What important information should I know when choosing a facility providing your elective 3D/4D ultrasound services?
You should first know about the capabilities of the ultrasound machine your facility is currently using. Special Delivery Prenatal Imaging uses the General Electric Voluson 730 Expert, currently the state-of-the-art 2D, 3D, and 4D ultrasound imaging machine. This machine uses the latest technology providing the best possible image quality and with the best image rendering capabilities.
Your sonographer is also a very important aspect of your session. What good is a state of the art ultrasound machine if you don’t have a state of the art technician operating it? To properly operate an ultrasound machine takes extensive knowledge, skill, and experience. It is important to confirm that each technician on staff should have completed an accredited ultrasonagraphy program. If the technician has not completed a program, he/she may not have enough skills required to operate the ultrasound machine safely and effectively. Special Delivery Prenatal Imaging has only registered / registry eligible sonographers performing all scans. read more
What is Ultrasound?
A device called a transducer transmits high-frequency sound waves through the body tissue targeting a specific area within the body (the baby as our target). The sound wave bounces off a medium and returns echoes back to the ultrasound machine that are recorded, stored, and transformed into data that can be visualized in black and white 2D images on a television screen and then printed out in hard copy form (video or photograph).
Now available in ultrasound is a color, three-dimensional view of the fetus. The clarity of these images can be compared to an actual photograph showing true facial features, expressions, actions, and even some habits that the baby has already picked up. A moving picture interpretation of the three-dimensional view is referred to as a 4-D ultrasound.
Compare 2D vs. 3D ultrasound photos of the same baby taken during one ultrasound session.
Is Ultrasound safe?
According to the March of Dimes and the FDA, “the greatest danger to a pregnant woman and her unborn child is not actually the machine, but an unskilled operator who may make an incorrect diagnosis”. The knowledge and skills one achieves upon attending an accredited ultrasound program is necessary to assure that all preventative measures are taken to carry out an ultrasound examination with minimal exposure. Special Delivery Prenatal Imaging has trained sonographers who fallow FDA guidelines and principals for length of scan and frequency of ultrasound waves to be as low as reasonably achieved. We encourage you to discuss any questions or concerns you have with your doctor prior to your appointment, as we want you to feel completely comfortable with your choice to have this elective ultrasound performed. For more information on the safety of ultrasound, please refer to the websites below.
Can you tell me the gender of my baby?
Yes! All of our ultrasonographers are trained to determine the gender of a baby and are usually correct, however, there is absolutely NEVER a 100% guarantee that the prediction is correct until the baby has been born (not even at a doctor’s office). If you are coming to confirm the gender of the baby with our 2D package, 18-22 weeks is optimal, but we can tell as early as 16 weeks. If we are unable to distinguish a sex of the baby, we will offer you a rescheduled appointment free of charge within 2 weeks of your original appointment.
What factors determine the image quality?
There are several factors beyond our control that contribute to the overall image quality produced. The position of the baby, the placenta, the umbilical cord, and the fetal limbs can all interfere with the ultrasound photos. The amount of amniotic fluid is a very important factor and necessity for image clarity. Other factors such as thick maternal tissue, fetal activity, and your babies’ gestational age all play a role in the overall image quality. Keep in mind that your pictures are not going to look just like someone else’s that you may have seen because everyone scans differently, but there are some things you can do to prepare yourself for the best possible outcomes (please refer to the question below). We make no promises that the images we obtain will always meet everyone’s expectations, however, in this case, a complimentary rescan will be scheduled (within 2 weeks of your original appointment), and we do promise to make every effort with in our control to obtain the best possible images.
What can I do to improve the quality of my ultrasound?
- Drink LOTS of water 5-7 days before your scheduled appointment. Hydration can significantly improve the amount of amniotic fluid. Amniotic fluid is used as a window to allow us to see the baby. More fluid gives us more windows. More windows allow us to see more of your baby. Although your fluid may be adequate, more fluid can only improve your image clarity, whereas minimal fluid can drastically decrease the clarity of your images and sometimes prevent us from seeing anything.
- One of the hardest things we women have had to accept is the fact that we can not all have the ideal Barbie doll figure. Everyone has a different body type, and although the ultrasound machine can be adjusted, the different body types scan a little bit better at different times of their pregnancy. If you fall into any of these categories, you should consider scheduling your 4D ultrasound session at the suggested times for most desirable images like those found in our photo gallery.
