Every woman gets an ultrasound scan of her baby at least once during her pregnancy. Through an ultrasound, moms-to-be can take a look at their baby even before it comes out. At the same time, it helps doctors identify any problems in the developing fetus. The ultrasound technology has been around for decades. But it was not until recently that a newer version has arrived which made a lot of moms and dads very excited – the 4D scan test. Not all medical facilities offer this service yet. If your healthcare provider happens to have this option and you’re interested to learn about how 4D ultrasound works and whether it is safe for your baby, you should keep reading.
4D Ultrasound Test: An Overview
Unlike the traditional ultrasound procedure, the 4D ultrasound test features realistic surface images of the developing child in the mother’s womb. It builds on the technology of 3D scans, allowing you to see your baby moving real-time. Thus, you can see your baby as it moves, kicks, opens or closes her eyes, and so on. This makes the 4D scan technology very popular these days as it gives expectant parents such a fun and unique experience.
The main difference between a 3D and 4D scans is that the latter shows moving 3D images of the baby. Both are considered as safe as 2D scans. Nonetheless, doctors don’t recommend getting 4D scans purely for souvenir photo or recording purposes as the entire procedure can take some time, around 45 minutes. This means they could be exposing their baby to more ultrasound than is medically necessary. What concerns the overall procedure it still includes the usage of clear ultrasound gel and transducers.
Advantages & Disadvantages
Because it provides a more detailed view of the developing fetus and at different angles, 4D scans may be able to provide more information about possible abnormality. 4D scans have been found to be very helpful in detecting cleft lip – an opening or ‘slit’ in the upper lip that occurs when developing facial structures in an unborn baby don’t close completely. It is also used to detect problems in the heart and other internal organs of the baby.
However, the high-end technology used in 4D scan tests make them very expensive. What’s more, the special transducers and software used to conduct 4D scans and record them are far expensive than the traditional 2D scan, thus, experts recommend that parents use them only when necessary. At non-diagnostic clinics, 4D scan can costs around $100-$200. Another thing, 4D ultrasound is currently not covered by insurances, which makes it even less affordable for most people.
A 4D ultrasound is done usually between 26 and 30 weeks of pregnancy, when the gender of the baby is already determinable. At 31 weeks or so, the baby’s head may have already gone deep down in the pelvis so viewing his or her face may not be easy. There is no doubt that 4D scan tests offer a wonderful way for expectant parents to ‘bond’ with their baby even before delivery. However, this test is more beneficial when performed for medical reasons.
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