The Jessica blog. What is 2D, 3D, 4D ultraosund

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What are they, and why is everyone always talking about them? As an expectant mother, you’re excited to see your baby at every stage, from the first little dot on the monitor to the sweet kicking baby ready to enter this world. Do these services replace my regular OB/GYN visits? NO! You should still be under the care of your physician or nurse midwife (where appropriate).

What are the benefits of an ultrasound? Studies show the bonding experience provided by a 3D/4D ultrasound can help mothers improve their diets, exercise more frequently, and eliminate harmful behaviors such as smoking and drinking. For fathers and siblings, the chance to see the baby and create pre-birth bonds is instrumental in drawing the family closer during this time of change.

What exactly is a 3D or 4D ultrasound? A 3D ultrasound is performed using exactly the same machine as a 2D. The difference is that a 2D ultrasound visualizes the baby in planes (or layers) and a 3D ultrasound looks at the surface of the baby. The term 4D simply means the element of motion has been added to a still 3D photo. 4D is also referred to as “3D Live”..

When is the best time to have an ultrasound? Most ultrasounds are done between 24 and 34 weeks. Prior to 24 weeks, babies have not started putting on fat so they won’t have the “Gerber Baby” look.Around 27 to 28 weeks is usually considered the ideal time, because the baby has some fat and still with plenty of room to move. After 34 weeks, the baby begins to get a little bit squished and may be facing the spine, which is the position for birth.

Why does it matter how much room the baby has to move? First of all, you’ll enjoy the viewing experience more if the baby has room to move around. Often you can watch his little hands and feet in motion, toes and fingers wiggling, and see the baby’s face from all different angles. Second, if the baby is in a position that makes viewing difficult (facing the spine or maybe covering its face with hands and feet), you have a better chance of repositioning the baby if there’s room for it to move.

Several factors from the Jessica blog to determine the quality of the ultrasound photos including:

Amount of amniotic fluid because sound waves travel best through fluid to create the images. The more fluid around your baby, the clearer the photos will be.

The location of the placenta is one factor you can’t change. The placenta can be on the front of the uterus, the back, or the side. When the placenta is on the front, it can block the baby’s face, because the sounds waves pick up the placenta as the same type of tissue as your baby.

If the mother is full figured, sound waves have more tissue to travel through which causes grainier, less clear looking photos. If this is the case, it’s best to wait till around 32 weeks for your ultrasound because the tissue will be stretched out as your baby grows.

And finally, the position of the baby is a factor. If the baby is facing toward the back, you will get the back of its head or slight profile. The technician might reposition the mother to try and move the baby, which brings us to the importance of the amniotic fluid.

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From The Jessica blog to pregnancy ultrasounds

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The Jessica blog excerpts from Suzanne Gastineau, Certified Ultrasound Technician and Owner of Ultrasona St. Louis.