Most expectant mothers are undoubtedly familiar with standard 2D ultrasounds performed at the OB-GYN clinic. You may even be familiar with 4D ultrasounds, which mimic moving visuals, and 3D ultrasounds, which provide vivid, high-quality images. However, are you familiar with 5D ultrasound technology?

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The “gold standard” of prenatal imaging, according to certain commercial merchants and clinics, is a 5D ultrasound, commonly referred to as an HD ultrasound. They assert that in order to provide even better photographs of your baby, 5D ultrasounds rely on software. Additionally, they are intended to improve skin tone, face characteristics, and depth perception through lighting.

Sounds fantastic, doesn’t it? Not so quickly. As we’ve repeatedly discovered, sometimes less is more, and 5D ultrasounds could be no different.

Greater Trick Than the Gold Standard

According to Dr. Welsey Lee, co-director of the Texas Children’s Fetal Center at the Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women, section chief of women’s and fetal imaging, and director of fetal imaging research at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, 5D ultrasounds may sound like the newest and greatest technology, but they essentially function the same as 3D and 4D ultrasounds.

According to Dr. Lee, several businesses—primarily GE and Samsung—have brought 5D ultrasounds to market for use in a variety of specializations, including the heart, limbs, and central nervous system. “It’s their line of 3D and 4D ultrasound with some software-developed enhancements,” he explains. “It’s more of a trademark or gimmick.”

You may find a lot of commercial firms that sell “keepsake” 5D ultrasounds as souvenirs of your pregnancy if you do a fast Google search for the word. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not advise commercial or boutique ultrasound experiences since they have not been shown to be safe, even though 5D ultrasounds are safe in a medical environment. Furthermore, many businesses fail to disclose that 5D ultrasounds are essentially the same as the 3D or 4D ones you may have at the clinic.

How Do 2D, 3D, 4D, and 5D Ultrasounds Differ from One Another?

Based on the conventional 2D paradigm, 3D and 4D ultrasounds are comparable to 5D ultrasounds. This is how they vary from one another.

Two-dimensional ultrasounds

The standard flat, black-and-white fetal pictures from the doctor’s office are called 2D ultrasounds. It creates pictures of your kid on a monitor using high-frequency sound waves and specialized imaging software. A 2D ultrasound is used to view the limbs, organs, and skeleton in order to help the doctor monitor fetal growth and identify any possible issues.

3D Sonography

By concentrating on the skin and anatomy, 3D ultrasounds employ sound waves to provide a crisper, more realistic image of your baby. Pregnant women particularly prefer 3D because it provides a clearer depiction of their face, body, and curves than a 2D ultrasound photo’s skeleton image. As per Michele Hakakha, M.D., an OB-GYN in Beverly Hills and the author of Expecting 411, doctors can discover any birth defects and anomalies by using 3D ultrasounds to provide a clearer look of the baby’s anatomy.

4D Sonography

Similar to 3D ultrasounds, 4D ultrasounds concentrate on external development, such as skin and facial characteristics, and they could even be able to identify fingers and toes. However, 4D is a moving image that can provide some diagnostic information to providers, whereas 3D is a static image.

According to Dr. Lee, “two-D ultrasounds are fine for diagnostic assessment.” However, for a closer look, “the doctor might use 3D or 4D imaging tools when 2D ultrasounds look suspicious.”

5D and HD Ultrasounds

Numerous businesses and clinics assert that 5D ultrasounds provide the highest quality. It’s a software program with a virtual lighting source that improves face characteristics and depth perception. But, as Dr. Lee points out, it’s essentially the same as 3D ultrasounds.

How Safe Are 5D Ultrasounds?

Although they were created in 1956, fetal ultrasonography was not commonly applied until the 1970s. As an effective diagnostic tool, they have become a cornerstone of prenatal care, and they are safe to use as long as a qualified medical expert utilizes them.

The FDA does point out that ultrasound may cause biological changes in a developing baby, such as heating tissue and the formation of gas pockets known as cavitation. Parents are highly advised to utilize ultrasound equipment only when accompanied by a qualified medical practitioner and with extreme caution. Although long-term non-medical exposure has not been shown to be safe, some experts are worried that your child may be impacted in some way by the energy from ultrasonic waves.

To fully comprehend the possible harm of recurrent ultrasound exposure, more research is required.

The Final Word

Get all types of ultrasounds (3D, 4D, and 5D) from medical centers only, and only from qualified personnel. Dr. Hakakha advises avoiding commercial vendors that provide ultrasound images as “keepsakes” of your pregnancy. The FDA concurs and has cautioned consumers against using these commercial goods in a safety advisory.