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Many expectant mothers find ultrasounds to be very exciting. They give you a small glimpse at your unborn baby, and might just tell you a bit more about your baby. These days, 3D ultrasounds that show you three dimensional images of your baby are relatively common. You will probably also have the opportunity to produce 4D images moving images in 3D at some point during your pregnancy if you want to. Such 4D images are usually seen as being "for fun" only. Are there any medical benefits of 4D ultrasound at all?

Ultrasounds are seen as a routine diagnostic tool by most medical professionals that provide care for pregnant women. But 2D ultrasounds are still the norm. In 2D ultrasound, the sounds waves are sent and then reflected straight back, while 3D ultrasound involves sending sound waves at various angles, and the information returned to the machine being processed by a computer. Some say that the risks of 3D ultrasound are unclear, and that anyone going for a 3D or 4D ultrasound should understand that risks may exist. Ultrasound is known to produce heat, and the duration of 4D scans should certainly be limited because of that reason.

Although 4D ultrasounds exist solely for private, non-medical reasons, this does not mean that there are no benefits at all. The ultrasound technician carrying out such scans could possibly notice medical problems during the ultrasound. If there are obvious anomalies, they may just be diagnosed during a "keepsake ultrasound", as these 4D ultrasounds are also known as. You may also find out your baby's gender through ultrasound, which isn't really a medical benefit, but still important to many. Additionally, the location of the placenta, and any placental conditions such as placenta accreta or placenta previa, may become obvious during a 4D ultrasound.

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