4D Ultrasound Scan In Pregnancy

In all the fascination and excitement that has inevitably accompanied the advent of 4D baby ultrasound, there is always that quite legitimate pause, seeking an answer to the question. Is it safe?  4D Ultrasound is safe and here I set out to explain why I can make such a n explicit and unambiguous statement.

Brief History of Medical Ultrasound

Medical ultrasound has been with us for well over 60 years; that is since the 1940s when first used by Karl Dussick in Austria. It has been a mainstream investigative and diagnostic tool in pregnancy care since the 1970s and it is often described as an extension of an obstetrician’s hand. That is how dependent we have become on this technology.

Mainstream 3D and 4D ultrasound scan is largely a 21st century development. Whilst the technology has been around since at least the early 1990s, it has been almost exclusively a research tool, the computing power and huge cost being the main limiting factors. Computing power has increased exponentially, something that has allowed the cost to drop to realistic levels for the technology to come into the sphere of the ordinary consumer.

In the last 5 to 6 years, the use of 3D and 4D ultrasound scan in pregnancy has taken off at an astonishing rate all across the globe.

How does 4D Ultrasound differ from ‘standard’ Ultrasound?
First things first. It is important to make it clear from the outset that 3D and 4D ultrasound is exactly the same technology as the conventional 2D ultrasound that everybody is familiar with.

Ultrasound is basically very high frequency sound waves. These sound waves are at a frequency well beyond the perception of the human ear and therefore no sound is actually audible.

Conventional or ‘standard’ ultrasound gives an image in two dimensions. 3D ultrasound, as the name suggests, gives a three-dimensional image. However, as is the convention, 3D describes a static image. With this technological development, you can see the baby in 3D and see the motion as well. It is the motion that is described as the fourth dimension hence the term 4D. In other words, you can see your baby in three dimensions and see all the action taking place in the womb.