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scans-tests-and-screening

4D scans

What does a 4D scan involve and is it worth paying for?

4D scans

Mums-to-be usually get two scans during a normal pregnancy, but with advances in technology, it’s now possible to see a little bit more of your baby before they’re born by opting to pay for a 4D scan in addition to these.

At a glance

  • Mums-to-be usually get two scans during a normal pregnancy
  • 4D scans are done outside the NHS and can be costly
  • It is best to wait until 24 to 32 weeks to have a 4D scan
4d-scans

How does a 4D scan work?

A normal 2D scan uses ultrasound to see through your baby, resulting in a flat grainy grey image which shows your baby in the womb. A 4D scan uses a similar principle of ultrasound but combines sections of 2D images to create a 3D image which you can see moving in real-time (adding the 4th dimension to the scan).

At what stage of pregnancy should I have a 4D scan?

A 4D scan will usually be performed when you're between 26 weeks and 32 weeks pregnant. Earlier than 26 weeks and your baby won’t have developed enough fat to clearly see features, whilst any later than 32 weeks your baby may have shifted position ready for the big day and therefore it’ll be harder to see their face and features.

What will a 4D scan show me?

One of the most exciting reasons for having a 4D baby scan is the level of detail it’ll show you of your baby, in real-time. Depending on the babies position you’ll be able to see their face including eyes, mouth and nose. You’ll also be able to watch them stretch, yawn, wiggle their fingers and even stick their tongue out if they’re feeling particularly cheeky!

Occasionally you might find that your baby isn’t in an ideal position to see what you want to see. In these instances the sonographer may ask you to go for a brisk walk and return to try the scan again.

What are the benefits of a 4D scan?

The benefits of having a 4D scan will vary depending on your circumstance. For some mums-to-be they’re keen to have a 4D scan to get a better image of their baby and how it’s growing along with the added magic of seeing their little one moving around in real-time in the womb.

There are also medical benefits of a 4D scan with the sonographer able to check your baby’s growth, the position of your placenta and its appearance, the amount of amniotic fluid, the development of the stomach, kidneys and bladder, along with the gender if you wish to know it.

Will it ever be recommended that I have a 4D scan?

There may be a few occasions where you may be recommended to have a 4D scan. These include the following:

Are there any reasons not to have a 4D scan?

Scans are painless and have no known side effects for mum or baby – although if you choose to pay for a 4D package, you might wince a bit at the cost!

Oh, and if you don't want to know the sex of your baby, make sure you tell the sonographer in advance!

"I had a 4D at 27+4. What an experience! My baby boy smiled, blew a kiss, put his thumb up and did the rock sign!"

At a glance

  • Mums-to-be usually get two scans during a normal pregnancy
  • 4D scans are done outside the NHS and can be costly
  • It is best to wait until 24 to 32 weeks to have a 4D scan
If you don't want to know the sex of your baby, make sure you tell the sonographer in advance

4D scans