3D Ultrasound vs 4D Ultrasound: How Are They Different, and Which Should You Get?

Medically reviewed by Ann Guevarra MD, OB-GYN Diplomate, POGS · Obstetrics and Gynecology


Written by Jan Alwyn Batara · Updated Aug 10, 2022

    3D Ultrasound vs 4D Ultrasound: How Are They Different, and Which Should You Get?

    Nowadays, there are a lot more things that pregnant moms need to consider during their pregnancy. Pregnancy vitamins, monthly checkups, screenings, vaccinations, and even how you want to give birth are some of the things you’ll need to take note of. But another thing you’ll need to choose is getting a 3D ultrasound vs 4D.

    What exactly are these types of ultrasounds, and what makes them different from one another? Read on to learn more.

    Why should you get an ultrasound?

    First off, we need to talk about what an ultrasound is, and why it is an important procedure for pregnant women.

    An ultrasound, also known as a sonogram, is a procedure wherein a device that produces soundwaves is used to create an image1. This is very useful since it allows doctors to take a look inside the body without any invasive procedures.

    In the context of pregnancy, this is known as a fetal ultrasound. This process is perfectly safe, and does not cause any harm to the baby nor the mother.

    Fetal ultrasounds can either be transvaginal or transabdominal. A transvaginal ultrasound uses a device known as a transducer, which is then inserted into the vagina. The transducer sends out the sound waves which are then converted into a visible image. In a transabdominal ultrasound, the transducer is placed over the abdomen.

    Fetal ultrasounds allow doctors to closely monitor the development of the baby. Through this procedure they can identify if there will by any issues, and in some cases even the sex of the baby. While it’s possible to have a healthy pregnancy without undergoing an ultrasound, it does help ensure mothers have a healthier and safer pregnancy.

    But what about a 3D vs 4D ultrasound? Are these any different from a regular ultrasound? How are they different from one another?

    3D Ultrasound vs 4D: What is the difference?

    The main difference of a 3D ultrasound and a standard fetal ultrasound is that it provides a 3-dimensional view of the baby.

    Regular ultrasound images aren’t very clear, and doctors are trained to look at these images and explain what’s being shown in the image. 3D ultrasounds, while not exactly “high definition” do provide a clearer view, since it’s all in 3D.

    It does this by piecing together different angles of 2D ultrasound images to form a 3-dimensional view.

    Having a 3D ultrasound is more expensive compared to the regular ultrasound, since they require more advanced equipment.

    What makes a 4D ultrasound different?

    A 4D ultrasound, on the other hand, is simply a 3D ultrasound but with movement added. This means that instead of a static image, parents can see their baby’s movements inside the womb.

    These are also more expensive, though some parents prefer them since it allows them to see their baby “in action” so to speak.

    3D ultrasound vs 4D: Which one is better?

    Now, should you opt for a standard ultrasound, or perhaps a 3D ultrasound vs 4D ultrasound? The answer really depends on you.

    For the most part, a standard ultrasound would be enough to provide doctors with a good idea of how healthy the baby is. However, doctors can also use a 3D or a 4D ultrasound to have a much clearer view of the internal structures of the baby’s body. This can allow them to better identify any possible birth defects or problems that the baby might have.

    Though, if you are healthy and the doctor doesn’t see any problems with your baby, then a standard ultrasound would suffice. Doctors are usually the ones to recommend getting a 3D or a 4D ultrasound if they think that it would allow for a better diagnosis.

    The best thing to do would be to talk to your doctor about it. They would best be able to give you advice on what type of ultrasound suits you best.

    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

    Medically reviewed by

    Ann Guevarra MD, OB-GYN Diplomate, POGS

    Obstetrics and Gynecology


    Written by Jan Alwyn Batara · Updated Aug 10, 2022

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