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4D Ultrasound

What is it?
A 3D ultrasound scan can show you images of your baby while 4D ultrasound scan helps you to see the moving image of your baby in your womb similar to that of a live video, using high-frequency sound waves.

In a 4D ultrasound scanning you can see what the baby is doing at that moment, for example, if the baby is smiling or yawning, it will be visible to you which is pretty exciting.

4D ultrasound is not commonly required as a normal ultrasound it is mostly shown due to a special request from the mothers or if your doctor recommends it. A 4D ultrasound scan is usually done between 27 to 32 weeks of pregnancy.  

How does it work?

An ultrasound scanning is usually done by using sound waves of high frequency to create an image of the baby in the womb. Even though 4D ultrasound uses the same principle like regular ultrasound, it results in a live video similar to that of a movie that shows every move, every breath the baby makes inside the womb.

This ultrasound scan not only shows the baby’s face but it can also show any birth defects or malformations such as a cleft palate.

Studies show that a 4D ultrasound is safe just as a regular ultrasound since the working principle is similar to one another.

The procedure for a 4D Ultrasound scan is similar to any other ultrasound scans, they include,

  • The pregnant mother is asked to lie down on their back on the examination table.
  • A medical technician slowly applies a special gel onto the belly of the pregnant mother, which helps to transmit the sound waves into the womb.
  • A probe that is attached to the ultrasound scan is held against the belly and then moved in a circular motion to view the image of your unborn baby in the womb.
  • This probing device called the transducer is moved along the abdomen. It sends the sound waves through the abdomen to the uterus.
  • These sound waves from the transducer reach the baby and bounce off in the form of echoes.
  • The device monitor picks up on these echo messages and converts them to images that can be seen on the screen of the ultrasound device.
  • The screen shows the image of what your baby is doing at the moment, it could be smiling or yawning or even moving about, whatever it is, the screen will show it.

Please do keep in mind that a 4D ultrasound is just a scanning method and not a treatment option. It can only help view for certain birth defects or abnormalities that might be present. However, different treatment options are available if any of these abnormalities are life-threatening to the baby or even the mother.   

Even though ultrasound is considered safe, be sure to note that too much exposure to any form of ultrasound might not be good for your baby.

Authored by Dr. Nirmal Krishnan

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