3D and 4D ultrasound are very different than the ultrasound images your parents might have seen back in the day when they were expecting you; the level of detail you may see on a 3D or 4D ultrasounds is quite extraordinary. The popularity of these ultrasounds is on the rise, and in Los Angeles and even in North Hollywood, new imaging centers are popping up every month. Here's how to get the best value for your money and ensure you have the best possible experience with your ultrasound session.
Ask about the training of the staff member who will be performing your ultrasound. Although 3D and 4D ultrasounds are completely safe, they should always be done by a trained professional. If the facility you plan to visit doesn't have a well-trained staff member who will perform your scan, look for another facility.
Ask about the equipment your ultrasound facility uses. Some of the best machines are made by General Electric (GE.) Their Voluson 730 Expert model was the first true 3D 4D ultrasound system and was revolutionary in the details it showed to the client; newer models like the GE Voluson E6, Voluson E8, Voluson S6 and Voluson S8 have all improved on the original Voluson 730. You can expect clear images with fine detail if the facility you choose uses any one of these machines. If the facility uses a different machine, do an internet search for that machine and look at any pictures you find. Is the quality clear? Can you see fine detail? If not, you might want to try calling different facilities until you find one with an up to date GE machine. You'll also want to think about when you book your ultrasound appointment. You'll see different things depending on the developmental level of your baby.
Most advanced 3d/4d ultrasound machines can detect gender close to 13 weeks, while facial features become clearer at around 25 weeks, with more fat added to the face and body from there until your baby is born. Most people wait until the third trimester to get the clearest look at their baby's face. Some facilities have a policy stating that they'll do a second appointment for free if your baby is not in a position where they can get a clear picture of his or her face; it pays to ask about such policies before choosing a 4d ultrasound facility, since your baby may well decide to hide his face on the day of your appointment. Once you've done your research, settled on a facility and made an appointment, it's time to relax - and get ready to meet your baby!