Ultrasound During Pregnancy: 2D, 3D, 4D and 5D Ultrasound Explained

Ultrasound During Pregnancy: 2D, 3D, 4D and 5D Ultrasound Explained

Ultrasound during pregnancy is something everyone looks forward to. You countdown the days until you get to have your ultrasound and see your little jelly bean.

There has been much change from ultrasounds in our mothers’ day. We still have the basic 2D ultrasound, the black and white ultrasound that you receive for your diagnostics. If you are lucky you will get a great profile shot and be able to see that cute little button nose!

We also now have the magic of 3D/4D ultrasound – getting to see your baby like never before. With photo realistic views we can now see amazing facial features and chubby little fingers and toes. So much so you almost wanna pinch their little cheeks!

Ultrasound during pregnancy - 5D
5D Ultrasound (Early in Pregnancy)

But hold on – now we have 5D – how can it be we are adding yet another dimension to our ultrasounds?!

Let me break down each “D” and see if we can clear things up. First, let me say that no matter which you are having they are all performed in the same way. We squeeze a little – or a lot! – of gel on your belly and move a transducer around to capture images. The gel helps us keep direct contact and helps the sound waves pass smoothly through the skin. The transducer emits the sound waves that are sent in and bounce back to give us an image.

2D Ultrasound During Pregnancy

Ultrasound during pregnancy - 2D
Basic 2D Ultrasound

This is the traditional ultrasound that you have for your diagnostic scans. The sound wave is sent from the transducer in a straight line and then reflected back to the transducer giving us a flat plane image (2 dimensions) 2D is used for diagnostic ultrasounds because it lets us have a view at internal structures and bones. (think of it like you having an x-ray)

3D Ultrasound During Pregnancy

3D Ultrasound (Early in Pregnancy)

This is a bit more advanced and lets us get volume data from different 2d images. Instead of the sound wave going straight in and reflecting back, the sound wave goes in at many different angles and is reflected back in different planes. Images come back through a high-speed program which does a surface rendering (like a topographical map) This is where we get to see the baby in a true life-like image.

4D Ultrasound During Pregnancy

3D/4D Ultrasound Video

Now that we see those awesome 3D images – 4D allows us to live stream the 3D images in real time. You get to see view all of the baby’s movements – kicking, playing with fingers, yawning, swallowing, etc. as it’s happening!

5D Ultrasound During Pregnancy

This is a little harder to explain but the “proof is in the pictures”. 5D displays higher resolution and detail and a more realistic depth perception of the 3d anatomy.

5D/3D Ultrasound

Article by Henri Clark, Insight Imaging, Inc., Monroeville, PA.

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