Raleigh, N.C. — More and more expectant parents are getting a jump on their baby photo albums by paying for crisp 3-D ultrasound images of their unborn child.
For Mike and Jennifer Paramore, the fuzzy, two-dimensional ultrasound image of their son's face just wasn't enough. So, they opted to pay $135 extra for a 3-D ultrasound from provider Kamm McKenzie OBGYN in Raleigh.
The 3-D option has available for several years, but the pictures and processing speeds are improving.
"I knew it was available before. I'd seen a lot of images from my friends," Jennifer Paramore said.
"This is just a series of two-dimensional images that the computer puts together for a three-dimensional picture," said Dr. Joel Bernstein from Kamm McKenzie.
The 2-D sonogram is still the standard in prenatal care, and 3-D imaging technology provides no diagnostic advantages over it, but that could eventually change, Bernstein said.
"The technology seems to be moving to using it more diagnostically, for example with heart defects," he said.
Some non-medical ultrasound centers offer the experience, but Bernstein said he prefers patients to have it done in a doctor's office.
"We have the health providers here that can provide support and appropriate follow-up if we did find anything abnormal on one of these ultrasounds," he said.
For the Paramores, the pictures are worth the extra money.
"I think it makes it more real," Mike Paramore said.
He even sees a family resemblance.
"Unfortunately, the nose," he joked. "(The baby) probably has my nose."