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The Benefits of 3D Ultrasound for Expectant Mothers

For decades, women have marveled over the 2D ultrasounds of their developing fetuses, treasuring the images. But why should women settle for 2D pictures when 3D ultrasound provides clearer, and superior, results?

At Women’s Health Specialists, PLLC in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, our team of experienced providers doesn’t believe you should have to settle, as 3D ultrasound and its benefits are very real to doctors and parents-to-be alike. What’s so good about it? We’re so glad you asked.

More about ultrasound

Ultrasound scanning, also called sonography because it employs high-frequency sound waves, is an important clinical tool that provides doctors with images of internal fetal anatomy and other developing organ systems, and parents with the first images of their unborn child.

The technician uses a transducer (probe) that emits ultrasound waves. They place the probe against the mother’s skin with a thin layer of conductive gel to ensure the waves pass smoothly through. The emitted waves are reflected back to the monitor, different structures reflecting the waves differently from others. Computer software collates the information into a visible image based on the strength of the reflected waves and the time they take to return.

Ultrasound imaging proves superior to other imaging techniques with:

Because it’s not harmful to the mother or fetus, the mother (and partner) can watch the images develop in real time.

Traditional ultrasound is strictly two-dimensional (2D), meaning it sends and receives ultrasound waves in just one plane. The reflected waves provide a flat, black-and-white image of the fetus through that plane. Moving the transducer, though, allows you to move to different planes.

The benefits of 3D ultrasound

3D ultrasound imaging uses virtual planes to achieve better visualization of fetal heart structures; it allows views that wouldn’t be attainable by 2D imaging and may increase defect recognition by 6%.

Additional advantages include the ability to diagnose fetal face defects like cleft lip, as well as fetal skeletal or neural tube defects, which 2D imaging can’t see. Taken together, the 3D ultrasounds, especially with a scan during weeks 18-20 of development, may help better identify structural congenital anomalies of the fetus.

3D ultrasound imaging requires less time for one-plane visualization. It’s also less dependent on operator skill and experience for the diagnosis of common anomalies. The recorded data may be made available for an expert to review remotely to better aid diagnosis of any suspected issues.

High-speed computer software uses the images obtained by 3D ultrasound to produce a 3D image. The images can be displayed using a computerized process that results in a smooth 3D image.

If you’re expecting, congratulations! And to ensure the best prenatal experience, choose 3D ultrasounds for their diagnostic capabilities and clear images. To get started, call Women’s Health Specialists, PLLC at 615-907-2040, or book your appointment online with us today.