The world of baby scans has come on leaps and bounds in the last decade or so. The introduction of 3D scans, a few years ago, and now the development of 4D scans have blown parents minds.

If you are a parent, you are going to be excited about the prospect of your first scan. It will be the first time you get to meet your baby, so to speak. The traditional 2D scan is the one that every Mum will have done in the hospital, and even though this can be good, some images still come out all blurry and grey. If you do get a picture, where you can’t tell the baby’s head from its feet, then it is not the ideal way to see your baby for the first time. It often leaves a sour taste in prospective mother’s mouths. The traditional 2D scan will also only show you the outline of your baby, and the image will portray all of the baby’s internal organs too.

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(Thank you to Tess Watson for this amazing 3D scan image, via Flickr)

However, with the technological advances in the sciences and scans, the 3D and 4D scan is available so you can see your baby, and all their features. With a 3D or 4D scan you will be able to see baby’s skin, the shape of your baby’s nose, mouth and ears, as well as their little fingers and toes. You may also see your baby stick out their tongue or suck their thumb. The possibilities are endless, and have had new Mums very excited.

However, there is a catch as 3D and 4D scans are not available on the NHS, and are only available through private companies. This means that you will have to pay a few between £100 and £300 depending on what package you want. You can also request a DVD of your baby’s 3D or 4D scan, which you can play back for family and friends, and embarrass the little one when they grow up.

The people who work within sonography jobs will help you throughout your process at the clinic.

The technology that allows these 3D and 4D scans are expensive, and there are no clear benefits to Mum, baby or medical practitioner, so many experts conclude that these scans will not replace 2D scans or become a free preferred option.

Like the traditional 2D scan, there is a ‘best time’ to have your 3D or 4D scan. That time is between 26 weeks and 30 weeks. However, each pregnancy is different and you may be best to wait until 28 weeks if the placenta is at the front of the uterus. It may be best to ask your GP or midwife when is best to book yourself in for a 3D or 4D scan.

If you attend your 3D or 4D scan and the baby is facing the other way, or is in a difficult position to get a clear image, then the sonographer may ask you to move around a little to try and get the baby to switch positions. This is not guaranteed to work, but it is worth a try. If nothing has come, and you cannot get a clear image of your baby’s face then you may have to settle for fingers and toes.