Life in 4D: New technology lets families see babies before they're born

By: Tim Ciesco Email
By: Tim Ciesco Email

Seeing their baby for the first time is a moment many families treasure forever -- and now, thanks to a new technology, it's a moment they can experience before they set foot in the delivery room.

Celestina and Frank McClure are just weeks away from welcoming their third child into the world. Celestina says while going in for her checkups, she heard about the 4D ultrasound. At seven months pregnant, she decided to give it a spin.

"There's a lot of anxiety that leads up to, you know, what will the baby look like?" says Celestina McClure.

Debbie Frazier, an ultrasound technologist at Mesa Women's Health Care, prepped Celestina in the exam room, while Frank watched close by.

"They get very excited," says Frazier. "I get excited. It's just so fun."

After Frazier located the baby using a traditional ultrasound, then pushes a few keys on the machine, the McClures get their first look at their first baby girl.

"It's a great bonding moment," says Celestina McClure.

The machine uses sound waves to generate a three-dimensional image of the baby in the womb.

"You can see the features, you can see the skin on the baby's face, where when you're doing a two-dimensional ultrasound, you're seeing through the baby," says Frazier.

As Frazier slid the paddle across Celestina's belly, the baby's fingers, arm, and ear came into focus on the screen. And after a little coaxing from mom, she moved her arm long enough to show off her eyes.

"The baby moves around a lot of times," says Frazier. "You can just see them as if they were really there."

After about 20 minutes, the ultrasound is over.

"They don't look alienish, they look more like a little baby," says Celestina McClure.

"How the imaging has changed is really neat," says Frank McClure.

And the McClures say they're just that much more excited for the big day to arrive.

Mesa Women's Health Care, located at 1060 Orchard Avenue, is the only place in the Grand Valley that offers 4D Ultrasounds.

The center offers 4D packages that range in price from $100 to $250, depending on the length of time of the patient wants the procedure to last.

Because 4D is not used for diagnostic purposes, insurance won't cover it -- but the McClures say to them it was worth every penny.

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