4D Ultrasound – Definition, Benefits, and Procedures

What is 4D Ultrasound?

4D ultrasound is counted as one of the ultrasound examinations. This one is the development of 2D and 3D ultrasound examinations. 4D ultrasound has the same benefits as 2D and 3D ultrasound, which is to examine the condition and development of the fetus in the womb. However, the results of this ultrasound are more detailed compared to the first two because they produce moving images while the first two produce still images. Due to the fact that it displays video effects, it makes it possible for the parents to see the face of the fetus clearly, including when they are smiling or yawning.

4D Ultrasound Pictures

a baby yawning in 4D ultrasound
a baby yawning in 4D ultrasound

Why is 4D Ultrasound Important?

Just like 2D and 3D ultrasound, 4D ultrasound is also done by utilizing high-frequency sound waves or ultrasound. Basically, ultrasound is an important examination to get an idea of the condition of the fetus.

4D ultrasound is usually recommended for high-risk pregnant women who are pregnant at the age of more than 35 years old, have a history of birth defects, have diabetes, and have pregnancy issues found during a 2D or 3D ultrasound examination. However, due to the things it offers, many pregnant women want a 4D ultrasound even though they have no pregnancy issues.

Some Benefits of 4D Ultrasound

1. Able to See Fetal Movements More Clearly

4D ultrasound has the ability to provide an image of the fetal embryo two weeks faster than 2D and 3D ultrasound. The fetal movements that can be seen from the age of 7 weeks of pregnancy (first trimester) include the movements of the head, hands, feet and fingers. Aside from that, you can also witness other movements, including mouth movements (opening, closing, sucking, yawning and swallowing), overall body movements, head movements, and hand movements when the baby touches other parts of their body.

For those who are wondering about the eye movements of the baby, they can be seen from 18 weeks of gestation and towards the end of the second trimester. Even at this age, the face and the expressions of the baby can be seen clearly.

2. More Accurate Detection of Fetal Abnormalities

While it is true that 2D and 3D ultrasound can detect fetal abnormalities, they are not as accurate as 4D ultrasound. This procedure is usually performed to confirm findings of fetal abnormalities on 2D or 3D ultrasound examination. The reason is because on a 4D ultrasound the doctors can detect birth defects in more detail, such as:

  • Congenital heart defects
  • Defects of the oral cavity or palate
  • Excess number of fingers and toes
  • Deformity of the ear
  • Deformities of the spine
  • Jaw deformities (micrognathia)

What is the Procedure of the 4D Ultrasound Examination?

The procedure of the 4D ultrasound is the same as the procedure of other ultrasounds. First of all, the pregnant women will be asked to lie down on the examination table and then the obstetrician will apply gel to the abdomen and attach the transducer. During the examination, the tool will be shifted to get optimal visualization of the fetus. The results of the examinations are in the form of moving images. These things can be seen on the screen. In the end, the doctors will explain the results of the examination while observing the movement of the fetus.

When is 4D Ultrasound Done?

It is unlikely for the 4D ultrasound to be done in a very early pregnancy. Usually, this one is recommended when the gestational age reaches 26 weeks, because before this age, the layer of fat under the skin of the fetus is still thin so that the results of the examination cannot be optimal.

While it is true that 4D ultrasound can be done with or without complaints, it is more recommended for those who are at high risk of having pregnancy issues. Not only that, ultrasound should also not be done too often because the resulting radiation exposure can have a negative impact on the growth and development of the fetus.

Ideally, ultrasound examinations are done three times in each trimester. In addition, if the doctor suspects that there are certain issues with the pregnancy, a follow-up ultrasound examination may be done at a later gestational age.

Where is 4D Ultrasound Done?

4D ultrasound can be done at a clinic or hospital that provides this examination service. However, doctors usually recommend a 2D or 3D ultrasound first in the early trimester of pregnancy. In case there is any pregnancy issue, a 4D ultrasound is needed to confirm these findings. However, it is also possible for you to do a 4D ultrasound without indications of pregnancy issues if you want.

When is The Right Time to See a Doctor?

4D ultrasound can be done at the times that have been mentioned above or when you experience health issues during pregnancy.

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