There’s no doubt ultrasounds are an incredible way to connect with baby, and see what they’re up to in utero. But while 3D ultrasounds are pretty cool, 4D Baby scans take things to the next level.
For most new parents, seeing their baby’s face for the first time is a moment they’ll never forget. And as far as moments go, it’s one of the best.
That’s the allure of 4D baby scans. They give parents the chance to experience this magical moment before their little one has even entered the world.
Understandably, there’s a lot of hype around 4D baby scans, but are they safe? What are the pros and cons? Here’s what you need to know about this revolutionary technology before you go scheduling an appointment.
The best way to learn about something is by asking questions, right?
So, let’s look at some of the most common questions parents want to be answered about 4D baby scans:
What Is A 4D Ultrasound Scan?
A 4D ultrasound baby scan is a way to get a sneak peek at your baby’s features, movements, and expressions.
It shows your baby in 3D (three-dimensional) and 4D (four-dimensional), meaning you can see them in real-time and in motion.
The 3D part is what you would expect: a still image that shows the baby’s face, body, limbs, and features. The 4D part is where things get interesting. It allows you to see your baby moving in real-time. The scan shows the baby in motion, so you can see their movements and hear their heartbeat.
This is amazing for new parents who want to get an idea of their little one behave in the womb.
How Do They Work?
Here is how the 4D ultrasound helps create the image of your baby from inside the womb:
-The ultrasound probe is placed on your belly.
-A gel is applied to help with sound transmission.
-The probe sends out high-frequency sound waves that bounce off structures in your baby’s body and return to the probe as echoes.
-The ultrasound technician uses a monitor to translate these echoes into visual images. They show in real time what your baby looks like inside the womb!
Are 4D Ultrasounds Safe For Baby?
It’s a complete myth that ultrasounds are dangerous. In fact, they have an excellent safety record and have been approved by the FDA for over 20 years.
4D Ultrasound technology relies on sound waves, which are perfectly safe at the intensity used for the purposes of pregnancy scanning. In fact, the intensity used for 4D scans is no different from that of standard 2D scans.
What’s The Difference Between 3D And 4D Baby Scans?
3D scans and 4D Baby scans are two different types of ultrasound. Both of these are performed to show parents the features of their baby. However, there are some differences between them.
The 3D scan is a still image created by taking scan results from different angles. On the other hand, 4D Baby scans are done in real-time. They show the live movements of your baby inside the womb. This helps you to visualise how your baby will look when he/she arrives in this world.
When Should I Get A 4D Scan?
A 4D scan is usually recommended during the second trimester of pregnancy, after around 20 weeks.
The reason for this is that seeing your baby in all its glory this early on can be a bit scary. It’s better to wait until later in the pregnancy. Ideally around 20 weeks when the foetus is further along and much more developed.
This is when you are most likely to see some movement from your baby and be able to get a good look at their facial features.
‘Window To The Womb’ recommends getting a 4D scan between 27-29 weeks. This is because baby has a bit more fat on them, but also enough room to move in case they’re in a difficult position.
When Can A 4D Ultrasound Determine Gender?
A 4D ultrasound can determine gender as early as 16 weeks. But, ultrasound technicians need to get a really good look at your baby’s genitals in order for the scan to be 99.9% accurate.
Most 4D ultrasounds are performed at 20 weeks or later so that your baby is big enough for their genitals to be clearly visible.
What Will I See During A 4D Scan?
What you see in a 4D scan all depends on when you get one done. If you’re eager to see your baby’s face, then make sure you book a 4D scan at around 27 weeks pregnant. You’ll see all your baby’s features in much more detail at this point.
But what you get to see, also depends on how well the baby is positioned.
If they are positioned optimally, you should be able to see all of your baby’s features including his or her eyes, mouth, and nose. They might also stretch, yawn or stick out their tongue at you. And, if your baby has their legs uncrossed, you should be able to get a good look at their genitals too.
Even if baby is facing away from you, you’ll still see them moving about in real-time and get a sneak peek of their little fingers and toes.
No matter how they are positioned, you’ll be able to hear their heartbeat—which can be very reassuring if you’re anxious about your pregnancy
It’s important to note that some companies offer you a free second scan if you are unhappy with the first one, while others do not. So, check before booking your appointment.
Do 4D Scans Show Baby’s Eye Colour?
4D scans are a great way to see your baby’s face before they are born, but they won’t be able to tell you their eye colour or hair colour.
Amazing things like your baby’s eye shape and them blinking will still be visible in 4D scans. However, as yet these images cannot capture true colour.
Eye colour is determined by genetics, so you could try taking an educated guess based on your family history and your partner’s eye colour.
Can I Still Have A 4D Scan If I Have A High BMI?
While there are several factors that influence how clearly you can see your baby during a 4D scan, including; your baby’s position and the amount of amniotic fluid around it, one factor that is often overlooked is your body mass index (BMI).
But, don’t worry! You can still have a 4D scan even if your BMI is high! Just be sure to book your 4D scan slightly later at around 30-32 weeks gestation for the best results.
Can I Have A 4D Scan If I’m Having Twins?
You betcha! 4D scans are readily available if you’re having twins.
The only thing to keep in mind is that it will take longer, so be sure to check with your clinic to see if they charge more for double the fun.
Are 4D Scans Available On The NHS?
The NHS does not routinely offer 3D or 4D scans as part of antenatal care unless your healthcare provider believes it is medically necessary.
All pregnant women in the UK are still offered at least two ultrasound scans on the NHS, but they are in 2D rather than 3D or 4D scans.
While not as exciting as 4D scans, they are highly accurate when it comes to measuring growth and identifying potential abnormalities.
