If you’re expecting for the first time, you will probably have realised that suddenly everyone in the world who is already a parent wants to tell you what to do and the best way to approach your pregnancy. However, the golden rule of pregnancy is to do what works for you. Every pregnancy, every couple and every baby is different, so it is silly to assume that everyone will want to or be able to carry everything out in the same way. When it comes to scans, the options can be overwhelming, so we’re here to break down the different types of scan for you.
A 2D scan is the standard scan offered to all expectant parents on the NHS. This will produce a black and white image of your baby, and you will receive a printout of this scan to take home for your own reference. These scans help the doctors check that the baby appears to be developing normally along with other tests, such as blood samples taken from the mother, and the doctors should be able to determine the sex of the baby. These images aren’t very detailed, but they provide the peace of mind that all is well with the pregnancy.
A 3D scan is similar to the 2D scan, but the image is drastically more detailed. A powerful ultrasound scanner is used to get a crisp image of the baby, so you can see them in great detail. The images will still be static, but you can see things like facial features and expressions and tiny details on the hands and feet for a much more personal experience which many parents feel helps them bond with the baby.
A 4D scan is an improved version of the 3D scan, but rather than static images you get to see your baby moving in realtime. This means you can see if your baby changes its facial expression, starts kicking or forms a fist with its little fingers. While this isn’t diagnostic, many parents say it gives them the most reassurance that their baby is developing well. Furthermore, you can take away a DVD of the video of your scan to show your friends and family so everyone can get to know baby.
Remember that only 2D scans are available on the NHS, but it may be worth paying for a 3D or 4D scan if you want to make the most of the scan experience and bond with your baby before it’s even born.
Claire Kessel is a parent to four children aged 6 months to 6 years and regularly blogs about her experiences in raising a family