Technology has come so far in the last few years, and ultrasound technology is no exception! With the number of expecting mamas I see for maternity portrait sessions, I thought it'd be a great idea to check out Erie's own 4D ultrasound studio! I reached out to Lauren Hess, the owner of Pink or Blue Ultrasound Studio and she was gracious enough to not only answer all of my questions; but also give me a tour around her cozy studio!
Before reaching out, I tried to think of questions that an expecting mama might have before their ultrasound. During my own pregnancies, I remember being SO excited for each scan! It's amazing to be able to see these little miracles, especially now with the ultrasound innovations that have happened over the last few years!
Can you explain a little about the technology used in your 4D ultrasounds?
4D Ultrasound looks into the body in 3 dimensions at the same time, essentially creating a 3D image with movement - which is the 4th dimension.
How does a 4D ultrasound differ from a traditional ultrasound?
Traditional Ultrasound displays the baby in black-and-white and as a single flat image. 3D shows the baby in 3 dimensions and 4D shows the baby MOVING IN 3D. 3D and 4D images can both be manipulated, turned, twisted, etc to see the baby at different angles and to male the image clearer, whereas tradional scans cannot
What is the optimal gestational age for a 4D ultrasound?
Optimal gestational age for accirate facial details would be 30-35 weeks because they're developed enough to see distinct features. 16-22 weeks is interesting to see them in 3D/4D because you can see their whole body, included arm and leg movements and rolling. 22-29 weeks can oftentimes show alot of movement because they still have alot of space to wiggle. Arms and chest/belly can be seen then, as well.
How long does the ultrasound normally take?
Ultrasounds are trickier than they look, especially chasing a moving target with little control over position, baby, placenta, cord, and fluid. Expect to be there 20-30min. We really try our hardest to get good, clear images so sometimes the session runs a few minutes longer while we convince the baby to cooperate.
How long have you been in business?
Pink or Blue has been open for about 9 years! I have 22 years experience in Ultrasound. The other girls working here also have a few years experience each and we currently work in hospital settings during the day.
What is your favorite memory/experience with an expecting family?
Tough question!!! I truly love my experiences at Pink or Blue. I have laughed and cried with so many families! I have made friends that I still talk to. Gender determination sonos are always fun, I love surprising families. Another time I had a baby who kept smiling and sticking her tongue out. She was also giving thumbs up and peace sign. We were ALL LAUGHING SO HARD I had tears in my eyes. I've also had a few sets of unexpected twins. Some people may not know we do gender determination with bloodwork at 6 weeks. Those customers often get a sonogram on the same day. I LOVE being the first person to show them their little miracle.
What's one piece of advice that you'd give expecting families?
Advice prior to coming in is to stay hydrated a few days prior. Not all babies show their face as clearly as you may see online/tv, but they WILL look like what we see on 4d. Enjoy! Bring friends and family to also have the bonding experience.
I couldn't believe the incredible details that you could see when Lauren showed me a few example images on the large projector screen! It's truly amazing what you're able to view nowadays! You're even able to hear and record baby's heartbeat and upload it to one of the adorable stuffed animals pictured above! How sweet is that?!
One of the nicest things about Pink or Blue is that there's room for grandmas and grandpas to be part of the excitement, too! Imagine a grandparent's reaction to seeing their grandchild for the first time! I love that there's enough room to include everybody!
One of the most surprising details that Lauren told me about was their ability to determine a baby's gender with bloodwork at 6 weeks! I had no idea that was possible! It'd be amazing, as a mom, to watch your little one grow from that early on!
I had such a wonderful time talking with Lauren and touring Pink or Blue! She was incredibly knowledgeable and friendly! I highly suggest reaching out to her if you're interested in a 4D ultrasound! These scans are lightyears better than when I had my babies, years ago!
As always, take care, and smile pretty!