Can A 4D Scan Replace My Hospital Scan?
No, sorry to report 4D scans are not a replacement for your hospital antenatal scans. They are optional, and may not provide a complete picture of your baby’s development.
Are 4D Baby Scans Worth It?
Let’s figure this out by looking at the arguments For and against.
- The most obvious reason to get a 4D baby scan is that it allows you to see your baby in a lot of detail. You can connect with your little one, and it’s a unique and special experience that you won’t forget. You’ll be able to see their facial expressions and habits in the womb, as well as get lots of information about what your baby looks like.
- It is a great way to learn more about your baby and its development and it can provide lots of information and potentially pick up abnormalities
- They can provide reassurance to worried parents, which will help reduce any pregnancy-related stress, even leading to a more relaxed birth knowing your baby is happy and healthy
- If you have had trouble finding out the gender in previous scans, this will give you a chance to find out if you want!
- The first reason you shouldn’t get a 4D baby scan is if the person who does the scan is inexperienced or rushed, then they might miss some important details about your baby. In fact, in 2022 BBC found evidence of women not being told about serious conditions and abnormalities in private baby scans.
- The cost. 4D baby scans are expensive. We know, we know: you want to see your baby moving and kicking, but you might end up paying for something and not getting the result you had hoped for, which leads us nicely to our next reason against getting a 4D Baby scan..
- You might not even get to see the baby properly! There are many factors that influence the kinds of results you get–most of which aren’t within your control. The sonographer might move you around to try and obtain different angles, but the position of the baby, fluid level, and density of tissue we scan through all impact what you’ll get to see.
Preparation Is Key
Getting a 4D baby scan is an unforgettable experience, but preparation is key to making sure you get the best results. Here are 5 things you need to do before your appointment.
- First and foremost, research the establishment. Unless you see an experienced professional, not only could it be a waste of time and money—they might miss something important about your baby! A good way to get an idea of the service they provide is to check out their reviews, if they have a strong reputation and happy customers, then they’re more likely to provide you with great service too. If there isn’t much to go on, it’s best to steer clear even if the price is right!
- Wear loose clothes that aren’t too tight on your belly. This will make it easier for the technician to check out your baby without any interference from restrictive clothing.
- Eat before you go so that you don’t get hungry and start feeling nauseous during the scan.
- To ensure that your baby is as clear and detailed as possible, it’s recommended you drink at least 64 ounces of water in the 24 hours leading up to your appointment. So make sure you drink plenty of water (or other non-caffeinated fluids) in advance—and don’t forget to empty your bladder before you go!
- Don’t skip a recommended ultrasound or other testing at your doctor’s office just because you got a keepsake ultrasound and believe everything is fine with the pregnancy. You still need to follow up with your doctor regularly throughout your pregnancy so they can monitor any changes or complications that may arise over time as well as give you advice on how best to care for yourself during each trimester (or stage) of development until the big birth day arrives!
Where Can I Find A 4D Scan Clinic Near Me?
If you’re looking for a 4D scan clinic near you ‘Window to the Womb’ is the UK’s leading private baby scan provider, with clinics nationwide. Search for one of their 4D scan locations near you via their website.
What Makes ‘Window To The Womb’ The Best Place To Get A Private 4D Scan?
When it comes to getting a private 4D scan, you want to make sure you’re in good hands. At ‘Window to the Womb’ they take pride in their outstanding level of care, and all their staff members undergo extensive training. This ensures they offer a first-class experience and are always on hand to answer any of your pregnancy questions.
Their scan packages always include a diagnostic check of baby, so whether you need peace of mind in the early stages of pregnancy, want to see if you’re having a boy or girl, meet baby in 4D, or just see how baby is developing, you will leave their clinics feeling reassured.
They also work closely with local NHS hospitals, to ensure you have ongoing care if required.
They are the leading private baby clinics in the UK for a reason! Click here to take a look at the different packages they offer.
How Much Does A 4D Scan Cost?
The cost of a 4D baby scan ranges from £50 to £300, depending on where you go and the package you choose.
Plus, some clinics offer a selection of gifts to choose from such as keyrings, gender reveal items, and HD recordings, so you can keep a meaningful momento of your scan experience.
Many families choose to buy a personalised photo frame in advance, to keep all their baby scans together and see their babies’ development from first scan to birth.
Can I Bring Family Members To My 4D Scan?
Some clinics will allow you to bring family members with you, while others won’t. We recommend calling ahead to double-check what the policy is at your chosen location before making any plans
You’re not alone if you’re nervous about seeing your baby in 4D. Most mums-to-be feel the same way! Even though 4D baby scans are perfectly safe, it’s normal to feel a bit of anxiety about seeing your baby during an ultrasound. Here are some tips for calming your nerves beforehand:
Avoid caffeine before the scan. Caffeine is a stimulant, and it can make you feel more anxious than usual.
Bring along a partner or family member to keep you company during the procedure. They can help with breathing exercises if you feel like you’re going to pass out from anticipation!
Take deep breaths—it’ll help slow down your heart rate and soothe your frayed nerves.
So, Are 4D Baby Scans Dangerous?
It’s a big no, at least not when they’re done by a professional.
Though 4D baby scans are becoming more common and accessible to the general public, these are still medical procedures that require a trained professional to perform.
Hopefully, this blog has helped you better understand 4D ultrasounds. And, helped you decide whether they’re the right choice for you.
If you are considering getting one for yourself or someone you love, make sure you find a reputable provider and re-read this blog before your appointment.
Then all you need is some patience! We can’t wait for you to see what your little one looks like in 4D!