Is it worth getting a 4D scan

There aren’t many ‘firsts’ to experience after you’ve had one successful pregnancy, so to ensure that we had a special experience with baby number two, my partner booked a 4D scan as my birthday present as we never did this with #rlt. I’ve always thought 3D scans a little bit freaky, but I had a look at Window to the wombs social media channels and the 4D scans which were then compared to the baby when they were born were brilliant! You really did get a feel for what the baby looked like! I’ve been quite open in that this pregnancy is very different to my last one, so I was really excited to see our baby in 4D!

Mark had booked it online and the scan was quite local, but it seemed sooooo far away from when he originally told me about it (I needed something to look forward to in the short term at that point), the company were great and let us move it forward. We didn’t quite know what to expect, so went with no expectations at all.

The customer service was absolutely fabulous, everyone asked a lot of questions about the baby and for the first time in a long time, I felt that people were interested and that made me happy and excited. I feel that this time everyone feels that we’ve done it once, so aren’t interested as much. Only my sister-in-law who has two of her own gets it and gets excited as me and asks to feel the kicks. So I loved talking about our baby and the pregnancy to the staff.

The sonographer and the lady with her kept this rapport up and again were absolutely fabulous. I didn’t realise I had to take my maternity notes, so was a bit panicked about that, the joys of you not getting the confirmation when someone else books the test for you! So I felt very unprepared and unsure what the process was other than let them scan my belly. I also didn’t know that the package was (it was called Born to be a Star, that much I now know).

The process was like the usual NHS scan except there were TV screens on the wall in front and to the sides, from the usual view the sonographer would press something and the image would then change to a 4D one of the baby.

Typically our little one was sucking their thumb throughout the entire scan! Something that we found RLT was doing when he was born, so that was really interesting! The images on the screen – I’ll be honest, some of them were terrifying, at angles he looked like a Gremlin – but you’ve got to remember that it is a real-time 3D image which is formed from soundwaves not an actual photo of your baby!

It was really, really interesting to see and he really does resemble his big brother! I did need the visualisation because I have been so scared throughout this pregnancy that something is going to go wrong, even more so than last one, so it was brilliant to see him, to see his little face and check his heartbeat was OK.

There were various packages available and the one Mark opted for was £109, born to be a star package, included in this were stated as:

  • Well-being scan & report
  • 99%+ accurate gender confirmation
  • full 4D scan
  • Full movie recording of your 4D scan
  • 4 medium full colour photo prints
  • All digital images

So after the scan, which lasted about 11 minutes, we were asked to go and select four images – which as I didn’t know anything about the package, I assumed were the only ones we were able to take away. But basically, they printed out four on a printer for us and put them in an envelope. We were then given a code which again was put in the envelope to download the video and other images. I was a bit confused by this as all of the literature pointed to IOS device app compatibility, nothing about android and the corresponding ‘bumpies’ app on the play store had an odd summary, which did not mention getting your scan images on there. But anyway, it worked and all of the images that she showed us on the screen were available to download to my phone. Such as this one of baby enjoying his thumb and blocking his face so we couldn’t see him!

It took a while to work out the video – Mark assumed we would get a DVD that we could show RLT as we decided against taking him – he’d only try and press all of the buttons on the ultrasound machine! But the video was basically what appeared on the screen for the 11 minutes and was a little hard to find on the download section, only when it appeared in my google drive did it become apparent. There was also music over the top of it. It is great to keep.

We didn’t get any kind of printed report and a report is in the package – so I am unsure if that is a verbal one as she did check the heartbeat and we did hear it (at this point they ask you if you want to purchase a heartbeat bear). So I think that should be more explicit.

VERDICT: I am glad I have had the experience, however if I was paying for it myself, I am not sure if I would have been happy with the cost, as it does seem exceptionally expensive – it is pretty much £10 per minute of scanning and the outcomes are basically to your phone, which I think takes the magic away! I think a dvd would have been a nice touch to keep in a memory box – or even a USB stick. Because I didn’t want anything for my birthday and because of how I have been feeling, it was perfect for me and has given me a massive lift. However if it was something someone was having to seriously save for, I probably wouldn’t recommend it, it is a nice to have, but not essential. However the clinics are incredibly busy, appointments are incredibly hard to come by, so there is definitely a market out there!