The Differences Between 2D, 3D, and 4D Ultrasounds Explained

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3D ultrasound image of baby's face
While trained medical professionals have become adept at recognizing features of the developing fetus in 2D, parents are better able to visualize the baby with the advent of 3D and 4D ultrasonography.

What is an ultrasound?

Ultrasound scans, also known as sonograms, use the reflection of high-frequency sound waves to create ultrasound images in 2D, 3D and 4D. According to The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, “The (ultrasound) sound waves come into contact with tissues, body fluids, and bones. The waves then bounce back, like echoes. The transducer receives these echoes, which are turned into images. The images can be viewed as pictures on a video screen.” These ultrasound images allow women, men and doctors to have a safe and painless way to see into the womb and see the pre-born baby.

What is a 2D ultrasound?

The standard 2D obstetric ultrasound shows a flat, black and white picture on a screen. 2D ultrasounds can be done during any trimester, but are often performed early in gestation to confirm the pregnancy and to help establish the due date. Just four weeks after fertilization, the heartbeat can be picked up on an ultrasound. This scan is usually repeated at 18-20 weeks of gestation to check for normal growth and development, and to reveal the sex of the baby if desired.

For more information on the stages of growth of the pre-born that can be detected through 2D, 3D and 4D ultrasounds, check this out.

The First Nine Months

What is a 3D ultrasound?

While trained medical professionals have become adept at recognizing features of the developing fetus in 2D, parents are better able to visualize the baby with the advent of 3D ultrasonography.
A 3D ultrasound creates a different perspective by merging a series of 2D images taken from various angles into a composite to form a 3D picture. Because of this increased resolution and visibility, 3D ultrasounds capture a more detailed and realistic representation of the developing baby.

Because 3D ultrasounds allow us to view more subtle features they are helpful in the diagnosis of cleft lip, cleft palate, and heart conditions, and give parents the unique opportunity to see their baby’s face for the very first time.

What is a 4D ultrasound?

4D ultrasound is different than a 3D ultrasound because it adds the dimension of time, providing a live video of the baby in action: kicking, stretching, yawning, sucking their thumb, opening and closing their eyes. 4D ultrasound brings the static image from a 3D ultrasound to life.

Do you see what I see? A baby is not alive because it is born. It is born because it is alive.

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