What is 4D ultrasound?
Like normal 2D ultrasounds, 4D ultrasounds use waves of sound to create and image of something, typically an unborn baby in the womb. Unlike 2D ultrasounds, however, 3D and 4D ultrasounds create three-dimension images (3D is a picture; 4D is a video, but still in 3 dimensions) of an unborn baby.
A typical 2D ultrasound portrays only a cross-section/slice of the overall three-dimensional form. So, you won’t really “see” a baby’s smile or fingers when you look at a 2D ultrasound. With a 4D ultrasound, however, you’ll see these images like you would in normal like, in three dimensions. This is especially useful for pregnant women, as 4D ultrasound now allows them to see their unborn babies in their wombs and to get very accurate gender determination form as early as 13 weeks of pregnancy.
When is the best time for a 4D ultrasound session?
Typically, 4D ultrasound sessions are good after about 16 weeks of pregnancy. There isn’t a best time for a 4D ultrasound, as each stage of pregnancy has is it’s own unique time. At earlier stages (16-24 weeks), an ultrasound shows more of the entire body and the baby is less developed. At later stages (28-34 weeks), the baby is more developed and images of the entire body are no longer possible. Instead, the ultrasound will reveal different parts, like the face, the hands, and the gender parts.
Does a 4D ultrasound session take the place of my regular doctor visits and fetus checkups?
No. All of these types of ultrasound sessions, including all sessions at our imaging center, are for entertainment purposes only. They don’t take the place of your regular doctor/OBGYN visits in order to make sure you are healthy, you baby is healthy, and that your pregnancy is developing normally.
4D sessions are entertainment-only and elective, so insurance doesn’t cover these procedures. As they are strictly non-medical, they cannot take the place of medical care. Instead, 4D ultrasound sessions provide entertainment to the expecting family and promote early bonding, including bonding with family members (eg. brothers and sisters).
What's the difference between 3D ultrasound and 4D ultrasound?
There really is no difference between 3D ultrasound and 4D ultrasound – these are both “terms of art” or “terms of marketing” and they both are essentially the same thing.
- 3D ultrasound – 3D ultrasound refers to three-dimensional ultrasound images (as opposed to 2D ultrasound, which is cross-sectional ultrasound) and it is basically your standard 3D ultrasound image like the ones you see on this website
- 4D ultrasound – 4D ultrasound is simply a three-dimensional ultrasound video, it’s basically a 3D video of an ultrasound; it’s in three-dimensions, but it’s a video, so it’s used as a “term of art” now to mean “3D ultrasound video”
How long does a 4D ultrasound take?
A typical 4D ultrasound session takes just 10 to 15 minutes. There’s little need for a longer session if the ultrasound tech is skilled and RDMS licensed, with enough experience to easily capture great images and provide good views of the baby. Longer sessions may be needed where there are factors that frustrate the obtainment of quality ultrasound images, including body fat percentage, internal gas levels, fetal position, et. However, a skilled sonographer is able to maximize the chances of obtaining quality ultrasound images.
What influences 3D/4D ultrasound image quality?
The quality of a 3D/4D ultrasound depends on many factors, including:
- fetal position
- body fat percentage
- total visceral fat levels
- internal gas
- fluid levels
Although never guaranteed, a skilled ultrasound tech is able to maximize the chances of obtaining quality pregnancy ultrasound images under a diverse set of circumstances.
How much is a 4D ultrasound session?
Sessions start at around $100, and there are a few options. You can see all of our 4D ultrasound packages and prices on our packages page. You can also give us a call at (818) 243-7010 if you have any questions, or if you’d like to schedule your appointment.