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3D & 4D Ultrasound Frequent Questions

The questions listed below are the most frequently asked questions about our Elective Prenatal 3D & 4D Ultrasound packages. Should you have any questions that are not answered below, please call us at (760)744-3733, or feel free to send us an email at:

San Marcos Experience Office:





What’s so different about The Ultrasound Experience?
Just like when Ford was making the first car. There was only one model and color to choose from. Technology has come a long way and now you have many choices. The same with 4D ultrasound! Here is a list of questions you should ask before booking your ultrasound appointment:

     1. Exactly what type of machine do you have?

This is important! Even though it may be a GE, it might not be an EXPERT or higher model. This will affect the image quality and the frame rate of your ultrasound!

     2. Exactly what is included in the packages? Will they charge more?

It may seem cut and dry when comparing prices over the internet. Beware of the extra charges! When they say video do they mean VHS or DVD? Will they charge more? When they say photo print outs: are they on thin copy paper? or quality high-gloss photo paper? Will they charge more? If the baby never looks at the camera will they charge more to get facial images for you? You have twins…will they charge more? You could end up paying more for your ultrasound and still not getting what you wanted! At The Ultrasound Experience we are proud to say we are upfront about all costs and you will not have any surprises upon arrival!


        3. Exactly how big is the image that my family and I will view?

Some will advertise a large 100” view screen. However, upon arrival you may find that the projected image is less than impressive. This is also due to the small size of the scan room!

     4. What is your facility like?

At The Ultrasound Experience we pride ourselves on a well decorated, clean, comfortable, and spacious environment for you to bring your family. As well as high end commercial buildings to present ourselves. Please check online photos and if possible schedule a pre-visit appointment to check out the facility before booking!


     5. What accommodation do you have for families?

If you are bringing your family it may be comforting to know if the room is 10X12 or 24X14. All of our rooms are at least 24X14. Way more than enough room for a large machine, a comfortable scan bed and all of your family!

        6. Are you strictly an elective facility?

It is a necessity to have your diagnostic scan done by a medical ultrasound facility! On the other hand, when paying out of pocket for an elective ultrasound, there are benefits to coming to a strictly elective facility such as; a non-medical environment, room to bring family, usually a more specialized machine and an operator who is an expert at acquiring 3D images.

     7. How experienced is the technologist acquiring my ultrasound images?

The little known fact about 3D ultrasound is the techniques used as an operator are entirely different than 2D ultrasound. So even though an operator may have many years experience in 2D/Medical ultrasound, it doesn’t mean they can give you the best 3D/4D experience. All of our technologists have had at least one years experience in performing strictly 3D/4D Ultrasound and are trained and evaluated by an ARDMS sonographer with more than 3 years experience scanning 3D!


Other FAQ’s:    


What is the difference between 2D, 3D and 4D Ultrasound?
Our machines are capable of 2D, 3D & 4D ultrasounds.  2D is a typical black and white image used for diagnostic scans in your doctor’s office. These are very useful medically because a trained technician can evaluate the internal organs and assess for abnormalities. 3D and 4D ultrasounds render a surface image only which is much more realistic to the untrained eye. The only difference between 3D and 4D: 3D is a still image and 4D is the moving video. Some ultrasound machines are only capable of taking one 3D image at a time and do not aquire images fast enough to get the yawns or smiles in moving video

What is an elective prenatal ultrasound?
We offer elective 2D, 3D & 4D prenatal, non-medical, ultrasounds to provide a proactive, positive bonding experience for the mother, father and family members with the unborn baby. Realistic surface images provide a connection between the parents and baby that can be beneficial to the whole family. A routine ultrasound examination should have already been performed to assess the gestational age of the fetus and to evaluate for fetal anomalies, as well as the basic components of fetal anatomy.

Does this take the place of an ultrasound at my doctor's office?
ABSOLUTELY NOT! Women seeking an elective prenatal ultrasound with The Ultrasound Experience must already be receiving treatment with a healthcare provider for prenatal care and have already undergone a medical, diagnostic ultrasound ordered by their provider to confirm their due date, screen for fetal anomalies, and to look for any other pregnancy related issues. Your imaging session at The Ultrasound Experience is strictly an elective ultrasound. Please note, at no time is this elective experience to be confused with, or used in place of, a diagnostic ultrasound. You will be required to bring proof of medical care to your appointment with us. This could be in the form of a medical ultrasound photo, a note from your OB Care Provider or some form of official paperwork from their office.


