3D 4D Ultrasound What’s The Difference?

3D 4D Ultrasound What’s The Difference? – As a parent to be, you can be overwhelmed with appointments for your baby. This is such an exciting time. There are so many new terms and definitions to learn. Parents will also choose what route they want to go for their babies. Do you want to use a midwife or a OBGYN? Parents will have to decide if they want to give birth at home or in a hospital. Will you choose to get a 3D or 4D ultrasound?

With the capabilities of a 3D ultrasound and the detail of a babies features, what is a 4D ultrasound and what are the differences between the 3D and 4D ultrasound? There are clear differences that parents will know about so they can review all of their options when choosing if they want to get a 3D or 4D Ultrasound.

What Is An Ultrasound?

According to the Mayo Clinic, an ultrasound is an imaging method that uses these high frequency sound waves that actually produce images! Ultrasounds like a 2D ultrasound can be recommended medically to see the health of your fetus. Ultrasounds like the 3D ultrasound and 4D ultrasound are used generally for entertainment value, so families can get the first “look” at their new baby.

Are 3D or 4D Ultrasounds Necessary?

The 3D and 4D ultrasounds are not necessary. Not to mention, not medically necessary. Some doctors may suggest a 3D ultrasound to look for cleft lips or other possible medical challenges, but this is not the standard. 3D and 4D ultrasounds are for entertainment. They let you have the first pictures or video of your baby. Many families love to receive these as memories of their ultrasound and to have them as a family keepsake. The ultrasound is considered a keepsake. It is something that can be passed down to your child.

2 D Ultrasounds

Unlike 3D and 4D Ultrasounds, 2D ultrasounds are medically recommended. Doctors use these ultrasounds for many reasons. They make sure the baby is healthy and safe and use ultrasounds to do some measurements and even determine gestation. The first ultrasound is usually done between six to eight weeks to determine pregnancy and gestation. It can also be used to determine the gender of your baby.

They are also there to check on babies health through out the pregnancy if the doctor deems it is necessary.

What Is The Difference Between A 3D and a 4d Ultrasound

There are a few key differences between a 3D and a 4D ultrasound. An ultrasound is an incredible tool to see your baby. It actually uses sound waves to create an image of your baby!

3D Ultrasound

A 3D ultrasound is an image of your baby in utero generated from actual sound waves. Parents will get a series of pictures and see close up facial features of your baby. That is, as long as the baby cooperates! These pictures are beautiful and a keepsake for life. A 3D ultrasound appointment can generally last for about 45 minutes and capture pictures of your little one. Depending on the facility, you can bring family and friends.

The pictures are detailed enough that you can see babies facial pictures. From many in utero verses after birth photos, many families found that their baby looks like they did in the 3D ultrasound pictures. This is such a joy for many families. These photos are viewed as a personal keepsake for baby for life.

How A 3D Ultrasound Is Preformed:

You may be asked to drink a certain amount of water before your ultrasound. You may be asked to lie down and a technician will expose your belly. They will apply a cool gel to your belly. This is to help see the imaging. A technician will then glide a wand around your belly to capture images of your child. The pictures will appear instantly. You will be able to see your child making facial expressions, hands and maybe even feet! This all depends on how your little one cooperates.

After your appointment is over, you will be given pictures of your little one to take home with you.

3D Ultrasounds Will Have:

-3D Pictures of your child.

-Done at an independent facility.

-Are not medically recommended usually.

-Are used for entertainment value

-Depending on the facility, you can bring family and friends.

4D Ultrasound


A 4D Ultrasound creates a image of your baby. Like a 3D ultrasound, you can get a very clear picture of your little one, including facial features and little details. Depending on how the baby cooperates, you can get a comprehensive video of your baby. This just isn’t any video, but a live video effect. Like the 3D imaging, it uses pictures, or images taken from sound waves. Unlike a 3D ultrasound, it can use these images to create a short video!

See your child move their mouths, yawn or put their hands over their face. A 4D image makes it real for families. This baby is a person. You will see facial movements and expressions. Your baby will be  active in the womb. A 4D ultrasound is also used for entertainment value. It is usually not  recommended medically.

Not only do you get pictures of your little one, but a video. This truly is considered a keepsake for many families as they can pass this all down to their child when they are older.

How A 4D Ultrasound is Preformed

A 4D ultrasound is very non invasive. It is recommended often that you drink a certain amount of water before attending your 4D ultrasound. This is because the water will have made it it easier to find and see the baby.

A gel will be administered across your belly. This will help with the sound waves. The technician uses a wand that will glide and gently push against your belly. This is to find the baby and grab images of your baby. The images will be turned into a short video! This all depends on how well your little one cooperates, but technicians are experts. They know how to get some beautiful angles and shots.

After the ultrasound is over, you will be given a movie and some pictures of your little one to take home with you!

4D Ultrasounds Will Have:

-Imaging through sounds

-It creates a short video of your baby

-You can also get pictures of your baby

– Are not medically recommended.

-Are used as entertainment value for the family

-Depending on the facility, you can bring family and friends.

-Done at an independent facility

-A 4D ultrasound is preferred for those who want a video of their baby moving.

Price Range: Prices can vary greatly depending on what the facility will do your family. We have seen prices up to $200 a session.

Why Parents Choose Not To Get A 3D or a 4D Ultrasound

Many parents will decide not to go for a 3D or a 4D ultrasound and there are reasons why not to consider this. Unlike the 2D ultrasound where it is medically recommended to get to check babies health, these ultrasounds are for entertainment value.

An ultrasound uses sound to create the picture of the baby. This procedure tends to expose your baby to heat and a low level of radiation. Many doctors recommend not exposing your child to this heat unnecessarily.

According to the FDA, the heat from the ultrasound can enter the skin slightly. Doctor’s opinions of the safety of this technology is mixed. Since there is no agreed upon conclusions to whether or not a 3D or 4D ultrasound is completely safe for children, it must be said that parents will approach this cautiously. Both 3D and 4D ultrasounds can run longer than the standard 2D ultrasound which concerns some doctors and professionals. Parents will want to limit babies exposure as much as possible.

We Recommend That Parents…

We strongly advise that families do two things before considering a 3D or 4D ultrasound. Firstly, we strongly recommend that families speak to their doctor before getting a 3D or 4D ultrasound. Speaking to your doctor gives you the most up to date information.  Your doctor will give you risk factors on ultrasounds. Secondly, if you choose to get a 3D or 4D ultrasound, do not substitute this as your version of what a medically observed 2D ultrasound. No parent should substitute their 2D ultrasound appointment for a 3D or 4D ultrasound. A 3D or 4D ultrasound is not overseen by a doctor. The best bet for safety is to understand that a medical doctor is a part of of your personal care team during and after your pregnancy. Speak to your doctor before making a big decision.

3D or 4D Ultrasound

As you go through your pregnancy, there are so many terms to know and  understand. It can be confusing for people who are looking into ultrasounds which ultrasound is medically recommended and which ultrasounds show better pictures of your child. There are differences between 3D and 4D ultrasounds that can help you make a choice. Remember, both 3D and 4D ultrasounds are not medically recommended but they are there for entertainment.

READ: The Best Places To Get A 4D Ultrasound in Greensboro, NC