Everything You Need to Know about the 3D Ultrasound

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Creative Commons License photo credit: tjmwatson

Technology is not only making pregnancy safer, it’s making it more interesting. One of the most amazing advancements we’ve seen in prenatal tech has been the new 3D ultrasound.

Traditionally, an ultrasound gives you a flat two-dimensional image of your baby. Until the technician or doctor points everything out, it can be hard to see what you’re actually looking at. Today, a 3D ultrasound can give expectant parents a much clearer and more robust view of the baby. It can also help physicians to discover a number of possible complications or problems during pregnancy.

How 3D ultrasound works

A traditional ultrasounds sends some sound waves toward your uterus, and then interprets the signal when those wave reflect back. A 3D ultrasound uses the same basic idea, but it sends those waves from several different angles. A computer then looks at all of the echo data and pieces it together for you.

3D ultrasound will let you look at the surface of your baby, and can even be used to take a peek at her internal organs.

When 3D ultrasounds are used

The most common reason for a 3D ultrasound is to find anomalies with the fetus. Having said that, expectant parents are very interested in the technology, too. They’re becoming much more popular for general use, as well. And, while the technology is still too new to make any grand predictions, some experts believe that a 3D ultrasound can help parents to bond with their baby.

Most of the time, 3D ultrasounds aren’t paid for by medical insurance.

Risks of a 3D ultrasound

A 3D ultrasound poses no additional risks beyond a traditional ultrasound. The only risks that do come from ultrasounds of any sort would have to do with extended use. The few minutes at a time that most women have an ultrasound have not been shown to have any harmful effects.

The next step

There are now 4D ultrasounds in development. This technology will provide a real-time 3D ultrasound, whereas today’s 3D ultrasounds are time lapsed.

So, what about you? Have you had a 3D ultrasound done? What did you think?

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