3D-4D Pregnancy Ultrasound


    Ultrasound provides useful information about the uterus, ovaries and baby that enables appropriate antenatal care. Fetal size and heart rate are checked at all stages of pregnancy, as well as the maternal uterus, ovaries and cervix. Pregnancy ultrasound is a non-invasive painless examination to assess fetal growth, position and anatomy, and placental site, as well as the maternal uterus and ovaries. Ultrasound can detect many, but not all abnormalities. Demonstrating a fetal abnormality on ultrasound depends on many factors, including fetal age and position at the time of the ultrasound, and the size and type of abnormality.

    There is very little preparation required for these exams. You should have some fluid in the bladder, and it is recommended to wear clothing that allows easy access to the entire abdominal region. Medicare provides a rebate for ultrasound during the first and second trimester, and when there is a clinical concern.


    During the first trimester an ultrasound can determine the gestational age, if the patient doesn’t know her last menstrual period (LMP).  The First Trimester Screen (FTS) and Nuchal Translucency Scan is performed between 12 weeks and 14 weeks to test for any chromosomal abnormalities. This scan does not directly diagnose an abnormality, but predicts the likelihood of one being present, and can suggest further investigation.

    If the patient has had symptoms such as bleeding or pain during the first trimester, an ultrasound can determine whether the pregnancy is in the correct position within the uterus, or whether there has been a miscarriage.

    Medicare will provide a rebate for one or more scans during this period if certain clinical criteria are met.


    During the second trimester, a Morphology Scan (18-22 weeks) is used to check fetal growth, numerous important organs such as the spine, heart, brain and kidneys, placental site, and amniotic fluid volume. During the morphology scan, the sonographer will check for signs of a possible genetic problem. All Australian women are encouraged to have a morphology scan, and Medicare will provide a rebate for one or more scans during this period depending on the clinical situation and whether an obstetrician or GP refers the patient.


    During the third trimester, an ultrasound can check the fetal position, placental appearance and site, how much fluid is around the baby, fetal well-being and the baby’s growth compared with previous scans and the expected date of delivery.

    Whether Medicare will provide a rebate for one or more scans during this period, depends on meeting certain clinical criteria and whether an obstetrician or GP refers the patient.


    Our Radiologist will interpret the ultrasound images and provide you referring doctor with a comprehensive report. The results of your scan will be sent directly to your referring Doctor, and it is very important you book a timely follow-up appointment to discuss.


    ln addition to our diagnostic obstetric ultrasound service, we also offer elective 3D/4D Ultrasound.

    3D Ultrasound gives us the ability to see the surface of your baby to look at beautiful facial features, fingers and toes. 4D simply means watching your baby’s expressions and movements as they happen in real-time. The best time for this scan is between 26 and 30 weeks when your baby has sufficient fat under their skin and is still relatively high in the uterus. A 4D scan is not a medically indicated scan and therefore attracts no Medicare rebate, and will require an additional referral from your doctor.


    Ultrasound is a safe examination which provides excellent imaging without any known risks. Our staff use ultrasound with care to ensure that patients benefit from what ultrasound offers, with minimum risk. At South Coast Radiology we employ experienced, qualified sonographers accredited with the Australian Sonographer Accreditation Registry, and invest in the latest equipment to ensure patients receive the very best patient care.

One of our qualified obstetric sonographers, who have all the necessary education and experience to be licensed by Medicare to provide medical ultrasound examinations, will conduct your 4D ultrasound scan. Additionally, all have been trained in 3D/4D imaging techniques and have extensive obstetric experience.

Our sonographers are dedicated to giving you and your family the most enjoyable 4D obstetric scan experience possible. The sole purpose of the scan is to give you an unforgettable introduction to the newest member of your family.

The best time to have a 4D scan is when you are between 26 and 30 weeks pregnant when your baby has sufficient fat under their skin to give a more rounded facial scan and also while your baby is still relatively high in your uterus.

Usually, but not always. lf your baby is persistently positioned face down (looking towards your spine) it may be difficult to see your baby’s face. If this occurs we will suggest a break with a short walk to encourage your baby to move positions. Every effort will be made to obtain the best possible images. However, success depends on baby’s age, position and the amount of surrounding fluid as well as Mum’s size.

Please note that the 4D scan is not a medically indicated scan and there is no Medicare rebate or private health fund rebate available. A separate referral will be required from your Doctor should you wish to have 4D ultrasound imaging performed. Our sonographers will only be able to perform 4D scans on patients who have had their 18-22 week morphology scan performed at one of our practices, to ensure that gestational age, fetal anomaly and wellbeing checks have been performed to our quality standard. lf an abnormality or concern about your baby’s wellbeing is suspected during the 4D scan, your Doctor will be contacted.

All 4D scans will have ‘still’ images and a movie of your baby moving in 3D saved to CD, for your convenience.

Fertility Screening Ultrasound

A Pelvic ultrasound is used to assess the female pelvic organs to establish if there is an underlying problem which may hinder your chances of conceiving naturally or for your fertility treatment.

If you are undergoing IVF treatment, your Doctor may request regular scans to monitor your IVF cycle for follicle tracking or to measure endometrial thickness.

Before Your Ultrasound

Your bladder must be full at the time of your appointment.  Empty your bladder (1) hour before your appointment, then drink one (1) litre of clear fluid or cordial.  Do not empty your bladder before your appointment unless really necessaryl

If you have had to fill your bladder for an ultrasound, please advise our reception staff if you are feeling too uncomfortable, or feel you may have to empty your bladder very soon. While we make every attempt to avoid delays, occasionally we might have to make allowances for urgent cases and this could cause unintended delays for other patients and appointments.

