What to expect with a 4D scan. When I was pregnant with Monkey we went for a 4D scan in Harley Street, we got it on a deal and the whole experience was okay. I say okay as the lady performing the scan gave the gender away, although she got it wrong!! I had thought Monkey was a boy since our first scan at 12 weeks and although we hadn’t brought anything gender specific by the 30 week 4D scan because we had specifically asked not to know we both left feeling a little down beat. Not for any reason (a girl would have been wonderful too) other than we thought it was a boy and I was disappointed with my lack of mothering instinct! However within 2 weeks I was back to thinking he was a boy and I was right!

Having a 4D Scan - What to Expect

So when the question came up around attending another 4D scan with Pip. Who I a now going to call Kipper going forward as this is Monkey’s new name for him. The only thing I wanted to be sure of was going to the right place. There are often deals on Wowcher and Group On which offer amazing discounts. If you are not tied on time or day when you can go then they are definitely worth a consideration. However we had been going to a little clinic since I was just 8 weeks pregnant for the odd private scan here. Mainly because of the fact I was high risk  and I knew I wanted to to go back. I didn’t want to run the risk of coming out deflated again. Although we do know the gender this time round.

What to expect with a 4D scan
Example of a bad photo – cord around face makes bubba look a bit deformed

What is a 4D scan?

So what is the 4D all about. Well it basically means you get a video of your little Kipper swimming around in your belly. In addition to the 3D photos. To be brutally honest we have not watched the video of Monkey since bringing it home. Although funnily enough he has requested to see it on the back of looking at his own 3D photos. So we will be doing that soon.

Depending on when you go they will have recommendations around the best time to have the scan done. Its a balance between baby being developed and big enough and being too big. I was aiming for 30 weeks like Monkey but unfortunately the lady doing it came down with flu, not something  wanted to risk catching. So we actually ended up having the scan at 32+4. Normally 32 is the upper limit before things get a little cosy in there! However we did get lucky.  Although we had a lot of photos with the cord in the way of his face we got one or two good ones.

Our experience ..

For some reason Kipper seems to have developed a love for his cord playing with it. Our sonographer who is also a midwife. Suggested he many like things on his face to calm him down once he’s out. One trick worth trying with a muslin I guess. A couple of times it did look like he was grabbing it. But I am not 100% after all they are not meant to have any sort of dexterity until 8-12 weeks.

We also saw him take a little drink and had a once over to check toes and fingers etc. The measurements were a little scary. I did ask to know his size because of implications around delivery (Monkey got stuck – I really should write up my last birth experience!). He was measuring a whopping 5lb 1 oz which would actually put him at 33+4 so a whole week older. It could be that he’s just hit a growth spurt so it would be interesting to know what his hospital growth scan says at 34 weeks.

I was a little in shock so I think the sonographer tactful avoided the prediction at birth. Of course they are only ever 70% accurate. But he does look like a bit of a chubby one, with his belly measuring in the 82nd percentile. Must stop eating chocolate!! No wonder Ive put on very little weight.

Example of a good photo

Its helped Monkey get a clearer understanding of the baby too, as one of the photos does look quite a lot like him. We got his little photo album out the next day and looked at his 3D scan photos which he as fascinated by. I would say do it if you can, but there are somethings to be aware of.

What to expect with a 4D scan

  • Tell the sonographer if you don’t want to know the gender before your lie down and advert your eyes until they have settled on the babies face (just incase)
  • Choose a reputable company – friends of mine were told they were expecting a boy when it turned out to be another girl. They had thrown away all the pink bits and bought blue instead!
  • Be prepared not to fall in love straight away (as they can look like mini aliens) and also that you may not get many clear photos.
  • In the same vain when showing your precious baby pictures to friends and family don’t be surprised if they are not an enthralled as you. Many people find them quite freaky due to the pinkish/yellowish nature of the pictures.
  • Be prepared that the screen images may well look clearer than the photos you receive. Just the slightest movement by the baby will make the whole image appear blurred and the face disfigured. Having done it once before we were not bothered by this. But first time we did wonder if everything was okay. And I did spend a little time worrying that he in fact didn’t have a third eye or a lump the size of an egg growing out the side of his face like some of the images resembled!!
  • Enjoy it, it is an amazing experience

Have you had a 4D scan? I would love to hear about your experiences in the comments below. Read our other pregnancy posts here.


