3D ultrasound is a popular technique used in obstetrical sonography which provides a three dimensional (3D) image of the fetus. Sound waves are emitted at different angels into the body by a hand-held ultrasound probe or transducer. A thin layer of ultrasound gel on the surface of the skin enables the sound waves to pass through the skin easily. The returning signals or echoes produced are then processed by sophisticated computer software, resulting in a reconstructed 3D volume image of the baby in utero. The standard colouration assigned to the 3D image is a yellowish-tan colour as opposed to the flat black and white 2D ultrasound image that most people are familiar with. Parents-to-be are able to visualize facial features of their little one in amazing detail and in different angles.
One of the most frequently asked questions is what is the difference between 3D and 4D ultrasound? 3D ultrasound enables the fetus to be viewed as static 3D images. 4D ultrasound gives us the added benefit of live streaming video of the 3D images showing baby motion. The image is updated continuously becoming a moving image, like a movie. You can view the entire 4D scan on our large screen HD television and depending on the package you select, the 4D scan can be saved digitally to be viewed by friends and family at a later date. Most of our packages also include digital 3D images and hard copy high resolution prints.
This amazing development of 3D/4D ultrasound technology has enabled better visualization of the unborn baby and consequently has facilitated detection of some anatomical defects, more difficult to discern in the conventional 2D mode. In addition, the emotional comfort and enhanced parental bonding clients experience when viewing their unborn baby with such clarity cannot be underestimated. Our clients frequently tell us how relieved they are to see their little ones looking so peaceful and comfortable sleeping, thumb sucking, yawning or moving about in the womb. Moms often comment that seeing the baby’s movements in 4D while feeling it simultaneously helps them understand what is happening in utero. That poke in the ribs is the left foot, or the funny scratching sensation is the little hand rubbing along the wall of the womb and the small, rhythmic movements are just a case of the hiccups. Some clients even feel upon completion of the session that they have a little insight into their baby’s personality!
The 3D/4D image clarity varies from person to person and is dependent on several factors including fetal position, location of the placenta, the amount of amniotic fluid around the baby and maternal size. The more amniotic fluid, the better the resulting image and typically we achieve superior 3D/4D images when the placenta is not above the baby’s face. In addition, image quality is largely a function of operator experience and equipment utilized. Not all ultrasound machines are capable of producing the same quality of images. At Baby in Sight, we truly have state-of-the-art imaging equipment. Our GE Voluson e8 is the premier 3D, obstetrical machine on the market, with the highest software level available. Our technologists have over 20 years experience in the ultrasound field and are fully licensed.