What are 3D and 4D ultrasound scans?

3D scans are still pictures of your baby in three dimensions. 4D scans are moving 3D images of your baby, with time being the fourth dimension. You're probably really excited by the prospect of your first scan. But some mums find the standard 2D scans disappointing when all they see is a grey, blurry outline. This is because the scan sees right through your baby, so the photos show your baby's internal organs. Both types of scans are just as safe as a 2D scan, because the image is made up of sections of two-dimensional images converted into a picture. There's no evidence to suggest that scans aren't safe, and most mums-to-be gain reassurance from them.

3D and 4D scans may nonetheless show more detail about a known abnormality. Because these scans can show more detail from different angles, they can help in the diagnosis of cleft lip. This can help doctors to plan the repair after birth. 3D scanning can also be useful to look at the heart and other internal organs.The best time to have a 3D or 4D scan is when you are between 26 weeks and 30 weeks pregnant.
Before 26 weeks your baby has very little fat under her skin, so the bones of her face will show through her skin. If the placenta is at the front of your uterus (anterior), it is best to wait until 28 weeks to get the best images of your baby. It's natural that you'd like to see your baby's face on the scan. But sometimes it's not possible, depending on how she is lying.The sonographer may ask you to go for a walk, or to come back in a week, when your baby may have moved to a better position.If she's lying facing outwards, with a good pool of amniotic fluid around her features, you should be able to see her face clearly. But if she's facing your back, or if there's not much fluid around her, you won't see much. The same applies if you have a lot of tummy fat. If it's not possible to get good views of her face, you may be able to see her fingers and toes instead.