He yawns and stretches then reaches for his toes. “Was that a smile?” Aiden’s parents watch in awe at the movements of their child and at 28 weeks he is not yet born. That is the miracle of 3D/4D ultrasound. A glimpse into the womb, is this really possible? Parents today are choosing to have an elective 3D/4D ultrasound made possible in the last decade with revolutionizing ultrasound equipment with software that renders a 3 dimensional image of the fetus and adds the 4th dimension of time. The 4th dimension of time is what allows Aiden’s parents to watch the real time movements of their baby boy. Suddenly Aiden’s dad is able to visualize what Mom has been feeling for weeks.
Elective 3D/4D Ultrasound facilities have swept across the nation and are now available in most major cities. GoldenView Ultrasound has been offering elective 3d and 4d Ultrasounds in Chicago, IL and Boston, MA since 2005.
Why do expectant parents choose to have this elective ultrasound? For most, it is an opportunity to connect with the life growing inside them. Others hope to learn the gender of their baby so that they can choose a name and prepare themselves for what is to come. Others simply want to treasure this time in their lives and capture images that they can keep for a lifetime. Expectant parents should not choose to have an elective 3D/4D ultrasound in hopes of gaining medical advice. In fact, a facility with high practice standards should require proof that you are receiving prenatal care and most will even require that you have had a doctor ordered 2nd trimester fetal survey before your 3d/4d sonogram session. In no way should an elective ultrasound be used as replacement for prenatal care. Although a reputable facility will have the ultrasound performed by trained and experienced ultrasound technicians, they are still not able to provide you with any medical diagnostics during the session.
Is this elective ultrasound safe? Ultrasound has been in use for over 35 years and no harmful effects have ever been shown from its responsible use. In high risk pregnancies or pregnancies conceived using in vitro fertilization it is often common for a doctor to order multiple ultrasounds. Many of these women have a diagnostic ultrasound every week for the first several months of the pregnancy with no harmful results. A reputable 3D ultrasound center should limit their ultrasound scanning time to those much less than a typical 2D diagnostic scan, not to exceed 30 minutes. Scanning beyond 30 minutes should never be done in an effort to obtain an image of your baby. A responsible facility should have a redo policy in place and should end the ultrasound if the baby is not in an optimal position for obtaining good images and should reschedule the session for another time.
A positive bonding experience can result from ultrasound, particularly from a 3D/4D ultrasound. The reality of seeing the baby growing inside them often prompts expectant mothers to take better care of their bodies thru exercise and improved eating habits. Avoiding bad habits such as drinking alcohol and smoking may become easier after seeing their baby growing in their womb. The bond with the baby extends beyond mother and child. With a realistic view, video and image capture, the experience can be shared with other loved ones. Facilities like Goldenview Ultrasound are set up to include family and friends in the experience, often with ample seating for guests and a large projection screen so that everyone has a great view of the baby. GoldenView Ultrasound in Chicago and Boston have even begun offering internet streaming of the session so that family and friends from across the globe can watch the session in real time from anywhere in the world. It simply requires access to a high speed internet connection. A husband serving in Iraq, for example, can log on and watch his baby in the womb and even hear his wife’s voice during the session. Is it a boy or a girl? With internet streaming of the session they can find out together despite the distance between them.
So you want to experience the miracle of 3D/4D ultrasound. Choosing a facility can be overwhelming. As with any business, referrals from family and friends are a great place to start. Your physician may even know of a facility with high practice standards that they can recommend. When contacting a facility, ask questions about who performs the ultrasound and what type of equipment is used. Many will have an image gallery on their web site so that you can get an idea of what type of images their equipment renders. Do keep in mind that all babies will image differently due to many factors. Position of the baby, position of the placenta and the amount of amniotic fluid in front of the baby all impact the quality of the images. Remember to ask about their redo policy in case your little one does not cooperate during your first visit. GoldenView Ultrasound will bring you back for a second visit if they are not able to obtain images of your baby due to positioning.
How much should a 3D/4D Ultrasound session cost? The cost of a 3d and 4d ultrasound is more affordable than you might think. In fact, it costs much less than most parents will spend on a single photo session of their child. Package prices will vary depending on the city you live in but are generally under $250 for an all inclusive package.
Aiden’s parents leave with a smile on their face. “I think he has my nose and your lips”, says his father as he takes a closer look at the 3 dimensional images that were printed out during the session. “In 12 more weeks we will know for sure”, says his mother.