What’s the Difference Between a 3D and a 4D Ultrasound?

Congratulations! If you’re reading this, we’re assuming that you’re expecting a little one or on your way to trying. Either way, we’re happy that you’re here to start educating yourself on all of the options that you have or will have as an expectant mother.

If you’re following the general medical guidelines for every pregnant individual, you’re going to have several ultrasounds across your time during pregnancy. So, you need to make sure that you’re getting the ultrasounds that you want whether it’s a traditional ultrasound or a 4D ultrasound.

Since physicians perform specific kinds of ultrasounds for different reasons, you should be well-versed in the differences. Keep reading to learn the differences between 3D and 4D ultrasounds, two of the newest kinds of imaging.

What Do Ultrasounds Do?

Every pregnant woman should have multiple ultrasounds before giving birth. Physicians use these images to determine whether or not your baby may have birth defects.

Typically, standard ultrasounds offer enough information for medical professionals. But, some medical facilities are willing to do elective 3D and 4D ultrasounds for pregnant individuals who want them.

The more dimensions the ultrasound has, the more information you can get about the baby. So, naturally, expectant mothers are more likely to want to know as much as possible about their babies. Therefore, they elect to have these more detailed images.

Plus, it’s nice to have a keepsake that you don’t need a medical degree to understand.

What Is a 3D Ultrasound?

A 3D ultrasound is a three-dimensional image of your child while he/she is in the womb. With this more detailed image, you may be able to catch a birth defect that doesn’t show up on a standard ultrasound.

3D ultrasound images are also easier for non-medical individuals to read and understand. Often, parents become frustrated when they can’t see their baby on an ultrasound picture. So, getting a 3D ultrasound can make seeing the baby easier.

What Is a 4D Ultrasound?

A 4D ultrasound can help expectant parents get a movie of their baby while he/she is in the womb. You may be able to see your baby yawn, smile, and move around. It’s much more detailed than a standard ultrasound provides.

Just like a 3D ultrasound, a 4D ultrasound can help your medical team catch birth defects that may not appear on a traditional ultrasound. So, this ultrasound can also be helpful for parents who are nervous about genetic predispositions in the family.

3D vs 4D Ultrasound

3D ultrasounds provide a more detailed look at the fetus through a photo, while 4D ultrasounds provide a more detailed look through a video. Both are advantageous for parents who want to clear their minds of birth defects. And, both make great keepsakes.

The real difference comes down to a photo versus a video. It depends on which one you want.

In terms of quality, 3D and 4D ultrasounds are about the same. Both are easier for everyday people to read. And, both can help medical professionals find birth defects that don’t appear on traditional ultrasounds.

What to Expect Before Your Gynecologist Visit for Ultrasound

You may have seen pregnant individuals get ultrasounds on television. So, the process may be familiar. And, it works the same way for 3D and 4D ultrasounds.

First, you should lie down on your back. Take time to get comfortable because you’re going to be in this position for a few minutes.

Once the ultrasound technician is ready, he/she will put gel on your belly. This gel allows the ultrasound machine to transfer the sound waves that it needs to use to see the fetus.

The technician will then use a probe that emits sound waves. This will help the technician take several pictures of your baby from different angles. You may feel pressure as the technician moves the probe across your belly.

Once the technician has taken the pictures (or video for a 4D ultrasound), the medical provider can then read the ultrasound. He/She can then let you know if there are any defects with the fetus or its surroundings. If so, your provider will offer a plan of care that will help protect the patient and the baby.

Are 3D or 4D Ultrasounds Dangerous?

In general, 3D and 4D ultrasounds are safe. Several studies have suggested that most parents have nothing to worry about when getting these kinds of images.

Still, many medical professionals ask patients not to get these elective scans. So, why is that?

Well, many of the places that perform these elective scans aren’t medical offices. Therefore, the people who are performing or reading the scans may not have the medical knowledge necessary to keep you and your baby safe.

Ultrasounds can become dangerous if the thermal and mechanical settings are too high. It takes years of medical training to learn the correct settings and procedures.

So, if you’d like to have a 3D or 4D ultrasound, you should. But, we recommend getting your ultrasound scans done at a doctor’s office. If your current gynecologist doesn’t offer either of these scans, you can ask for a referral to another office that offers them.

In the end, you want to make sure that experts are handling your prenatal care. You wouldn’t want to harm the baby just so that you can have a keepsake. Take the extra effort to ask the staff for their credentials before getting the ultrasound done.

Get an Ultrasound

Whether you’re going to opt for a 2D, 3D, or 4D ultrasound, you need to make sure that a professional is in charge. Ultrasounds are generally harmless, but they can cause harm if the technician isn’t properly trained.

That’s why you should make an appointment with us. Depend on our medical experts here at 67th Street OB/GYN to take care of you and your baby. We’re trained in the proper way to do an ultrasound exam, and we can help you interpret the results.

Plus, we offer 2D, 3D, and 4D ultrasounds! Call us today to get started.