Seeing your baby on the screen for the first time is magical! But if you find the blurry lines and indistinguishable features of 2D scans disappointing, 3D and 4D ultrasounds provide better, highly detailed results. How much is a 4D Scan? Is it reasonable to pay dearly for a glimpse of your little one?
Rather than guessing at the fuzzy streaks (is it a foot or ear?), a 4D scan can help excited mothers and fathers gauge which parent their child will look like. Will she have mom’s sweet smile or dad’s noble nose? These scans could give you a rough mental picture of your progeny.
Whether you choose not to have one because it’s an unnecessary expense, are on the fence or want to learn more about the price range, we’re here to answer all your questions about the financial side of 4D scans.Preview Changes (opens in a new tab)
Is It Worthwhile to Have a 4D Scan?
Before answering this question, you’ll need to know what 4d scans are and what they entail.
4D scans build on 3D scans, which present you with high-res stills of your child, achieved by capturing photographs from different angles. The difference between 3D and 4D scans is that the latter shows your baby’s movement in real-time. In other words, it’s a live video that may reveal your kid blinking his eyes, thumb-sucking or kicking his feet. We discuss this more in our article Is a 4D Baby Scan worth it?
Whether it’s valuable to have one might be subjective. A 2D scan, which shows you that your little one is growing and healthy, might be enough for you, with anything supplementary seen as an unnecessary cost. Some might say they’re prohibitively expensive or should only be done for medical reasons.
Be that as it may, 4D scans show more than the size of their head or the shape of the nose but may uncover important information about your baby.
Potential for Early Diagnosis
4D scans aren’t the only diagnostic tools used in pregnancy or even the most reliable. However, they can provide a great level of detail that can suggest abnormalities and confirm an early diagnosis.
Peace of Mind
While you might be interested in their appearance, your baby’s health takes precedence. It shouldn’t replace other obstetric services but provide additional reassurance to anxious parents.
How Much Is a 4D Scan?
Let’s cut to the chase – if you’re reading this article, you’re looking for a ballpark figure. How much will this service cost me?
The price varies depending on where you go and what package you select. Expect to pay anywhere between 99 pounds and 200 pounds.
Be mindful that the cost that mounted frames and other options extras will push the overall cost up. We advise purchasing additional accessories online due to the inflated price tags of keepsakes sold at clinics.
What Does the Payment of a 4D Scan Include?
How much is a 4D scan, and what are you paying for? The price and inclusion could vary depending on the clinic you visit and the specific bundle offered.
To avoid being hit with unaccounted-for costs, enquire about the final charge of the 4D scan before your appointment.
Below is an approximate breakdown of what might be incorporated into your booking.
30 Minutes of Viewing
Many parents go into a 4D screening hoping to view their future offspring closely.
A reputable clinic won’t cut short this experience by providing ample time to spend with the unborn child.
Family and Friends Welcome
While some parents-to-be prefer this viewing to be intimate, some might choose to share the special moment with loved ones.
Typically, clinics offering 4D scans allow family members into the room at no additional charge.
Black and White 3D Images
Being in the moment and seeing your little one in immense detail is irreplaceable. To immortalise these memories, you can take home black-and-white 3D images, allowing you to relive them with loved ones who weren’t present at the scan.
A Framed Photograph
While you can buy your own frame for cheaper, you might have one in your package to place on your nightstand.
A Take-Home 4D DVD
Rewatch those precious moments on your TV or laptop, or even host a family get-together to introduce the youngest member to everyone.
A Comprehensive Growth Assessment
4D scans also provide vital information on fetal health, including an assessment of their growth and progress.
You can also book another follow-up appointment, spaced weeks apart, to track your little one’s development.
If you’re not keeping the gender a surprise, a 4D scan can identify whether you’re having a boy or a girl. If you couldn’t determine the gender in previous antenatal scans, a 4D scan provides another opportunity to do so. This is a great time to start organising a Gender Reveal Party!
Keychains, Magnets and Other Memorabilia
Plaster your unborn baby’s face on keychains and similar souvenirs to remind you of your growing little human. They make cute little gifts for doting grandparents too.
When Is a 4D Scan a Waste of Time (And Money)?
With the rise of technology, the market for 4D scans has become highly competitive, making it challenging to find the right provider who combines expertise with reasonable pricing. While it’s good to have options, many clinics boasting superior images, enhanced viewership, and good deals might significantly overcharge you. Conversely, a suspiciously low-cost 4D scan might be a safety hazard or seem too good to be true.
Here’s a list of reasons why a 4D scan might not be all that it’s hyped up to be.
It’s Hard Getting a Perfect Picture
Even using the best technology, there’s no guarantee you’ll get a clear view of your precious little one, as the process involves an element of luck.
The amount of amniotic fluid surrounding your baby can impact the clarity of the image. Contrary to the belief, a full bladder won’t necessarily enhance the results. It’s actually the amniotic fluid that determines the picture quality. The more fluid floating around your unborn child, the more in-focus their features might appear.
