Video: As 4D baby scans reach Norfolk, are we finding out too much about our unborn child?
11:15 23 July 2014
Latest technology now means we can meet our baby long before they are born but with the popularity of 4D scans on the rise, reporter DONNA-LOUISE BISHOP asks if we are losing focus on the real reason for having them?
It is one of life’s landmark moments - the first time you see your baby.
Now, with advancing technology, a growing number of women are choosing to have that moment weeks before their due date.
And it is all thanks to the 4D scan which is allowing proud parents to see a moving film of their baby in the womb from 16 weeks.
But with this leap in medical science, are we losing sight of the real reason for having a scan in the first place?
Our 4D experience
It was something my husband Ben was interested in doing far more than me but I’d always had that little voice in the back of my head saying ‘I wonder what is it like’.
I’d always been nervous before my routine NHS scans and this time was no exception, however the team were on hand to make me as relaxed as possible.
And although it will always be difficult to remove the clinic element from a scan completely, every effort was made to make the experience of a 4D scan feel exciting and relaxing.
Seeing the 4D image of our baby for the first time was emotional, especially as we could see that they looked so much like their big brother Adam, but the real treasure for me was watching the DVD back with my friends and family.
And it’s nice to know we will always have that memento to treasure.
• To see a video of Donna-Louise Bishop’s 4D scan experience go online to www.edp24.co.uk.
• To find out more about Window to the Womb go to www.windowtothewomb.co.uk or call 01603 624863.
Dave Cheese, owner of the Norwich branch of Window to the Womb, on Timberhill, in the city centre, said a 4D scan was not about ignoring the medical aspect, but instead offering soon-to-be-parents a once in a lifetime experience.
“It’s a complete broad range of people who come in, from people finding out the gender to people just wanting to meet their baby earlier,” he said. “Lots of other family members like to come to the scan too as for some people, such as grandparents, they might not have seen a scan before.
“I think a 4D scan is a way of enjoying your baby and seeing your little one before it’s born, in a nice environment.”
Research is still on-going to find out if extra scans are a danger to unborn babies.
What do you think?
Catherine Loveridge, 28, of North Walsham, has a two-month-old baby. She had a 4D scan in February.
She said: “We decided to have a scan because my bump was extra large.
“It gave me the reassurance that everything was going fine in my first pregnancy and gave us memories that will last forever.
“I definitely don’t think they distract from the importance of [routine] scans.”
Sam Vanderpal, 28, of Gorleston, has a son and is expecting her second baby in November. She had a scan last month and in July 2013.
She said: “I personally feel that being able to see my baby more often than just the two standard (and sometimes very quick) NHS scans, helps to relive any anxiety about baby’s development, and reducing stress can only be a good thing.
“Being able to share the 4D experience with my husband is the closest he will ever get to establishing a physical connection to the baby himself before they actually arrive.”
Kayleigh Hindmarsh, 28, of Norwich, has three children. She has never had a 4D scan.
She said: “We didn’t want a 4D scan as we felt it would take away from that priceless moment when we first saw our babies after the hard work of labour. I wanted the first time I saw my baby to be in my arms not on a screen.
“In my opinion the ones from the NHS give me all the information and reassurance I need.”
Kirsty Halfpenny, 38, of Norwich, has a son. She has never had a 4D scan.
She said: “Although there was no definitive reason to why I didn’t have the scan I don’t regret it, I don’t feel I’ve missed out.
“Seeing him for the first time after a long labour was the most exciting thing I ever could of imagined.”
Joanne Rix, 25, of Norwich, has a daugher called Poppy. She has never had a 4D scan.
She said: “It didn’t even cross my mind to have one. For me personally a child is such a precious gift that advances in technology give too much away.
“It’s like the newest pram or the best designer clothing, I know that seems extreme but I just don’t feel it’s necessary. Nice but not needed.”
Sherry Walton, 21, of Norwich, has a daughter. She had a 4D scan in October 2013.
She said: I decided to have one as I didn’t know anyone that had and loved the idea of them.
“I also love to do everything bigger then average so to me the 4D scan was a must-have.
“In my scan my little girl was sucking her hand, shes now seven months old and is still always sucking her hand.”
Danielle Cammack, 34, of Norwich, has two children. She had two 4D scans in 2011 and 2013.
She said: “We decided to have one as were interested in knowing the sex and NHS scan couldn’t see. We also wanted to take our families along so they could see their future grandchildren - they loved it.”
Mr Cheese explained that at Window to the Womb they have adopted the “as low as reasonably achievable” protocol when scanning, which means the scanners are set at the lowest levels that will allow images.
He also put the rise in popularity down to social media, and said websites such as Facebook and Twitter helped to fuel the excitement as people could share their photos and videos online.
So with more and more choosing to have 4D scans, what exactly are the incentives?
Lead midwife for education at the University of East Anglia’s School of Nursing Science, Kenda Crozier, explained why routine scans were done.
“The 12-week scan is a dating scan to help make decisions about when screening should take place for fetal anomalies.
“Then at the 20-week scan those can be checked and that involves looking at all the visible structures of the fetus.”
And although some have claimed that a 4D scan is an unnecessary luxury Dr Crozier said research in America had shown evidence to support maternal and parental bonding with the baby.
• What do you think of 4D scans? Write to the Letter’s Editor, with full details of name and address, at Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich, NR1 1RE or email firstname.lastname@example.org.