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Find out about 3D and 4D fetal sonograms

A sonogram, otherwise known as an ultrasound, is an image of the internal organs created by a special machine that bounces sound waves off the body and translates those sounds waves into a computerized visual image on a screen.

Sonograms are used in many medical circumstances to view the inside of a patient's body, but they are most closely associated with pregnancy and prenatal care as a means of examining the fetus and tracking its development in an effort to ensure it will be born safely and healthy.

Are Fetal Sonograms Safe?

Sonograms are completely safe for both mother and unborn child. The sound waves used to create the images are harmless, and there is absolutely no radiation involved.

In fact, not only is it safe to have sonograms during your pregnancy, it can be unsafe not to have them. Pregnancy sonograms do much more than reveal the sex and age of your baby; they are a standard part of prenatal care because they can identify a multiple pregnancy (e.g., twins) or possible problems or irregularities, such as a tubal pregnancy or certain birth defects.

3D and 4D Sonograms

Many people now take advantage of advances in ultrasound technology and opt for 3D or 4D sonograms rather than the traditional 2D ones. While these newer types of sonograms are, unsurprisingly, more expensive, they also provide superior detail and a less grainy image. Like 3D sonograms, 4D sonograms capture images of the baby from various angles, but they also record any movements the baby makes during the ultrasound procedure. Some professionals have raised concerns regarding the possibility of increased energy transmission to the fetus, but there has been no evidence that these newer imaging procedures are any less safe than traditional ultrasound.

There are medical as well as aesthetic reasons for 3D or 4D sonogram imaging. If a standard 2D ultrasound has indicated a possible fetal abnormality or other concern, a doctor may order a 3D or 4D sonogram in order to get a closer or better-angled look at the fetus. And parents-to-be who want a truly amazing keepsake and first photo of their baby may ask for a 3D or 4D sonogram, which, in this case, is usually done at 25 weeks or later.

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