Getting an ultrasound is such an exciting part of being pregnant. There is nothing like seeing your baby on the screen for the very first time. 3D/4D scans help to make this experience even sweeter. Owning a 3D/4D ultrasound studio I often get asked the famous question, "When is the best time frame to get a 3D/4D ultrasound done?" Seeing your baby in 3D/4D anytime during pregnancy can be incredibly moving but the best time really depends on what you want to see. I'll give you a breakdown below of exactly what I mean and then I will tell you my personal favorite time!
13-18 weeks: A 3D/4D ultrasound at this time frame will allow you to see the entire baby from head to toe on the screen at once. Typically, at this stage of the pregnancy the baby is usually very active at this stage. You will be able to see the baby kick, stretch, wave, etc. At this time you will be able to see that the baby has all facial features formed however they will not be in elaborate detail at this time. For example, you will not be able to say if the baby has dad's nose or mom's lips just yet.
19-26 weeks: As the weeks progress the baby facial features have been filling out and there is great detail. The only issue with this stage is many of times the babies still may be breech, which is not ideal for 3D/4D ultrasounds. Typically, the babies are breech they are folded in half with hands and feet covering their faces. Yup, they are pretty flexible in there! However, this isn't always the case. I only recommend coming in during this stage of pregnancy if you are pregnant with twins, maybe have family from out of town visiting or you are concerned you won't make It full term.
27-40 weeks: By this time your sweet little bundle has been really filling out nicely. This time frame is great for those up close facial shots that have such amazing detail. Also, he or she is more than likely head down which makes visualizing much easier. It is important to keep in mind that as you approach 40 weeks (37 weeks and later) It may be a little more challenging to achieve facial images due to the baby growing too large and over crowding the uterus. This isn't always the case however, and many times we have had moms close to 40 weeks and have achieved beautiful detailed images. Its just a bit more riskier after 37 weeks.
Personal Favorite Time
So, after the run down of each time frame I will tell you my personal favorite from a professional stand point and as a mom. My personal favorite is weeks 27-32. I feel at this time the face is full of amazing detail. The baby is not too small, nor too large to the point that we loose those windows into the womb to visualize the baby. During this time we may even see your little one open his or her eyes for the first time. I also like this stage because we always offer a free rescan if your little one decides to play shy on the day of your ultrasound appointment. With this time gap we have plenty of time to invite you back in for a rescan.
Regardless, of whichever time frame you choose its very important to stay extra hydrated leading up to your ultrasound. Sound waves travel best through fluid. Staying hydrated will ensure you have enough amniotic fluid in the sac to see your baby in elaborate detail!