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What to expect with a 4D scan

What to expect with a 4D scan


  1. Hannah - Budding Smiles Reply

    Oh gosh, we’ve only had the 1 scan to say baby girl is a girl, eeek! We’ve not had a 4D scan with either baby, I kind of wanted one this time but we just couldn’t afford it. So lovely that Monkey was interested in his own scans too, must be nice to him to relate to Kipper in that way xx

  2. They are fascinating – it’s incredible to be able to see so much detail! We decided not to have one, partly because we weren’t finding out the sex and thought that would inevitably be a giveaway. I can completely understand why people love them and I wonder if I might do differently a second time, but we had decided we wanted the complete traditional surprise at the end.

  3. This is really interesting, how much detail that you can see – the baby drinking – wow! I’ve never really wanted a 4D scan as I’m one of those people that get freaked out by the alien look haha! Love the nickname Kipper, Tyler came up with our baby’s nickname Honey Nut. Don’t know how he’s going to feel when we give her a real name! Sabrina xx

  4. Interesting to see how ye got on and what the photos look like. We never got and 4d scans done but might if we go again.

  5. The Parenting Trials (@sarahnblogger) Reply

    aww wow isn’t it amazing to see just how far its come along, we were so lucky with my 2nd we had to go for a scan at around 36 weeks, and the guy who was doing it offered to do us a quick 4d scan for free, it was such a incredible experience. would recommend it to other expecting parents. xx

  6. Kerry norris Reply

    How lovely that you got to have one. You’re definitely right about finding a reputable company. There are so many around that do it but they aren’t necessarily good. We took our eldest along to the scan too and we also found it helped her to understand better x

  7. Pingback: My Pregnancy – 32 Weeks with Antiphospholipid Syndrome | Mudpie Fridays

  8. Wow you got some fab pics!!! We had a couple with our boy but he was always sitting the wrong way. When we did get one of his face his nose looked really out of proportion – it terrified me and I ended up googling “my baby has a massive nose”!! Luckily he was born with a beautiful nose, but apparently the sound waves can make things look bigger. Yours looks so cute and cosy in there 🙂 x

  9. I would really love a 4D scan if/when we decide to have another baby. I didn’t have one with my daughter and I feel like I will always need to know the gender. It does worry me that they can get it wrong though with it being right there in your face but I guess sometimes with the cord in the wrong place it can be a bit difficult to see. Still it’s a great way to show your child when they’re older what they looked like in mummys tummy! #BigPinkLink

  10. This Mum's Life Reply

    Oooh, this is so interesting! The example of a ‘good photo,’ the one of his face, is so clear!! I didn’t have one of these with either of my babies, but I wish I had now! Such a great way for your little boy to prepare for becoming a big brother, fabulous keepsakes, and a real experience for you! I don’t think they’d have captured my second baby much at 30 weeks, I was huge by then, and being told by the midwife to expect a ‘good size,’ and he was nearly 10lbs when he was born…! This is such a great guide and insight for anyone who wants to have one of these scans.
    We referred to our first bump as Pip, and the second bump, Pip2!!! I know you’ve changed it to Kipper now, but you saying ‘Pip,’ really took me back to being pregnant! Thanks for sharing with #bigpinklink!

  11. I’ve always found the thought of a 4d scan a bit creepy but actually it must be pretty amazing to see how they might look before they’re actually born. This time round, I’d definitely consider having one. Thanks for linking up to #MarvMondays. Kaye xo

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