It is very common these days for expecting parents to have 4D ultrasound scans or bonding scans as otherwise known. 3D/4D ultrasound is an ultrasound scanning technique, often used during pregnancy, providing 3D/4D images of the baby.
There are several ultrasound scanning techniques in a pregnancy ultrasound. The standard common diagnostic scan is the 2D ultrasound scan. In 3D baby scanning, however, instead of the sound being sent straight down and reflected, it is sent at different angles. The returning echoes are processed by a powerful computer program, resulting in a 3D volume image of the baby's surface and/or internal organs.
Clinical use of this technology is an area of intense research activity, especially in fetal anomaly scanning, but there are also popular uses that have been shown to improve fetal-maternal bonding. 4D baby ultrasound scans are similar to 3D scans, with the difference associated with time.
So 4D ultrasound scans are essentially 2D ultrasound scans and the scanner puts the 2D information together to create a 4D image of the baby.
The ideal time to have a 3D/4D ultrasound scan is between 26 and 30 weeks of pregnancy, as the baby skin is better developed to see the face.
No preparation for this scan is necessary, but we recommend that during the week before your 4D scan, you drink a couple of extra glasses of water each day. This will help you to be hydrated and assures that there is sufficient amniotic fluid around your baby, which helps with the 4D scan. A full bladder is not required.
From experiences, we know that sometimes chocolates, sweets, fresh orange or even fizzy drinks can help when trying to stimulate your baby to move, so feel free to bring some along to your appointment in case the baby is having a nap. Caffeine is not recommended before your 4D scan.
When you arrive to have a little walk around, this might help wake your baby up before for the scan.
Pregnancy or baby ultrasound scans are a very common part of prenatal care. This is because ultrasound scans are completely painless, have no known side effects on mothers or babies, and can be carried out at any stage of pregnancy: in early pregnancy, ultrasound is being used to confirm the baby's heartbeat and exclude any early-stage abnormalities; later in pregnancy ultrasound is being used to evaluate the baby's overall health.
Ultrasound imaging is a medical diagnostic technique where sound waves are used to image various parts of the body.
Other terms for ultrasound imaging are sonograms, US and sonography.
Ultrasound is widely used these days as it is painless and safe for adults, children and foetuses. There are no side effects such as the ones associated with radiation.
During the ultrasound scan, the sonographer rests a small probe over the skin. This probe produces sound waves, i.e. pulsations, that travel through the tissues. Some sound waves are being reflected back to the transducer, and the computer analyses the returning echoes and produces the image on the screen. It is the same principle as the sonar the navy uses.
Ultrasound is being used to image mostly solid organs such as the liver, kidneys, uterus and ovaries, muscles and blood vessels and babies in the womb.
It has however limited value in organs such as lungs, bone, stomach and bowel/colon.
Ultrasound images are black and white but the colour Doppler is being used to evaluate organ and blood vessel blood flow and this is what the red and blue colours on the screen are.