What 4D Ultrasound Is All About?

Ultrasound refers to a medical test that uses high frequency sound waves to produce images of the organs in the body. The new generation of three- and four-dimensional ultrasound imagery provides remarkable views of fetuses inside the womb. 4D ultrasound uses a special sonogram machine to capture images from different angles to get more information about the fetus. Movements of the unborn babies can be captured during the procedure.

A standard ultrasound provides two-dimensional image of the fetus that helps to evaluate development of the baby, determine gestational age and to identify any abnormalities. Sophisticated 4D ultrasound is used to confirm an abnormality. Most centers that perform 4-dimensional ultrasound, suggest performing this test after twenty-five weeks gestation. This is a non-invasive procedure and takes around 20mins to complete.

The machine used for a 3D ultrasound is similar to a 2D ultrasound. However the difference is that a 2D ultrasound visualizes the baby in planes or layers and 3D ultrasound looks at the surface of the baby. In case of 4D, an element of motion is added to a still 3D photo. So, 4D is also referred to as 3D live.

During the test, a gel is applied to the abdomen and the transducer is moved over the abdomen. The image is displayed on the monitor for the doctor to view the fetus. 4D machines create high quality images but physicians often have concern regarding the energy level used in the 4D ultrasounds.

Women who consider a 4D ultrasound for better glimpses of the baby should consult a doctor for safety concerns prior to the procedure.

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