A 3D ultrasound can be obtained at any time during pregnancy, however the optimal time to have a 3D Ultrasound is between 26 and 32 weeks. Earlier pregnancy ultrasounds allow mothers to see more complete images of their baby. Later 3D baby ultrasounds reveal improved facial features since the developing fat layer enhances these images. It is important to remember that all images are dependent on the baby's position, movement, size, and the amount of surrounding amniotic fluid.
Ultrasound has been in use for over 35 years and no harmful effects have ever been shown from responsible use. Reputable and responsible 3D/4D centers limit scanning time to those much less than a typical 2D diagnostic scan. A 3D/4D ultrasound uses the same exact power levels as the traditional 2D ultrasound and the FDA sets the standard level that is safe to be used.
When mothers are allowed to see a realistic view into the womb, the pregnancy becomes more real and often causes mothers to take better care of themselves. Fathers, extended families and siblings enjoy the experience of viewing a 3D ultrasound session.
2D, 3D, and 4D ultrasounds are produced by listening to sound waves. A 2D visualization is a single plane interpretation of the reflected sound waves. 3D ultrasound is the same but at multiple angles. These still images are created through sophisticated software and shows detailed features of the baby. 4D ultrasound is referred to as the “4th dimension in time.” Instead of looking at a 3D still image, you can view a real-time video with motion of the baby while still in the womb.
There are several important factors involved when producing a 3D/4D ultrasound. One factor is the amount of space remaining in the womb. 2D ultrasound sees through everything but when scanning in 3D, everything becomes solid. Therefore things like the umbilical cord or placenta can act as a barrier if sitting in front of the baby. The most optimal time to see the baby is between 26 – 28 weeks because there is still room in the womb. The further into the pregnancy you are, the more the remaining space decreases. Another important factor is how much amniotic fluid is present. It is important to stay hydrated throughout the pregnancy. Extra fluid intake a few days prior to coming in for a 3D/4D baby ultrasound scan is known to help with the clarity of the pictures. The placenta position is another element that affects a ultrasound. An anterior placenta is on the front side of the womb and in front of the baby while a posterior placenta is on the backside of the womb and in back of the baby. With 3D/4D imaging, the posterior is ideal however, it is possible to capture the baby regardless.
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