What is 4D Baby Ultrasound?

4D (also known as “dynamic” 3D because it focuses on the face and fetal movements), is a fairly new application of 3D ultrasound technology.

4D imaging was so named when it became possible to use ultrasound to obtain 3-Dimensional images in motion, as real time live-action videos. The 4th dimension is “time.” 4D is able to capture two to four images per second, which is much quicker than 3D machines. Currently, General Electric is the only company to manufacturer a 4D ultrasound machine. So, if you’re visiting a lab or freestanding commercial fetal imaging site that offers 4D, they’re using GE’s Voluson 730 Expert. That machine has a frame speed of 40 frames per second, compared to the Voluson 730 Pro’s 16 frames per second. A higher frame speed means Baby’s movement will appear more smooth and natural, as opposed to slow and choppy.

A doctor may use 4D ultrasound to diagnose issues (just one example is vascular anomalies) with the fetus-in-motion in real-time, evaluate multiple fetuses or to add a visual guide to needle-based procedures such as a biopsy or amniocentesis. On the other hand, a freestanding commercial fetal imaging center offering reassurance or keepsake ultrasounds promotes 4D as a way to encourage bonding and other benefits.

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