Parents have fallen in love with 3D ultrasounds, largely because they reveal much about their unborn child's appearance. Older ultrasounds were not nearly as clear and the baby's features were rarely discernable. Some modern ultrasounds are nearing the look of a portrait, with the baby's features being easy to determine. As enjoyable as that experience is for parents, the real advantage of a 3D ultrasound is in the medical realm.
More advanced 3D technology allows doctors to get a better look at the fetal heart. The procedure takes less time and allows them to better diagnose fetal heart anomalies than 2D technology did. As a result, the proper medical procedures can be completed as soon as the baby is born, or in some cases, in utero, raising survival rates. If your baby's heart is not developing properly, the ultrasound should reveal that issue.
Skeletal and Facial Issues
Other medical issues that are easier to diagnose in utero include facial abnormalities, such as a cleft palate. Also, skeletal malformations are much easier to visualize. Although a skilled ultrasound technician is still needed, the accuracy of the 3D ultrasound is less dependent on operator knowledge than 2D ultrasound is. The 3D scan is particularly helpful in spotting these medical issues at the 18 - 20-week mark.
After the baby is born, the benefit of the 3D ultrasound continues for women. They are particularly helpful in finding abnormalities in the uterus and ovaries, and can spot cysts and tumors, giving physicians an early read on size, and in some instances, type. 3D ultrasound technology is now being used to help diagnose cases of breast cancer as well, allowing doctors to have the advantage of "pinpointing" tumors and knowing their size. It is another tool that can minimize the number of operations patients may need for their condition. Oncologists are particularly excited about incorporating their use into their regular practices.
For women, the use of 3D ultrasound can help them have healthier pregnancies and more positive outcomes. These procedures can better identify fetal abnormalities and shape the care the baby will receive right after being born. This technology also offers women better gynecological care when they are not pregnant. 3D ultrasounds simply allow physicians to "see" things better and diagnose conditions earlier. Of course, the 3D ultrasound also has a lighter side: parents love seeing the face of their unborn child well before they are born.