Pregnancy is one of the most exciting times in a woman’s life. Expectant parents are always eager to see their developing baby through ultrasound images. Ultrasound technology has come a long way in recent years, and elective ultrasounds are becoming increasingly popular. Elective ultrasound is a non-medical ultrasound that expectant parents opt to undergo for entertainment purposes. In this blog post, we will discuss everything you need to know about elective ultrasounds, how to prepare for them, and what they entail.
What Is an Elective Ultrasound?
An elective ultrasound is a non-diagnostic ultrasound that expectant parents can choose to have performed on their developing baby. Elective ultrasounds are also called “entertainment” or “keepsake” ultrasounds because they provide parents with keepsake images or videos of their unborn baby. Elective ultrasounds are different from diagnostic medical ultrasounds, which are performed by healthcare professionals to check for fetal development and detect any abnormalities.
Elective ultrasounds are usually done after 14 weeks of pregnancy, although some facilities may offer them as early as 8 weeks. The most coveted type of elective ultrasound is the 3D or 4D ultrasound. These types of ultrasounds use advanced technology that allows the sonographer to capture three-dimensional images of the baby in real-time.
How to Prepare for an Elective Ultrasound?
As with any medical procedure, there are preparations that expectant parents need to make before undergoing an elective ultrasound. The first step is to find a reputable facility that specializes in elective ultrasounds. Look for facilities that have qualified sonographers with ultrasound training and experience in performing 4D ultrasounds. You can ask your obstetrician or midwife for recommendations.
Once you’ve found a reputable facility, you will need to schedule your ultrasound appointment. Make sure to choose a time when you are most comfortable and relaxed. It’s also important to drink plenty of water in the days leading up to the ultrasound appointment. Staying hydrated ensures that there is enough amniotic fluid around the baby, making it easier for the sonographer to capture clear images.
On the day of the ultrasound, dress comfortably and wear loose-fitting clothing. Avoid clothing with metallic elements, such as zippers or buttons, as they can interfere with the ultrasound images. Bring along a loved one or two for support and also to share in the excitement of seeing your baby.
What Happens During an Elective Ultrasound?
The ultrasound technician will ask you to lie down on a table and expose your belly. A water-based gel will be applied to your belly, which helps conduct sound waves between the transducer and your skin. As the technician moves the transducer over your belly, he or she will capture real-time images of your baby on a monitor.
During a 3D or 4D elective ultrasound, you will see detailed images of your baby’s features, such as his or her cheeks, nose, mouth, fingers, toes, and even hair. You may also get to see your baby moving in real-time as he or she sucks their thumb or blinks. The entire elective ultrasound usually takes about 30 minutes to an hour.
Are There Any Risks Associated with Elective Ultrasounds?
Elective ultrasounds are generally considered safe for both mother and baby when performed by qualified sonographers with proper ultrasound training. However, there are some potential risks associated with elective ultrasounds. One risk is that parents may become overly reliant on ultrasounds for reassurance about their pregnancy’s progress. It’s important to remember that diagnostic medical ultrasounds performed by healthcare professionals are necessary for monitoring fetal development and detecting any abnormalities.
Another risk is that some facilities may use unapproved or outdated ultrasound equipment or perform the ultrasound for longer than necessary, both of which can increase the risk of harm to mother and baby.
How Much Do Elective Ultrasounds Cost?
The cost of elective ultrasounds varies depending on the facility and region. On average, a 2D elective ultrasound can cost between $50 to $200, while a 3D or 4D ultrasound can cost between $150 to $500. Insurance usually does not cover elective ultrasounds because they are non-diagnostic and fall outside the realm of medical necessity.
Elective ultrasounds are an exciting way for expectant parents to bond with their developing baby and capture cherished keepsake images or videos. However, it’s important to remember that diagnostic medical ultrasounds performed by healthcare professionals are vital for monitoring the pregnancy’s progress and detecting any abnormalities. When it comes to elective ultrasounds, make sure to find a reputable facility with qualified sonographers with ultrasound training and experience in performing 4D ultrasounds. Above all, enjoy the experience and savor the special moments with your unborn baby.