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3D Scan and 4D Scan

A 3D Ultrasound is a special scan that shows the baby in three dimensions. This forms part of a 4D Scan. The 4D Scan has the additional dimension of time so that you see a moving image.

Many parents choose to have a scan in 3D or 4D because they are curious to see their baby’s face and find that it really enhances the bond with their unborn child. Parents often find it reassuring and are excited at the prospect of showing their child a moving image of themselves in the womb in later years. The baby’s limbs and genitals can often be seen on a 3D scan.

3D Scan and 4D Scan

3D Scan and 4D Scan Picture
(Click image to enlarge)


When is the scan performed?
A 3D Scan or 4D Scan is generally performed between 26 and 32 weeks of pregnancy when there is a greater volume of amniotic fluid but the baby isn’t too big. After this time frame, you will be less likely to see your baby’s face because of its position. Some clinics will scan 3/4D if you request before 26 weeks, but the images are less likely to be clear. The best images of your baby are most likely to be captured 28-32 weeks of pregnancy.

What will I learn from the scan?
3D Scans or 4D Scans are not usually needed for medical reasons. If the baby has a rare malformation, a 3D scan could provide extra information for medical purposes, but this is highly unusual. The baby’s health is the most important factor and generally a Wellbeing Scan will be performed first.

The baby can be seen to be moving. Sometimes it is even possible to record your baby yawning or stretching.

How is the scan performed and how long does it take?
The 3D Scan or 4D Scan is a tummy scan and can take 30-60 minutes

Sometimes the baby is not in a favourable position; for example it can have its hands or feet in front if its face or be looking downwards.  In such cases you may be asked to take a break, have a short walk or a drink to see if that helps the baby to change position.

3D Scan and 4D Scan Video
(Click image to play)


Do I need to prepare for the scan?
No special preparation is necessary.

What do I get at the end of the scan (pictures/DVD)?
You will be given a growth scan report, 3D images and a DVD recording. 3D pictures are a part of a 4D Scan.

Should I have the scan with a consultant or sonographer?
If you are having a normal pregnancy, then in most cases a scan by a fully qualified, experienced sonographer is fine. If however, you are experiencing complications with your pregnancy or need a second opinion, a scan with an obstetrics consultant is recommended.

How much will it cost?
Prices start from about £200.

Related Resource: List of high quality private pregnancy scan clinics in the UK