Is it safe? Are there any risks to me, or my baby?
Extensive studies conducted over 35 years have found that ultrasound has not been shown to cause any harm to mother or baby. Routine scanning of all pregnancies is now normal throughout the United States. In 3D/4D scanning, exactly the same type and intensity of ultrasound is used as with conventional 2D scanning. 3D and 4D Ultrasound both use sound waves to look inside the body. The technology is similar to radar. A probe placed on the body emits sound waves into the body, listens for the return echo and generates an image. 4D ultrasound is similar to a conventional scan in terms of sound exposure.

Do I need an appointment?
Yes, appointments are necessary for all of our services. We do offer same day appointments as well.


How long does the 4D ultrasound take?
Depending on the package you choose, the 4D ultrasound session will last between 10 and 25 minutes. However, plan on spending 30 minutes to an hour with us so we can send you home with all your memories that day.


How far along should I be before I have a 4D ultrasound?
If you plan on having only one 4D ultrasound session, we would recommend having the ultrasound performed between the 26th and 34th week of the pregnancy. However, images of your baby can be obtained anytime after about 22 weeks of pregnancy. Many mothers want more than one 4D ultrasound and have images to enjoy from their second and third trimesters. It is thrilling to determine gender and see fetal movement at 18 weeks and then return at 30 weeks for facial images.


Will I always get a beautiful picture of my baby?
Not always. Sometimes if the baby is always looking face down, i.e. towards your spine, it may be impossible to see the baby's face. If we believe the quality of the scan will improve in a week due to position, a repeat scan in the following week will be done to see if the baby has turned to a favorable position. We can make no promises that the images will be similar to those you might have seen elsewhere or even from another client scanned at our offices.

We make every effort to exceed everyone's expectations. However, every baby scans differently, depending on its gestational age, position, amount of fluid, placental placement and mother's condition. It is also very usual for the baby to want to touch the face with the hand or a foot persistently and should be expected.

The primary object of our contract with our clients, as signed in the service waiver prior to purchasing your scan time, is our service. We can't control the all the variables inherent in each unique pregnancy and we can't make promises to our clients that may be impossible to keep.


Can I bring my family and friends?
Yes. In fact, we encourage our clients to invite family and friends to attend the elective 4D ultrasound session. This is a joyous and wonderful experience, one that can be shared with your family and loved ones.

Are you able to tell the sex of the baby?
Yes, in most cases we can provide an indication of the sex of the baby. We can't however guarantee that the baby will cooperate during your session. Certain factors such as body tissue content, developmental stage and fetal position all affect the ability to determine sex. If the baby is uncooperative or to young to determine gender a short 2D rescan may be offered when the baby is larger (18-20 weeks) and the position is favorable to give you an accurate gender determination.


Is the 4D ultrasound covered by Insurance?
At this point, insurance does not cover the costs of our ultrasounds. Since this is an elective procedure and is not intended to be a replacement for your doctor ordered ultrasound, you will need to pay the cost of this ultrasound as an out of pocket expense. We accept cash, Mastercard, Visa, Discover and Debit Cards (no checks please).

What kind of ultrasound equipment do you use to perform the 4D ultrasounds?
We use the state-of-the-art GE Voluson 730 EXPERT to complete all ultrasound sessions. The GE Voluson 730 EXPERT has been seen in GE television commercials and many printed articles from around the world. This machine is the finest 2D, 3D and 4D ultrasound machine available anywhere. Be aware, some facilities claim to use "state-of-the-art" equipment, when in fact they use older or inferior GE technology.

How much does it cost?
We have packages to fit just about anyone's budget. Please refer to our Ultrasound Pricing page for more information on available packages.

I have two friends that came to your facility, one got really clear pictures and the others were more blurry, why was there such a difference?
The ability to visualize any portion of your baby's anatomy on any media you take home depends upon a number of variables outside of any ultrasound provider's control, such as the baby's position, whether or not hands and feet or umbilical chord are blocking the face, amniotic fluid volume, placental location, mother's size, as well as other variables. The more tissue the sound has to go through the more the sound has to travel to and the weaker the signal as it travels down and then back to the probe. This results in a less sharp image. We wish all placentas were in back and baby was always looking toward the transducer, with hands and feet and placenta out of the way, plenty of fluid around them and smiles on their faces, but these are usually things that we have to work on during the ultrasound to get the best image possible. When you purchase imaging packages with us, you are purchasing scan time first and foremost. Longer scan times may increase the chance of better visualization of your baby. Any media you take home is essentially a record of those minutes spent attempting to determine gender and help you bond with your baby while hearing their heart beating in our theater rooms with your family. Our primary goal is to provide you and your family with an incredible Ultrasound Experience through the journey of seeking the best images possible!

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