Ultrasonography is one of the true revolutions is obstetrics. For the obstetrician, the patient’s estimate date of delivery can be established or confirmed. In addition, an assessment of fetal anatomy can be made. For the patient, it allows a window into the remarkable world of fetal development. The patient can see and hear her baby’s heart and see its face. Also, in many circumstances, discover if the fetus is a boy or a girl. As ultrasonography has improved there have been advancements, including 3-D and 4-D imaging.
The 3-D and 4-D imaging can give a lifelike recreation of a baby’s face and other parts of the anatomy. The lifelike images depend on the infant accumulating body fat which is in the third trimester but also the images are optimal approximately 30 weeks when the fetus still can reposition to capture a clear picture of its face. After this point and once the fetus is positioned for delivery, it can be difficult to capture the image of the face.
For many reasons, 3-D and 4-D sonography has not become part of routine prenatal care because of expense and the extended period of time it takes to acquire the lifelike images that patients expect. For this reason, there has been a proliferation of prenatal ultrasound facilities where patients pay cash to have 3-D and 4-D images of their babies, just like they would pay a photographer to pictures of their children after delivery.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine are opposed to the practice of obstetric ultrasound for nonmedical entertainment purposes. The reason why is that nonmedical ultrasound facilities are not regulated. The ultrasound technologist may not be licensed and the facilities are held to no medical standard. Patients can be given a false reassurance that everything is well with their infant. For this reason, please discuss the option of 3-D and 4-D ultrasound with your obstetrician so that once can be referred to a reputable center.