the examination. This ensures that an adequate amount of amniotic fluid is available for clear imaging.  Finally, wear a 2 piece loose fitting outfit as your lower abdomen would need to be exposed for examination

How is it done?

The entire procedure is fairly simple. You will be asked to lay on your back, then an ultrasound gel will be applied to your abdominal. A probe containing the transducer is used to transmit sound waves through this gel into the body. The transducer then collects the sound waves that bounce back and uses this to create an image3. Your health provider will repeat this until s/he is satisfied with the images produced.

What are the risks associated with an ultrasound?

There are no current risks associated with an ultrasound examination, however, there is a possibility that some side effects may be identified in the future. As such, ultrasounds are only to be used for medical purposes and performed by qualified medical professionals. Moreover, it is not recommended for entertainment purposes and is strongly advised against in such situations.

If you are wondering if a 3D/4D Ultrasound is required in your situation, visit us at 67th Street OB/GYN Total Women’s Health Care to schedule an appointment with one of our OB/GYNs in Manhattan today.

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1 Comment
  • Rachel
    Posted at 08:14h, 13 May Reply

    Thanks for sharing with us,Keep posting, and please do post on how gestational diabetes affect a pregnant woman also.

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