4D Baby Scans - Should I or Shouldn't I?

By Jason Roasen

The NHS has used ultrasound for over 30 years. No known risks have ever been identified or proven, despite extensive research, and ultrasound is recognised as a safe procedure during pregnancy. Further reassurance is given as many companies use the same ultrasound techniques as the NHS. The investment is the only difference, many companies use the latest scanning machine, which makes impressive 2D, 3D and 4D moving images.

Between 22 and 32 weeks gestation is the best time for a 4D baby scan, in order to get the most suitable images.

Experts concur that there are no known risks associated with this procedure to either the mother or baby. Some companies still like to keep scanning times to a minimum as an extra precaution, but will still get high-quality images of baby. Mny companies set their ultrasound machines to a low setting - the A.L.A.R.A principle, which stands for As Low As Reasonably Achievable, but can still get incredible images. In addition, look for a company that follow the scanner settings endorsed by BMUS, British Medical Ultrasound Society.

Most companies offer detailed in-depth 3D and 4D scanning packages available with no hidden charges or decreased appointment times. All scans should be unhurried. A sonographer will also take lots of measurements of the baby during a developement and growth scan, often included in the package. The baby's weight can be measured and parents reassured that their baby is developing normally. Some companies charge up to 195 further for the well baby health screen so ensure what your package includes.

Companies should not charge you for subsequent visits if they cannot obtain high-quality images on your first visit. Look for companies that claim at least a 90% success rate. Sexing can also be carried out during scans.

High frequency sound waves build up a 2D image during your scan. The most recent scanning technology will be used to capture the image and create a 3D image. When real time is added, you then see the 4D moving image of your baby. Mum is usually allowed up to 4 guests including siblings.

Only fully qualified ultrasound sonographers should carry out 4D baby scans. Check qualifications of the staff that will be scanning you.

Most scans are performed as non-diagnostic and non-medical. They are intended to assist in a marvellous early bonding experience for both parents. Initial hospital abnormality scan are usually carried out before any 3D or 4D scan.

3D and 4D scans help hugely with the bonding process. A 3D/4D scan specially assists fathers to bond with their unborn child, as they can relate more to their child from the womb.

Another advantage of these scans is that mothers who have previously led an unhealthy life style during pregnancy are more likely to make drastic, advantageous changes.

At the end of your scan many companies offer DVD recordings, CD Roms and colour photographs as part of the package. What's not to like? As long as you visit a reputable company and select the correct package for you, your 4D baby scan will give you lasting memories and mementos of an unforgettable experience.

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