A 4D Scan uses ultrasound. Ultrasound has been used since the 70's, it is based on the principles of radar ie sending out a soundwave which measures the distance to the object it hits and converts the information into a picture. It is not an internal scan, it is basically like your 12 week and 20 week scan at the hospital. The probe (the device which passes over your tummy) is different to a 2D probe, in that it is sending out more sound waves (but less per minute) than a 2D probe. In this way all the measurements of the face are taken so the face can be re-constructed by the computer into an image. It literally maps the face and converts that information into a 3D picture. It is called a 4D scan because it happens in real time (time is the fourth dimension) so we are watching the baby as it is moving.


The answer to this is a bit like "how long is a piece of string" as lots of factors have to come together to make a perfect 4D scan. The following explains the different factors and what you can do to influence these factors.

Position of Baby - Because the ultrasound needs to "map" the face to make the picture we need the baby to be facing up towards the top of the tummy, or at least with its head tilted upwards as the soundwaves come down from the top. If it is looking directly up towards the soundwaves the computer will reconstruct the full face. If it is looking to the side we will see the babies profile. If the head is tilted downwards we will get pictures of the back of the head. If the head is tilted too far back we will get pictures of the babies chin. Ideally we want to see (in 2D) the babies profile, with the chin slightly tilted in towards the chest then we will get nice 4D pictures.

What can you do to influence the position? Have something sugary about an hour before your scan, arrive early for your scan and go for a brisk walk (especially if you have travelled some distance). This can help make sure the baby is awake, if the baby is awake and moving you are more likely to get good pictures during your scan.

Immovable Obstructions - Placenta - We need a gap around the babies face so the soundwaves can map the face. If the baby has its face against the placenta we will get fuzzy pictures as the soundwaves cannot get clear measurements around the face. The placenta fixes to the womb wall, sometimes it fixes at the front (anterior placenta) sometimes it fixes to the back (posterior placenta). If the placenta is anterior it will always affect the quality of the pictures. It does this in two ways, one the soundwaves are weakened by having to pass through the placenta and back again so the picture will not be as sharp and two the placenta will always be in the picture as it is lying in front of the babies face. However, the extent in which it effects the pictures varies, as some people have a placenta that is long and thin, so doesn't impede on the pictures too greatly whereas others have a placenta that is shorter and thicker and lies right against the babies face which seriously impedes the pictures, so we just get fuzz. If your placenta is low lying the chances are it still will be at your 4D scan. We do not look to see if the placenta is low lying as your medical provider will see you again at around 34 weeks to check the movement of your low lying placenta.

If you have an anterior placenta what should you do? It can help if you book your scan for earlier in your pregnancy, we advise that if your placenta is anterior you book your scan between 24-27 weeks. This is because the baby is smaller so less likely to get its face right against the placenta. It is worth knowing that if your placenta is anterior you might not feel the baby kicking until you are over 20 weeks, this is normal and it is because the baby is kicking into the placenta and the placenta is absorbing the kicks (like a shock absorber).

- Umbilical Cord - Some of the cord will nearly always lie in front of the babies face, we can go through the cord to the babies face behind but lumps can appear on the face caused by the close proximity of the cord to the face. If the cord is massed in front of the face then it is very difficult for us to get a good picture, as going through all the cord diminishes the sound signal, so we get fuzzy pictures.

What can be done? Very little when it comes to the cord, sometimes lying to one side might help but usually it takes a big movement from the baby to move the cord away from the face, something like a big stretch (by the baby) will work.

Movable Obstructions - Some babies like to cover their faces with their hands or feet or both! Generally during the course of the scan the baby will move its arms or legs but sometimes they won't! It is unusual for a baby to keep its face covered but some do.

What can be done? Sometimes if you give the baby a little nudge/poke it will start to interact with you and move its hands away from its face. Usually babies cover their faces when they are asleep so book your scan for when it is most active as this can help.

Size of the mum to be - This can vary from person to person but generally if you are a lady who is built for comfort your scan might not be as sharp as others. Basically the more layers the sound has to pass through the weaker it becomes, so the picture quality is not as sharp. I have seen some very good scans with more padded ladies as there was a lot of fluid around the face and the extra layers are less dense, whereas ladies who really are obese will get a very poor result as the layers seem to be more dense so effect the quality of the picture drastically.

What can you do to get better results? If you pull your tummy up during the scan the results can be better as the layer over the baby is then thinner.

If you have a very small bump then it can also be difficult to get really good pictures, as there might not be enough fluid around the babies face, this is especially true if you have an anterior placenta and are very small as the baby tends to lie right against the placenta.

What can you do to get better results? If you drink a lot of water in the two weeks before the scan then you might have more fluid around the baby at the time of the scan.

Therefore in order for us to get great pictures on the day we need the baby to be in the correct position with nothing in front of its face except clear amniotic fluid, so in a way it is down to luck on the day as to whether your baby is in a good position. But we have found thet if you do the following you are more likely to get good pictures:

1 Book your scan between 25-28 weeks of pregnancy (24-27 if your placenta is anterior) 2 Have something sugary about an hour before your scan 3 Book your scan for when your baby is more lively, morning or afternoon 4 Go for a brisk walk before your scan, so baby is more likely to be awake, especially if you have travelled a long way 5 Drink lots of water in the days leading up to the scan 6 Massage your belly, it can help to get fluid around the babies face 7 For twins/multiples book 21-23 weeks

We have had amazing results up until 38 weeks, but we do not recommend this as once the baby is over 32 weeks it becomes less active and so if its in a bad position its less likely to move into a good one.