The sonographer may ask you to change into a gown to avoid spoiling your clothes with gel. Once you are safely positioned on the ultrasound couch, the sonographer will dim the lights for better viewing. Special gel is used between the transducer and your skin, to enable optimal transmission of the sound waves. The transducer is moved over the area of interest. You may be asked to roll onto your side or take a deep breath to optimise the images. If you experience any pain during the scan because of your position or the pressure of the transducer, you should advise the sonographer.

CFTS – Nuchal Translucency Scan

The Combined First Trimester Screen (CFTS) is a test for a chromosomal abnormality such as Downs Syndrome performed between 11–13+6 weeks of pregnancy. The test combines pathology results from a blood test and a nuchal translucency ultrasound scan, both matched to your age.

The CFTS correlates these findings with a likelihood risk to determine if you are at high risk of having a baby with a chromosomal abnormality, such as Downs Syndrome. The CFTS does not directly diagnose an abnormality, but predicts the likelihood of this type of abnormality being present.

Nuchal translucency scan

The nuchal translucency scan is part of an obstetric ultrasound examination performed between 11–13+6 weeks’ gestational age. Please make your appointment as soon as you receive the referral from your doctor to ensure you are booked during that period.   We recommend patients to book in between 12 and 13 weeks gestation.

The fetal gestation age is calculated from the first day of your last menstrual period (LMP) or from an earlier ultrasound-dating scan so please have this information available when you phone South Coast Radiology to make a booking.
All baby’s retain a small amount of fluid around the head and neck, called the nuchal translucency, at 11–13+6 weeks’ gestational age. The thickness of the nuchal translucency can be measured during your ultrasound scan. Usually, there is an increase in the nuchal translucency when the baby has a chromosomal abnormality.

All women regardless of age have a small risk of giving birth to a baby with a chromosomal abnormality. The FTS test assesses whether your risk is less than, equal to, or greater than the average risk for your age.

The nuchal translucency test is part of a non-invasive ultrasound study that provides information for your doctor about the relative risk of your baby having a chromosomal abnormality. Additional benefits of the ultrasound study include confirmation that the fetus is alive, accurate dating of the pregnancy, early diagnosis of major physical defects and the detection of a multiple pregnancy.

You will need to have a full bladder for the ultrasound examination. Empty your bladder one hour prior to the appointment, and then drink 500mls of fluid, finishing 30 minutes before your appointment time. If you know the date of your last period or have had an earlier dating scan, please inform the sonographer when you are taken in for your scan.

First, a transabdominal obstetric ultrasound is performed to assess fetal anatomy. Particular care is taken to measure the nuchal translucency. In approximately 10% of cases a transvaginal (internal) ultrasound scan might be required to gain a more accurate measurement.

A specialist sonographer accredited and licensed by the Fetal Medicine Foundation (FMF) in London will perform the ultrasound and a South Coast Radiology radiologist will report on the ultrasound examination, and provide the information needed to determine your individual risk.

The blood test measures two chemicals PAPP-A and free ß hCG. These chemicals are produced by the placenta and cross into your bloodstream. In Downs Syndrome pregnancies the levels of these chemicals in your bloodstream can be abnormal. Please note that a pathology company performs this test, not South Coast Radiology.

You should have you blood test taken when you are 10 weeks’ gestational age. The fetal gestation age is calculated from the first day of your last menstrual period (LMP) or from an earlier ultrasound-dating scan. Please inform pathology staff that you are having a nuchal translucency ultrasound at South Coast Radiology and advise them of the location. The pathology lab will forward your results so these are available at the time of your scan.

Your ultrasound together with a copy of the report will be delivered to your doctor on the following working day. Your result may also be available for collection at the completion of the scan.

FTS is the most accurate first-trimester screening test for chromosomal abnormalities currently available. A low risk cannot exclude Downs Syndrome or other chromosomal disorders, as it is not a diagnostic test. If you choose to have the nuchal translucency alone, the detection rate is approximately 75–80%. If you have the combined FTS the detection rate improves to approximately 90%. The test can also give a false high-risk score for a baby that does not have a chromosomal abnormality. This false positive result will occur in approximately 5% of pregnancies tested. Your doctor will still require you to have an 18–20 week morphology ultrasound to assess foetal anatomy and growth, the cervix and placental location.

The result only gives an indirect indication of your baby’s likelihood of a chromosomal abnormality.
A low-risk score does not mean there is no risk, and a high-risk score does not mean that your baby definitely has a chromosomal abnormality.
To acquire a correct diagnosis of a chromosomal abnormality, a direct diagnostic test such as chorionic villus sampling (CVS) or amniocentesis is needed. Your doctor will refer you to an obstetrician who specialises in this field if you need further testing.

To complete our records and quality assurance regarding our staff’s technique, and to contribute to the ongoing 11–13+6 week study by the Fetal Medicine Foundation, we need to know the outcome of your pregnancy. Could you please complete the form given to you by our staff and return this in the reply paid envelope. Your cooperation in this matter is greatly appreciated. With your help, we can continue to monitor and improve future information provided for pregnant women. The sonographer will give you an opportunity to ask any questions you might have about the nuchal translucency scan.

Make an appointment online or call our dedicated bookings line