Is 3D Ultrasound Safe? Things to Know About 3D Ultrasound


3d ultrasound is a medical ultrasound technique, often used in foetal, cardiac, trans-rectal and intra-vascular applications. 3d ultrasound refers specifically to the volume rendering of ultrasound data and is also referred to as 4d when it usually includes a series of 3d volumes collected over time. Usually, an ultrasound is done in order to detect any abnormalities in the foetus, or to just check the normal growth of the foetus inside the mother’s body. While 2d ultrasounds are more than enough for this purpose, 3d baby ultrasound give a clearer picture and help the parents particularly in understanding the health of their baby.

In this article, we will discuss whether 3d ultrasounds are safe during pregnancy or not. We will discuss the time when it is necessary to get a 3d baby ultrasound, whether it can distort a baby’s looks, the difference between 3d and 4d ultrasound and the cost of a 3d ultrasound. Read on to find out everything about the points mentioned:

Is It Safe to Do 4D/3D Baby Ultrasound?

3d baby ultrasound


When do you get a 3d ultrasound?

The “best” time to come in for a 3d/4d ultrasound really depends on what you want to see. Given below is a comprehensive list on things to expect during an ultrasound. It depends on how many weeks pregnant you are:

14-18 weeks: a 3d/4d ultrasound will allow you to see the entire baby in one picture. Your baby is usually very active during this stage of the pregnancy. Therefore, if your baby is awake, you will be able to watch all the foetal movements. You can watch the baby kick, wave; grab its feet, etc. During this time,  you will be able to make out that the baby has two eyes, a nose, and a mouth. However, you will not see the facial composition in elaborate detail.

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19-26 weeks: the baby’s facial features will be filling out and becoming more prominent. However, there is also a high probability the baby will be ruptured in some way, which is not ideal for getting good 3d photographs. When babies are breach they usually have hands and feet in the face or are folded in half. Therefore, it is recommended to come in during this stage of the pregnancy in special circumstances, such as if you are pregnant with twins, have or woth family member who won’t be present later, or if you are worried you won’t make it full-term for any specific reason.

27-40 weeks: generally, by this time the baby is head down, which is preferred. 27 to 40 weeks is the best time to get the up-close detailed pictures of the baby’s face in 3d/4d. It is frequently encouraged to get late-term scans, because if you have the patience to wait, the detail only gets more amazing the further along you are.

During all stages of the pregnancy the most important element that influences how clear the pictures will be is the amount of fluid the mother drinks, the days or even weeks, leading up to the appointment of the 3d ultrasound. You staying extra hydrated will ensure there is enough fluid in the amniotic sac to see the baby more clearly.

Can 3d ultrasound distort how baby looks?

It can be exciting to see your baby on an ultrasound but it can also be disappointing when it’s hard to identify parts of your baby on screen. During the third trimester, the ultrasound photos can often looks far stranger than at your 20 week scan, even though your baby is far more developed than before. The good news is that it’s completely normal for ultrasounds to look distorted, squished, parts to look bigger or even abnormal. Trust your ultrasound technician, this is their job and they know how to tell if something is wrong or not. Here are some reasons your baby’s ultrasound picture looks strange.

  • Ultrasounds don’t pick up fat or cartilage, distorting the picture you see.
  • Baby’s movements can distort the image, making it blur.
  • Your baby is much squished in the uterus and beside the placenta, especially near the end of the pregnancy, which makes for some strange facial expressions.
  • Unlike a real photo the ultrasound creates a picture that’s made of organs, bones and outlines. When you’re seeing right through parts of your baby, it can make for some strange images.
  • Ultrasounds use sound waves, which can be easily interrupted, making for unusual pictures.
  • Your baby’s inside a big ball of fluid which can make for even more distortion and difficulty in picking up an accurate image.

What’s the difference between 3d and 4d ultrasound?

For perspective, an ultrasound of a fetus in 2d generates a flat, black-and-white image. However, 2d ultrasound shows the function of the baby’s internal organs, which is obviously vital to monitoring its health. With 3d and 4d ultrasound scans, you can see the baby in three-dimensional images. They reveal more internal and external detail from different angles, such as the heart wall, valves or blood flow in various vessels; and outside, the skin or the shape of the mouth. A lot of parents find it great to see the baby in such vivid detail, especially if they see their son or daughter yawning or smiling.


The depth and detail of 3d and 4d ultrasound imagery is remarkably effective in detecting issues such as a cleft lip, heart defects, skeletal problems or neural abnormalities. The most significant difference between 3d and 4d ultrasound is that 4d allows physicians to “live streams” video of the baby’s images. 4d ultrasound is essentially 3d ultrasound in live motion.

How much does a 3d ultrasound cost (usd)

For a fee that usually ranges from $50 to $150, you can get a 3d ultrasound in a comfortable setting, surrounded by family.

Is 3d ultrasound safe?

Parents often want 3D and 4D ultrasounds. They let you see your baby’s face for the first time. Some doctors recommend 3D and 4D ultrasounds because they can show certain birth defects, such as cleft palate, that might not show up on a standard ultrasound. Studies (see references) suggest that 3D and 4D ultrasounds are safe. Therefore, they are beneficial if you want to see a detailed report on the appearance and health of your baby, something that will be too complex in a 2D ultrasound report.

Therefore, to conclude, 3D ultrasounds are safe only if you go to a proper doctor and follow all the necessary instructions. At the end of the day, nothing matters except the health of your baby.



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