Isn’t technology brilliant? Forever evolving and improving as time goes on.
Once upon a time, the first glimpse new parents got of their new baby, wasn’t until they were born.
With the advent of scans, this changed – and now all new parents-to-be are offered at least two 2D scans, as standard, as part of their maternity care.
As technology has progressed, 3D and 4D scans (and even 5d!) have been introduced by private companies. These give an even better view of your baby, while he or she is still in the womb.
But are 4D scans worth it?
Let’s answer a few questions to find out!
WHAT ACTUALLY ARE 4D PREGNANCY SCANS AND HOW DO DIFFER FROM THE EARLIER 3D, OR THE CONVENTIONAL 2D SCANS?
A 4D scan is a scan purely focused on getting you a good video of your baby, in real time. You’ll be able to see him or her yawning, stretching, moving and smiling in real time.
This is opposed to a 3D scan, which is a collection of many images put together to provide a 3D view of your baby.
Or a 2D scan offered by your healthcare provider, which is simply black and white images of your baby able to assess their growth, your due date and to pick up any health issues.
WHY AREN’T 4D PREGNANCY SCANS OFFERED BY THE NHS?
4D scans aren’t necessary to assess the health of your unborn baby. In fact, the conventional 2D scans are far more efficient at assessing your baby’s pre-natal health and picking up any issues. They are also carried out by medically trained professionals.
When paying for a 4D scan, most practitioners will not have the same rigorous training that certified sonographers are required to undertake before qualifying.
ARE 4D PREGNANCY SCANS SAFE?
While there isn’t anything to suggest that 4D scans are directly responsible for any issues, no scan is 100% without risk.
There is a worry from professionals that commercial ultrasound staff may not be as careful about ensuring low powered settings on ultrasound machines and ensuring exposure is kept to a bare minimum.
WHAT DO THEY COST?
4D scans range between £79.00 and £249.00 depending on your area and the package you opt for.
There are additional costs for add-ons such as gender reveal cannons, confetti balloons etc.
SO… ARE 4D PREGNANCY SCANS WORTH IT?
Having a baby is a very expensive time!
There is so much to buy!
From prams, and car seats: to nursery equipment and decor.
Clothes, nappies, bottles…. the list is endless. Some may think a 4D scan is absolutely worth adding to that list, others, not so much.
There seems to be a very mixed response from parents on baby forums.
SOME OF THE PROS INCLUDE:
“Really helped me bond with my unborn baby.”
“Helped reassure my firstborn and allowed them to prepare for their new sister.”
“Was just a lovely experience that made me feel closer to my baby”
SOME OF THE CONS INCLUDE:
“While it was a fantastic experience at the time, the video and images taken have never been looked at again, since my baby actually arrived”
“It was very expensive for what I got, and I regretted it afterwards, when there were other items that would have been a better use of my money.”
“It looked like there was something wrong with my baby, but the staff weren’t medically trained to be able to reassure me”
SHOULD I BOOK A 4D PREGNANCY SCAN?
Ultimately, the only person who can decide this is YOU!
There aren’t many surprises in life, so waiting to meet your unborn baby properly for the first time when they are born is something very special. You cannot rewind your 4D pregnancy scan so be sure before you book!
Make sure you can afford it and that you aren’t compromising on your other items on your ‘baby list’ in order to have one. (Like a newborn session!).
Remember, your baby will have changed yet again by the time you meet them properly so the 4D scan is perhaps not a truly accurate representation of how your baby will look.
Consider how useful the images or video will be in the future – aside from showing your baby when they are older – will they really be of a huge benefit to you?
Would you be better placed using a professional photographer (like me!) to capture beautiful images of your baby once they are actually here? Or making sure your pram is perfect? Or your nursery has everything you need?
Maybe you can afford all the above, and more!
With anything you purchase for your new arrival – do your research, check your budget and decide from there!
Fiona McKean Photography – based in Dumfries – specialises in newborn, baby, and maternity photography.