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When is the best time for a 3D or 4D scan?

When is the best time for a  3D or 4D scan?

3D & 4D Scans are a truly wonderful experience for expectant parents. We intend on bringing them back on the 4th July, but we are aware that there may be some of you who may have missed the 4D scan window which here at Early Life Ultrasound Centre is between 24 and 34 weeks. We specify this time because around 24 weeks babies have reached a point where their features are clearer but, at the other end we specify 34 weeks due to growth as there may not be enough room to get images. Saying this, we have completed some amazing scans after 34 weeks and would like to extend the offer to those who are past the 34 week point who may have missed out that we will accept appointments and try to obtain images but if we can't we won't charge you. 

3D/4D scan images at different stages

What you see at a 3D or 4D ultrasound is dependent on a couple of things. Firstly, the gestational age of your baby. If your baby is 16 weeks you may see your baby's whole body. At this stage they are quite little and the facial features aren't very distinguishable due to there being very little fat under the skin and the baby being about the size of an avocado, but it is always lovely to see them wriggling.


3D image at 16 weeks


If you are investing in a 3D or 4D scan then the earliest time to get the best images is at around 24 weeks and up to 34 weeks. At 24 weeks we are starting to see baby's features more clearly as babies are a bit bigger at this stage and the sound waves have to travel a much shorter distance and can pick up better echoes creating a clearer image. Of course, as with all imaging this is still dependent on whether or not there is sufficient clear fluid around the area that we wish to see.


3D image 24 weeks


From  28 weeks babies tend to look aesthetically more like they will when they born. We begin to see chubbier cheeks and we will sometimes see babies opening their eyes or blinking. We will not see eye colour as the 3D/4D ultrasound does not show colour, but as you can see from the example image below we have some lovely chubby cheeks! You won't be able to see the whole of your baby always as at this stage as babies are a bit bigger and the whole of baby can't be seen in one single image. If you aren't curious about the sex of your baby you can still have a 3D scan and not find out what gender your baby is. It's always good to mention this to your Sonographer but you will be asked this question before your appointment.


28 week 3D scan


At 30 weeks we can see that those cheeks are just getting chubbier as babies begin to increase in weight. 30 weeks is the half way point where if you live in the UK (and are considered to be low risk) will be about the half way point from your 20 weeks routine scan and you due date. We find that this is an excellent time for 3D, 4D and HD Live ultrasound scans. The image below is a HD Live image which is a newer imaging software available at Early Life Ultrasound Centre with all 3D & 4D scan options.


 30 weeks HD Live image


It is beautiful to see our babies, but it should be remembered that we consider that as well as imaging to see your baby, well-being in the form of checking growth and fluid levels are also very much a priority. As a part most of the 3D, 4D and HD Live scan packages at Early Life Ultrasound Centre, these checks come as apart of the scan. 

 At 34 weeks and sometimes a couple of weeks after this point we can achieve some excellent results with 3D or 4D imaging, however, the further past 34 weeks, the higher the chance of not being able to achieve images due to reducing fluid levels and baby taking up a lot of space.


3D Image 34 weeks


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