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16/04/18
Technology has provided amazing advancements in pregnancy scans over the past decade. These days, expectant parents can invest in private 3D or 4D scans, giving them a closer, more in-depth look at their growing baby.

However, these scans aren’t exactly cheap, so it’s understandable you may be wondering exactly what you’ll see if you do pay for one. Here, you’ll discover the difference between a 3D and 4D scan to help you decide whether or not it's worthwhile paying for one.

What’s the difference between 3D and 4D pregnancy scans?

The traditional scans you receive on the NHS, provide 2D images, but 3D and 4D scans are available privately. The 3D scans offer a three-dimensional look at the baby. Rather than just seeing the insides of your little one, you’ll be able to see their skin and facial features in much more detail.

4D scans offer the same 3D imaging, only they show your baby moving too, much like a video.

What can you see on the scans?

As mentioned above, 3D and 4D scans offer a much more in-depth look at your baby’s features. However, what you will actually see depends upon a number of factors.

Baby’s gestational age, how much clear fluid is surrounding them, and their position will determine the quality of the scan. The older baby is, the more you’ll be able to see. If you opt for the 4D scans, you could be able to watch your little one yawning, smiling or maybe even scratching their nose! One thing you won’t be able to see however is eye colour. No scans currently detect the colour of baby’s eyes as the colour typically changes after birth.

When is the best time to have one?

The earliest recommended time to have a 3D or 4D scan, is between 24 and 34 weeks. The features start to become more visible at 24 weeks, but 28 weeks is where you’ll see your baby looks more like they will when they’re born. If you can wait however, 30 weeks is typically the best time to have 3D or 4D scans as you’ll see much more detail.

What are the benefits of 3D and 4D scans?

There’s a lot of benefits which come from 3D and 4D scans. Most notably, you’ll get to actually see and recognise your baby. You won’t be disappointed by the quality of the scan like you may be with the blurry 2D traditional scans.

Of course, you will also see whether the baby is healthy, giving you great peace of mind. They’ll show whether there’s enough amniotic fluid, assess the blood flowing through the placenta and they can also tell you the sex of baby if you’re interested to find out.

Are there any risks?

There is a risk 3D or 4D scans could harm the baby, but only if you have too many of them. Having just one scan won’t typically be harmful but be wary of scans lasting longer than 45 minutes.

Overall, 3D and 4D scans offer a truly amazing view of your unborn baby. They can provide lifelong memories, with 4D scans typically offering a DVD copy you can watch again and again. If you can hold off, it’s definitely better to undergo these scans at 30 weeks into the pregnancy.
Clinic Team