What might also happen is that your offspring gets camera shy and hides her face, or the position your infant’s lying in obstructs your field of vision. And while you can’t control these circumstances, the clinic isn’t obliged to refund you. Although you might get a free repeat scan or be advised to return later, there’s a chance you could face the same issues. This could leave you empty-handed and with a lighter wallet.
You’re Not Using an Accredited Provider or Sonographer
While many businesses offer 4D scans these days as a form of entertainment, it’s essential that you book an appointment with a medically-backed clinic instead.
Having inexperienced or untrained staff performing the scan or operating the machinery may put your unborn baby at risk.
Moreover, you want someone with medical knowledge who knows what to look for, can minimise the potentially harmful effects of a 4D scan, and can spot crucial details in the womb.
You Have a Scan Too Early
You must plan your scan at the right stage of your pregnancy, which is usually between 28 and 32 weeks. Booking for a scan sooner than that might be a waste of valuable time and money since your baby needs enough fat for you to distinguish its features adequately.
Clinics or businesses that tell you otherwise might be trying to mislead you for a quick profit. In such cases, you might not see much or form a mental image that looks completely different from your newborn’s actual face.
You can still obtain a scan after 32 weeks. But you might not get the best facial detail, though, as the infant will appear larger and pressed up against the uterus.
“I’ll See My Baby Soon Enough”
Do you feel the pressure of having a 4D scan because all the other expecting parents have had theirs?
Remember that 4D scans are optional procedures that not all doctors will likely recommend. Although 4D scans are potential detectors of health problems, it’s certainly not their primary use.
Having one might create memorable moments, but it’s not a marker for being a good parent. Remember that you’ll soon see your baby and have plenty of time to bond.
It’s Not Your First Pregnancy
Everything is new and exciting when you’re a first-time parent. You’ll go through many firsts, which may include a 4D scan. Having another child is no less exciting, but you’ve probably gone through much trial and error with your firstborn. A 4D scan, though nice to have, might not top your priorities when preparing to have more children.
You Don’t Know About All the Expenses Upfront
The fee a clinic quotes you might only cover the appointment and exclude everything else. Make sure you understand what you’re getting. It’s easy to feel enticed by all the overpriced odds and ends. However, you might regret spending hundreds of pounds on nice things that cost a small fortune.
How much is a 4D scan if I have Insurance?
If you want one, you’ll pay for it out of pocket. Many medical insurance companies will only cover mandatory obstetric services like antenatal hospital scans, not elective ultrasounds.
That said, talk with your insurance provider if your OBGYN believes the procedure is medically significant.
Do Doctors Think 4D Scans Are an Unnecessary Expense?
Most doctors generally see the benefits of 4D scans because they offer detailed medical insights into the fetus’ well-being. Additionally, they can detect potential abnormalities. In that sense, experts deem one or two 4D scans low-risk.
Although practitioners might approve of them for medically necessary circumstances, they might caution mothers-to-be against abusing the technology or excessively undergoing keepsake ultrasounds, as they may not be beneficial for infants. As previously mentioned, ultrasounds have gone commercial, with many businesses offering their service without a medical background, providing marked-up mementoes instead of imparting vital info.
Having several ultrasounds as routine checkups poses avoidable risks. Why? The technology uses sound waves, creating heat that bounces off your baby’s body to produce images. While safe and FDA-cleared, ultrasounds expose your unborn baby to more of this energy, especially with multiple 4D scans.
Think twice about having a 4D scan solely for entertainment purposes. Rest assured, there will be many opportunities for photographs, videos and bonding when they’re born.
5D Scans: Are They Worth the Cost?
You might have heard about 5D pregnancy scans being lauded as the “gold standard of fetal imagery“. But are they really a vast improvement on 4D scans or simply the same technology embedded with minor tweaks? The primary difference between 4D and 5D scans is that the latter is processed using image-enhancing software focusing on facial features and depth perception. The outcome? High-resolution, life-like images and videos that will truly make your baby look more like a baby.
Are 5D scans worthwhile? Many experts argue that the technology is gimmicky and not a whole lot different from a 4D scan experience. However, you will get to see the fetus in colour.
Wrapping Up: Cost Versus the Risks of 4D Scans
Seeing your baby’s scrunched-up face and teeny-tiny hands for the first time is priceless. If you had the chance to see these features before nine months are up, would you take it? And what would you be willing to pay for a sneak peek? We looked at the bottom line in this article – the total payment and everything it includes. We explore what’s considered reasonable to pay and what seems dubiously cheap.
With the commercialisation of ultrasounds, you’ll have to be careful about the clinic or business you choose, especially one that’s not medically run. A sonographer with limited medical knowledge might not know what they are doing or could overlook important details.
While 4D scans create special bonding moments, they have little use for a healthy baby. And since it’s an optional scan, you’ll have to pay for it because insurance won’t provide coverage.
Finally, what do doctors and the FDA think of 4D scans? They’re safe and might be helpful, but have cautioned against overusing them for non-medical reasons.
Have you paid for a 4D scan? Was it worth the money? Let us know in the comments!