What’s the difference between 3D and 4D ultrasounds?
For 3D ultrasounds, multiple two-dimensional images are taken at various angles and then pieced together to form a three-dimensional rendering. For instance, instead of just seeing a profile view of your cutie’s face, in a 3D sonogram you can see the whole surface (it looks more like a regular photo)
A 4D ultrasound is similar to a 3D ultrasound, but the image shows movement like a video would. So in a 4D sonogram, you’d see your baby doing things in real time (like opening and closing his eyes and sucking his thumb).
Confirming your estimated due date
Looking at your baby’s heartbeat
Making sure the pregnancy isn’t ectopic (i.e. in the Fallopian tubes) and is in the uterus
Confirming the number of babies in utero
Making sure baby is developing properly and at the appropriate pace
Checking and measuring baby’s major organs
Checking amniotic fluid levels
Ruling out any birth defects
Determining baby’s sex
Giving parents a look at baby and providing reassurance that all is going as it should be in the pregnancy
Why 3D and 4D sonograms are performed during pregnancy
Ultrasounds in 3D and 4D are performed only to closely examine suspected fetal anomalies, such as cleft lip and spinal cord issues, or to monitor something specific. In other words, 3D sonograms and 4D ultrasounds are usually not part of routine prenatal exams
Most 3D/4D images in pregnancy are taken for the enjoyment of parents, rather than for their clinical usefulness
It is a good idea for parents to remember the limitations of 3D/4D when they are having their ultrasound.