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Q&A: What are 3D and 4D ultrasounds?

I've heard about 3D and 4D ultrasounds. What are these? Are they safe? Why would I have one?

Re: I've heard about 3D and 4D ultrasounds. What are these? Are they safe? Why would I have one?

The Bump Expert

Traditionally, 2D ultrasound allows you to see the fetus in cross-section only. For example, when looking at the fetus's face, 2D ultrasound will allow you to see the profile, but not the entire face in one picture. 3D ultrasound, on the other hand, allows you to see the surface of the whole face in one picture -- much like taking a photograph. 4D ultrasound adds the dimension of time, so instead of seeing a 3D snapshot of the face, you get the face moving in real-time (grimacing, opening and closing its eyes, sticking out its tongue), just as in a videotape.

The medical reasons for using 3D and 4D ultrasounds are limited. Currently, we use them when a fetal abnormality is seen or suspected. 3D and 4D ultrasounds can help doctors determine the extent of the abnormality, and parents better understand it.

When used for medical purposes such as screening for abnormalities or tracking a known fetal abnormality, 3D and 4D ultrasounds appear to be safe. Although several studies of ultrasound in animals have shown effects on brain cells, hundreds of others have concluded ultrasound in pregnancy to be safe. To minimize risk, always have your ultrasound in a center with experienced technicians or physicians.

Recently, shopping malls and other freestanding commercial sites have started offering pictures or entertainment videos of fetuses. Remember -- ultrasound is intended for medical diagnosis, and "entertainment" ultrasound is considered an unapproved use of a medical device by the FDA. These sites might not be equipped to answer questions that arise during your visit ("Does everything look normal?"), abnormalities could be missed, and you may gain false reassurance. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine, the main overseeing bodies for ultrasound in obstetrics, discourage the use of ultrasound for non-medical purposes.

Dr. Ashley Roman

re: Q: 3D and 4D ultrasounds?

This doesn't answer the question.

Lauranicole6 |

re: Q: 3D and 4D ultrasounds?

I had 3D and 4D ultrasounds done without having to have a fetal abnormality being seen or suspected.

danivander |

re: Q: 3D and 4D ultrasounds?

I had a 3D ultrasound done at 28w. I used the same place i would've been sent had my doctor been sending me out. IT was a GREAT experience and my husband and I are TRULY glad we paid the expense. We are now readier than ever to meet our little man. Personally if they are willing to use them with high risk pregnancies, how dangerous can it be.

KimberlyAS |

Q&A: What are 3D and 4D ultrasounds?

how does that not answer the question!?

babybrooks326 |

Q&A: What are 3D and 4D ultrasounds?

Tiny Miracles Imaging offers 3D/4D Ultrasound viewing sessions on site at Baby Showers or in our viewing studio. www.tinymiraclesimaging.com or 856-302-6256 for more information.

TINYMIRACLESIMAGING |

Q&A: What are 3D and 4D ultrasounds?

Our doc actually told us, that studies have shown, having a 3d or 4d untrasound gives your baby a higher risk of autim. Because of the extended time it takes to do this kind of ultrasound.

vnstacie |

Q&A: What are 3D and 4D ultrasounds?

If you really look at the research it is not safe! I regret not looking into it more before having U/S done with all 4 of my kids. The cells temporarily stop growing, it can cause microscopic air bubbles to form in babies bones, and it can raise the temperature of babies bones to unhealthy levels. U/S machines have different ratings that determine the safety and length of time it is safest to use in pregnancy (sometimes less than a minute) this goes for traditional U/S also. X-rays were thought to be harmless for many many years and that wrong.it is not worth the risk no matter how minuscule the effects are thought to be.

cherishMB |

Q&A: What are 3D and 4D ultrasounds?

all you guys are morons. we now live in a world of fear. if you want to do it, do it. everyone bases too much on science and statistics. how can you be happy if you're always afraid of what statistics show. i'm sure there's stats on paranoia. what happened to trusting God's sovereignty? i feel sorry for your kids if youe affraid of 3D ultrasounds. i bet you don't own a microwave either... what about cars? they kill pepople. who cares about autism if you die in a car wreck? you guys are worried about the wrong things. worry about public schools and the teen sex fad. not will ultrasounds make my baby retarded.

Yates03 |

Q&A: What are 3D and 4D ultrasounds?

@Yates03- I don't usually comment but your post was super offensive. I'm not for fear-mongering or paranoia either, but most people with an autistic child or family member, some of whom give up their whole lives to take care of them, wish they knew the causes of this very real affliction, as well as a way to help their children now. Maybe you've been lucky enough not to experience that yourself and that's great. But God's plan also includes trying to make good choices here - just like teens decide whether to have sex or not or to do the right things in school, mothers to be can decide to avoid things they consider unnecessary that could harm baby (like drinking and smoking) as well as trusting in a higher power. It's not overkill when you think about risks as you go live your life. Sure driving has risks, but I drive all the time. However, I wouldn't drive a car off the road on purpose expecting God to protect me. Maybe the jury's still out on ultrasound safety, but there are plenty of reasons to care about preventing autism especially now when so little is scientifically known and more and more babies and families are affected. Pregnant women don't need to lose sleep worrying about every possible problem, that's unhealthy for them and baby, but what's so horrible about trying to be a little informed?

jmcvetty |

Q&A: What are 3D and 4D ultrasounds?

Yeah, so not into Yates03. Just like many other things, doing unnecessary procedures while pregnant isn't very smart. The point that the writer is trying to make, is that if it is called for, it is worth the unknown risks to do an ultrasound. It is sort of silly to just do a bunch of ultrasounds just because you can't wait to see your baby - especially when we really don't know hands down what the risks of the procedure might be. I do know that my baby moves away from the ultrasound on the couple of occasions I've had to have one, so that might tell me something.

Smug_bunny |

Q&A: What are 3D and 4D ultrasounds?

vnstacie and cherishMB, I would love to see the "research" you are talking about. Good luck, because I don't think you'll find it in any legitimate medical journal. Specifically, this article discusses that frequent ultrasounds did NOT have an effect on autism rates: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22456820 Here's an article addressing some of the general concerns: http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/are-prenatal-ultrasounds-dangerous/ No, I don't think people should get ultrasounds just "for fun," but based on all available evidence, there's no good reason to be worried about ultrasounds performed by a medical professional for legitimate reasons. In that circumstance, the benefit far outweighs the (tiny and mostly theoretical) risk.

dvmsara |