3D Ultrasound - When To Do & Is It Safe?

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Are you pregnant and have your ultrasound procedures begun? Did the doctor recommend you for a 3D ultrasound? Why has he recommended it? Is it safe for my baby?

If these questions worry you, read our post here. As a would-be mother, it is obvious that you will worry about any medical procedure you go through while you are pregnant. A 3D ultrasound usually takes place with the device in contact with your abdomen; so, your confusion and concern are highly natural. Here we look at a 3D ultrasound during your pregnancy and whether or not it is safe.

What Does A 3D Ultrasound Test Do? Is It Safe?

The 3D ultrasound procedure, or sonography, abdominal ultrasound or abdominal sonography is not a compulsory test that you need to undergo during pregnancy. Doctors recommend it give the parents-to-be a chance to see their unborn baby better. Many doctors consider it a safe option, especially as it is a non-invasive procedure.

In some cases, your doctor may proactively refer a 3D ultrasound if there is any particular concern related to the unborn baby’s well-being or your pregnancy that needs further inspection. Your doctor may especially ask you to go for a 3D ultrasound to rule out the chances of a cleft palate, something that will immediately show up on a 3D ultrasound but not in a regular one.

A 3D ultrasound works like a regular ultrasound but produces results that are three dimensional. It uses sound waves to help create the image of your baby inside your womb. When you go for a 3D ultrasound, it allows you to see your unborn baby’s face clearer than in a regular ultrasound.

When Should You Get The 3D Ultrasound Test Done?

The best time to get the 3D ultrasound is between week 26 and week 30 of your pregnancy.

  • Before your baby is 26 weeks old in the womb, there will be little fat under his skin. As a result, the 3D ultrasound will only pick up images of the bones of the face.
  • After your baby is 30 weeks old in the womb, your baby’s head has a chance to go deeper into your pelvis. Doing a 3D ultrasound at this stage will not give you a clear image of your baby’s face.
  • In case you have a condition known as anterior placenta, in which your placenta is at the front part of your womb, you should wait till your 28thweek of pregnancy to have the best image.

While Undergoing A 3D Ultrasound During Pregnancy

Remember to keep the following things in mind when you plan to get a 3D ultrasound done while you are pregnant:

  • While a 3D ultrasound is one of the best ways to see your unborn baby’s face while still being inside the womb, you may not always get an image. It does not mean that something is wrong with your baby, that your baby is in discomfort or suffering from some condition, or that your pregnancy is not going well. It simply means that your baby is lying in such a way that the ultrasound could not pick up the image of the face.
  • One of the best instances, when you will get a clear picture of your baby’s face through a 3D ultrasound, is when your baby lies with the face pointing outwards. It is also important that there is a good amount of amniotic fluid around your baby’s face, as it will make the image clear.
  • You may not be able to see your baby’s face in the image if your baby is lying with the face towards your back.
  • Other instances where you may not be able to see your baby’s face at all is when your baby’s head is down in your pelvis. You may see a grainy picture if there isn’t enough amniotic fluid around the face.
  • You will also not be able to see your unborn baby’s face in the 3D ultrasound if you have an excess of tummy fat.
  • If the results are inconclusive and you can’t see your baby’s face, the sonographer may ask you to take a walk to help your baby move and change position. If it still does not work, your sonographer may ask you to come back after a week or so when your baby changes positions.
  • In case nothing works, and you still cannot see your unborn baby’s face, you will at least be able to see your baby’s fingers and toes.

Get The Best Image While Doing A 3D Ultrasound During Pregnancy

Here are a few tips that may help you get a better and clearer picture of your unborn baby when you go for a 3D ultrasound:

  • Follow the week guideline to get the best results out of your 3D ultrasound procedure. The best time to see your unborn baby’s face through this procedure, as explained above, is between week 26 and week 30.
  • Drink a lot of water before the 3D ultrasound procedure. Not just right before the appointment, but try having more water a few days prior to your appointment. You should try and have at least two to three liters of water on a daily basis. It will clear your amniotic sac clear and will also ensure there is enough amniotic fluid around your baby.
  • Make sure you are comfortable when you go for the 3D ultrasound. You should have your bladder full, but not so full that it makes you physically hurt and becomes difficult to walk or sit. Make sure you are wearing comfortable clothes.

If the tests are inconclusive even after trying two or three times, you should stop going for more 3D ultrasounds.

Did your doctor recommend you for a 3D ultrasound done? Or did you get one and manage to see your baby’s face? How was your experience? Tell us and fellow mommies all about it here. We would love to hear from you.