We start in 2D and show you the position of the baby and the heartbeat, also the sex of the baby if you wish to know. Once we have found a good "window" we will go into 4D. We want to get the babies face looking up with as few obstructions in the face as possible to do this we may need to keep re-adjusting the position of the probe and to do this we need to go back into 2D. If the baby is in a bad position, and we feel it would be of benefit, we will send you for a walk. We may ask you to turn on your side, so its a good idea to wear trousers.


Because there is no bone in the eye the sound waves pass through the eyes more quickly which can make the eyes look like they are opening in 4D. Also if we "go through" an obstruction, like the placenta, and we take away too many layers we loose the face completely, this is when pictures look a bit skeletal. The noses always look big and wide from the front, this is because a babies nose is small, so there is nothing for the sound to bounce off which broadens the nose. We cannot see hair in a 4D scan neither can we see the colour of the babies skin.


After the scan you will be shown the pictures which we collected during the scan, from these you choose your free black and white pictures and can choose whether you would like the CD-Rom. The CD-Rom is a computer disc which contains all the still images that were collected during the scan for you to take home and print at home or e-mail to your friends and family.


If you want music on your DVD, we will charge £10 to add it. You will leave our studio with your copy of your DVD without music and we will send you a copy of your DVD with the music. Some people choose to add on their music when they make copies of their DVD at home. If you want us to do your music please bring us the music your require on a CD.


99% of scans are fine, we just get the occasional little boy who wants to show us his assetts by placing his bottom over his head, so that when we go to look at the face we see a bit extra! To us its obvious but we have had people who haven't noticed it.


If there is a fault with the DVD it will show up during the scan. We will play back the DVD for you to see after the scan. However if you do experience a problem send the DVD back to us. To date we have only had about 9 DVDs returned to us and all were found to work perfectly.


We want you to leave our studio happy, so we do our best to try and make sure you have no reason to complain about us however we may not always get things right, if we don't please write to me and let me know as much detail as possible about your complaint and I can investigate it. I cannot deal with complaints if I am phoned at home in the evening when I do not have all the information to hand about what has happened.

If your complaint is about the DVD it must be returned to me so that I can find out if there is a problem with it


Basically I don't make huge profits. I keep the prices as low as I possibly can, ie we don't have glossy magazines and expensive premises, and I make sure we put our resources to the best use. We only employ qualified Sonographers, our team of female sonographers are led by Sue Elmer who spent most of her NHS career at GOSH, our other Sonographers are all working within or have worked within the NHS, one of our sonographers is also a trained midwife. We use the most popular 4D scan imaging equipment on the market today. Giving you the best service possible at the best price possible is our priority and has earnt us an award from The Best of Ipswich 2008.


You are more likely to get good pictures than not but we have put down some approximate percentages for you.

We estimate that about 25% of people have fantastic scans, which means completely clear pictures with the baby staying in a good position for the majority of the scan.

We estimate that about 60% of people will have some really lovely pictures during the course of the scan, which means that at different points during the scan we will get clear pictures of the babies face.

We estimate that about 10% of people will not get good pictures during the scan, but from these 9 out of 10 will get good pictures at the re-scan.

We estimate that about 5% of people will not get good pictures and it would not be worth re-booking for a re-scan for different reasons, usually because they are over 34 weeks with an anterior placenta.

If you just want 15 minutes of perfect pictures then this scan might not be for you, however if you want to spend some time seeing what your baby is up to, whether its a thumb sucker, or whether it likes to play with its toes, or whether its a poser or a shy bunny then the 4D scan is something you will really enjoy and the good pictures, we nearly always get, during the scan make it that bit more special. Please note that if the scan does not start well we don't start again, we scan on and off for a total of 15 minutes (on the short 4D scan) and usually we will get good pictures during this time.

We do not charge for the re-scan but we do charge £30 for the DVD at the re-scan, if you want it. If we don't think you will get better pictures at a re-scan we will advise you to take the discount, however the choice is yours.

You can get a good idea of how your baby will behave at the 4D scan from when you had your 2D scan, as the babies seem to develop their personal quirks from 16 weeks, ie if they like their hands in their face at the 20 week scan they will probably have their hands in their face at the 4D scan!

Generally we will always get some really nice 2D pictures (if we cannot get good 4D pictures) where you might see the baby blinking, drinking, practising its breathing, yawning and sticking its tongue out. So if you are in the minority and the worse comes to the worse and your scan pictures are not as good as you hoped you will have still spent time with your baby, seeing what its up to and have a DVD to show it when its older.

We advise that for a 2D sexing scan, for best results, you book from 20 weeks. For a 4D scan we advise, for best results, you book from 24 weeks, or if you are having twins book 21-23 weeks. If you choose to book your scan under our recommended weeks we will not offer you a free re-scan.

If you would like to book, or have any other questions you can phone us on 01473 625696 or book online.


At the free re-scan we will record the scan to DVD which you can purchase for £30.00 If you wish. The DVD at your initial scan is included free of charge within the price that you pay, therefore you cannot choose not take the DVD at the initial sitting and have one at the re-scan instead. If you are paying the cheaper rates on the special offer days you will not be offered a free re-scan, but you can, if you wish, upgrade and pay the full price which will then mean you will receive a free re-scan.