- Heavy /full-figured mothers: between 31 and 35 weeks of pregnancy
- Small framed/petite mothers: between 26 and 28 weeks of pregnancy
- Average framed mothers: Please refer to the best time calendar
- Mothers expecting twins: prior to 27 weeks for 3D/4D sessions
- Most mothers-to –be find that eating a snack or drinking a glass of juice an hour prior to your exam can improve the fetal movement and allow more opportunity for better pictures.
- You should always wear very comfortable loose fitting clothing to your ultrasound. If the baby is head down, they can sometimes lie very low, and that area needs to be assessable for the transducer. Belts, buttons, zippers, and snug pants should all be avoided. The best way to dress is in maternity pants with a loose belly band that can easily stay below your pelvic bones, and a shirt that can be easily adjusted.
- Having a full bladder is not necessary for the 4D sessions; however, a full bladder can improve the clarity and accuracy for an early gender determination. A full bladder tends to lift the uterus up to displace the bowel away, and acts as an echo-lucent window for the ultrasound waves to pass through. Ultrasound does not penetrate through air (bowels) as well as fluid (full bladder); so this tactic can sometimes help us to overcome this obstacle, thus allowing us to see things so much more clearly.
What will I see my baby doing during my 3D/4D ultrasound session?
This depends largely on the gestational age of your little one. Prior to 26 weeks, babies still have a lot of room to move around which makes for a very fun video, however their appearance is much more skeletal at this time. Many mothers-to-be like to schedule ultrasounds from 18 weeks up to 26 weeks to determine gender of their baby if they were unable to find out at their diagnostic exam.
They then return between 26 and 34 weeks gestation, the most optimal time for having your 3D/4D ultrasound scan. It is possible to get 3D/4D images at any time, but within this time frame, the baby has well developed facial features, yet still has enough amniotic fluid for us to get great images. Keep in mind that this is the developmental stage of your pregnancy and your baby is filling out more and more each day. If you are a mother-to-be with twins on the way, you should be scanned prior to 27 weeks for 3D/4D sessions.
The farther along the baby (between 32-34 weeks), the more detailed images will be achieved. At this time, the baby is bigger and not so active, but has developed enough to catch a glimpse of the true facial features (dimples, fullness of lips and hair, shape of nose, and chin), expressions (smiles, pouts, yawns), actions (hiccups, open/ close eyes), and even some habits they have already picked up (sucking their thumbs, playing with hands and feet).The ones who come earlier (between 28-31 weeks) will get to see more of the babies’ body and face, but with less detail. The probability of achieving best quality images is much greater at this time.
Beyond 34 weeks is a toss up. The majority of the time we can get images beyond 34 weeks and sometimes they are even better with more detail then earlier scans, but the image quality depends largely on the amount of amniotic fluid around the babies face. The risk of unsatisfactory image quality is greater as the baby grows, and there is less we can do to work around these obstacles.
When will I receive the photos and video?
All your keepsake items will be ready for you to take with you! The DVD is a video and audio recording of the entire ultrasound session. We film the entire session so you don’t miss anything.
Will you tell me how much my baby weighs?
NO! THIS ULTRASOUND SESSION IS COMPLETELY NON-DIAGNOSTIC AND FOR KEEPSAKE SERVICES ONLY. PLEASE REFER TO THE DISCLAIMER AT THE TOP OF THE PAGE FOR OUR POLICY REGUARDING PRENATAL CARE.
Do I need an appointment?
YES. We schedule by appointment only. Please call our office at 843-839-8106 to schedule now. We recommend scheduling well in advance. Please refer to our office hours.
Can I have my family and friends with me?
YES, OF COURSE! Please take full advantage of this chance to bond as a family or with who so ever you please. This moment of a lifetime does not come everyday and we happily welcome everyone.
Do you accept health insurance?
No. We are a non-diagnostic and elective service; therefore health insurance does not cover it.
What form of payment do you accept?
Cash, Visa, Mastercard, and Debit
Are there any special considerations I need to know about if I am expecting twins?
Yes. There will be a charge of $50.00 for each additional baby per package – you will receive separate photos of each baby, with one CD and one video. Please let us know when scheduling your ultrasound if you are expecting multiples so we can allow the appropriate time required. Twins should be scanned prior to 27 weeks for 3D/4D. DON’T FORGET TO HYDRATE!!!!