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Southend Hospital offers 3D/4D maternity scans

25 November 2016

Health Care

Can’t wait to meet your baby? Southend University Hospital has just started to offer expectant parents the chance to have detailed 3D/4D scans of their baby using the very latest ultrasound technology.

This allows them to see their baby in amazing 3D images and 4D video in one of the few places in Essex to offer this service and can be booked by all expectant parents, not just those receiving their care in Southend.

Unlike the 2D images which are taken for routine maternity scans, both 3D and 4D scans are not available on the NHS.

Southend is the only hospital within Essex to offer this service, the nearest clinic being on Canvey Island, and the scan is performed by a fetal medicine consultant.

Whilst a 3D/4D scan uses the same technology as a 2D scan, the 3D scan shows the baby in three dimensions whilst a 4D scan is moving images of a 3D scan, bringing the scans in the womb vividly to life.

One of the first people to take advantage of this was Melissa Sanderson, 24, from Rochford, who is expecting a boy next March.

On seeing her baby move real time in 3D on the screen, she said: "It's great that you can picture exactly what your baby is going to look like. It just makes it seem a lot more real getting to 'meet' them this way and it was lovely to see his face and features."

Leading on the delivery of this exciting optional extra is Mr Mandeep Singh, Consultant Fetal Maternal Medicine, who is based in Southend Hospital's Fetal Medicine Unit.

He said: "With 3D and 4D scans, you see your baby's skin rather than his or her bones, therefore you may get the opportunity to see the shape of your baby's mouth and nose, or are able to see the baby yawning or sucking their thumb.

"The scans show new details of unborn babies and allow mums and dads-to-be to get a better view of what their babies will look like. Scans are best for pregnancies after 22 weeks and are designed for personal use rather than diagnostic purposes.

"Having said that, as scans will be done by a highly experienced specialist consultant this additional scan will provide a further opportunity to assess the fetal growth, including the estimated fetal weights and your baby's well-being. We will also check baby's blood flow to make sure that he or she is receiving the correct amount of nourishment to grow and the placenta is functioning as it should.

"With many parents requesting 3D and 4D images of their unborn child, more hospitals across the country have been offering the service privately to meet the demand, which is why it is now being offered at Southend Hospital."

This service is available on week day evenings and weekends and has been made possible by the purchasing of a state-of-the-art £84,000 machine. It was paid for by the hospital through its capital bids programme and monies raised by use of the machine will self-finance it returning the money to the hospital.

Prices start from £100 and there are various packages available. To find out more about this service please contact 07933 98956 or email scans@mgsclinic.com.