Are 3D Scans Worth It? – Everything You Need To Know

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For an expectant mother, it is exhilarating to see the baby’s image while they are still developing in the womb. The most common practice is 2D imaging, which gives vague, unclear pictures of the baby only understood by the sonographer. With the latest technological advancements, the introduction of 3D scans allows a mother to see the baby clearly. But is a 3D scan worth it?

3D scans are worth having if you as a parent are feeling anxious about your babies development, want to see the baby again or just to collect process pictures along the way. They are however not worth it if you’re comfortable with your babies development or if you feel your NHS scans are sufficient.

As more expecting parents opt for 3D scans, it’s important to know what 3D scans are, their benefits and drawbacks, and instances when you may need to undergo the scan. This article explains all that you need to know about 3D scans. 

What Are 3D Scans?

A 3D ultrasound scan is medical imaging that assesses the physical condition of an unborn baby between 12 weeks and 36 weeks. High-frequency sound waves penetrate the womb and, with the help of special imaging software, create high-quality images of the baby. 

A clear 3D image combines many 2D images of different parts of the baby’s body. A sonographer rubs some gel on the mother’s belly and then moves a transducer back and forth until a stable, clear image is achieved. 

The transducer focuses the high-frequency sound waves towards the baby, so the movement across the uterus allows it to capture the best shots of the baby. 

What Are The Benefits of Having A 3D Scan?

Pregnancy is full of uncertainties. However, a scan once in a while can help you carry your pregnancy with peace of mind. Here are the benefits of having a 3D scan. 

Accurate anatomic results

You must have heard from some parents how the doctor told them they were expecting a girl but then gave birth to a boy. This inaccuracy is common with 2D scans because they give flat images that are a little difficult to interpret. 

A 3D scan captures the baby’s features in a picture similar to a real photo so the doctor or sonographer can clearly see the baby’s gender. With a 3D scan, the results you get are always accurate. 

Easy-to-study results

The results from a 3D scan are straightforward, and so the doctor can easily study them and identify any abnormalities with the baby. For example, if the baby has a cleft lip, a clear view of the face on the 3D scan is shown clearly, and so the doctor can identify it. 

This detailed study is not possible on a 2D scan because its image is not as clear. That means the doctor will have to be highly skilled to decipher the information on the image. 

Easy to identify issues with the baby

A developing baby faces the risk of malformations depending on factors like genetics, the mother’s general health, etc. A 3D scan is able to identify any potential defects like craniofacial abnormalities, neural tube defects, and skeletal malformations. 

Some defects can be fixed when detected early enough. Although a 2D scan can identify some defects, they are not as vivid as they are on a 3D scan. 

What Are The Drawbacks of Having A 3D Scan?


A 3D scan digs deep into your pocket with zero consideration of the derailing economy globally. You can do without a 3D scan and hope for a healthy baby unless it’s absolutely necessary or recommended by a doctor. 

Unmet expectations

You may have seen a friend’s sonogram of their baby, and you desire yours like that one. Yours may not appear like that of our friend. In fact, it may be scary and not pleasant to look at. This is because a perfect picture is a product of luck and the sonographer’s skills. 

If your baby’s position is not so good, then your picture may not be good either. Not that anything is wrong with the baby, just wrong timing. 

How Much Are 3D Scans?

Most hospitals or clinics that offer 3D imaging across the UK charge anything between £45 and £169. This change in price depends on where you are and the details included in the scans. 

The NHS screening program offers 2D imaging services imaging only, which is conducted as a medical examination. It’s offered free, but you may need to consent to it first. 

Do You Have To Have A 3D Scan?

It’s up to you whether to have the 3D scan done or not. As long as your pregnancy is coming along smoothly, you may not need the scan. 

However, if you’re among the type of mothers who want to be sure they are carrying a healthy baby, then you can have it done. This is purely for your peace of mind. It’s important to note that the scan may not identify some of the defects with the baby, so it’s possible to have a baby with defects even after a scan. 

Another reason to have a scan is if the doctor recommends it. This can be if your pregnancy is classified as high risk or the doctor suspects an abnormality in a 2D scan. 

Are 3D Scans Worth It?

3D scans are worth it for someone who needs extra assurance that their baby is fine. For example, someone who suffered an accident or had a major surgery may need to be completely sure that their baby is fine. 

A well-done 3D scan can help the parents bond with the baby even before they are born. And that’s something good enough to make you want to do the scan. 

However, if you have had a smooth pregnancy and maybe undergone a 2D scan that confirmed everything is okay, you may not need to have a 3D scan. It’s not worth it because it will give you a similar result. 

Some people may want to avoid the scan at all costs, maybe because of the fear of the unknown. To them, it is better to wait until the baby is born and hopefully have a healthy baby.