Exploring the 3D Ultrasound Trend

3D ultrasound has been steadily gaining popularity in recent years, to such an extent that boutique clinics are popping up to offer these tests in the convenience of your local mall or shopping center. If you've seen a storefront offering a "Meet Your Baby" ultrasound, that means a 3D or maybe even 4D ultrasound. These tests use the same basic technology as a traditional ultrasound, but with advancements that allow you to see your baby in much greater detail. 
What makes it 3D?
Like a regular ultrasound, a 3D ultrasound uses sound waves to create a moving image of your baby inside the womb. A traditional (2D) ultrasound sends and receives ultrasound waves in just one plane, like drawing on a piece of paper. 3D ultrasound shifts the angle of some of these waves to create an image with volume, like creating a sculpture out of clay. 
Instead of the familiar old grainy black-and-white images produced by a traditional ultrasound, 3D ultrasound provides a higher level of detail. Depending on when in your pregnancy you get the test, you may be able to recognize whether your baby has your nose or your partner's. Some experts believe than parents, especially the father, experience stronger bonding with their unborn child after seeing a realistic visualization of their face and form. 
Is it safe?
The test has clear medical benefits, especially in high-risk pregnancies, but is not necessary for every pregnancy and is not part of standard prenatal care. This means that 3D ultrasound is not available in all medical facilities and may not be covered by all insurance. 
Currently, the main warning regarding 3D ultrasound is to avoid non-medical centers who employ inadequately trained operators. Even though it may be tempting to pop into one of the mall locations mentioned earlier and walk away with a keepsake ultrasound, don't expose yourself or your baby to unnecessary risk by undergoing a medical test administered by someone who is not highly trained. 
If you are interested in a 3D ultrasound but your doctor's office doesn't offer it, you should still have that conversation with your doctor. They can help you understand the pros and cons and may be able to recommend and center where you can get the test done. 
What do I do with the images?
Many women receive a DVD or flash drive from the ultrasound provider following their 3D ultrasound. With the help of an app like BabyFlix, you can preserve the precious imagery from your ultrasound DVD in secure cloud-based storage. BabyFlix allows you to share the images with family and friends, either by inviting them to view the online gallery or by sharing directly to social media with one click. Use the BabyFlix app to store all of your pregnancy images in one place and view them from your phone without taking up precious phone storage!