What is a 3D scan?
Expecting a baby is an exciting time for new parents. Here at Before Birth we understand that you are anxious to meet your little one and we can offer you an extraordinary view inside their world. A 3D scan enables you to see your baby in much more detail than a standard 2D scan offered by your antenatal provider. Unlike the blurry grey shape you can see on a 2D printout, a 3D scan offers you the opportunity to see your babies’ facial features, count fingers and toes and see your baby moving around in the womb. This type of scan can also offer further reassurance about the development of your child. Our technicians use specialist equipment that uses sound waves to create a three dimensional image of your baby, allowing you to see much more detail than a regular diagnostic scan would.
What will happen at my 3D scan?
When you visit Before Birth for your 3D scan, we will ask you to lie down so our technician can apply a specially formulated gel on your belly, this helps carry sound waves that become converted into an image. Our technician will then hold a probe against your belly and move it around. We will show you pictures of your baby on the screen, and will be able to point out all their finer features for you to enjoy, such as little noses and tiny toes. We also provide you with printed pictures for you take home to treasure and share with your loved ones. If requested, we can also let you know the sex of your baby, but if you would prefer to keep this information as a surprise, we will be careful to keep it hidden.
Are there any medical benefits to having a 3D scan?
Any medical conditions relating to your pregnancy should be dealt with under the care of your obstetrician, GP or midwife. 3D scans do however provide a useful tool to look at your baby’s heart and other internal organs. Because of the depth of detail our ultrasound machines provide, the technician is able to look at all areas of the baby from different angles, which can help with the diagnosis of any potential birth defects. Knowing about any potential abnormalities before birth allows your medical professional to plan for additional care where needed.
When is the best time to have a 3D scan?
If you decide that a 3D scan is for you, the best time to have one is between 25 and 30 weeks pregnant. By 25 weeks gestation your baby has started to put on weight, which means we can see more than just the bones. After 30 weeks your baby’s head may begin its journey toward the pelvis, which means we may not be able to get a clear picture for you to see.
What if you can’t get a good picture of my baby?
Babies have their own agendas and they can be a little camera shy. If we cannot get a good picture we will recommend you go for a walk or have a drink, this will help the baby move around so we can get a clearer image. There are other factors that may affect our ability to see your baby. For instance, if your placenta is at the front of your womb (anterior placenta) you may need to wait until 28 weeks to get a good image of your little one. Images may also be limited if your baby is facing your back, there is not much amniotic fluid around this area. A lot of tummy fat can also impact the quality of the pictures. If we are unable to get a good clear picture of your baby, we will arrange another appointment for you to come back so we can try again.
Are 3D scans safe for my baby?
Before Birth 3D scans are safe for both you and your baby. The scan itself does not use more intense sound waves or produce more heat than the regular 2D diagnostic scans offered to every mum-to-be through the NHS. This technology has been used for many years, and there is no current evidence of any biological risk to mother and foetus associated with obstetric ultrasound scans (Obstetric ultrasound, biological effects and safety (no 160, June 2005) SOGC clinical practice guidelines from JOGC). Here at Before Birth we see no need to take any unnecessary risks. We adhere to the ALARA (As Low As Reasonably Possible) principle. This means that we have our equipment set to the lowest possible settings, whilst imposing a maximum amount of time we will expose your baby to the ultrasound. Therefore even our longest scans will not last for more than 20 minutes. All our technicians are highly qualified and as a company we comply with all regulations in place for private scanning practices in the UK.