How Soon Can You Have a 3D Ultrasound?

3D ultrasounds are a way to see your unborn baby in more depth than a traditional black-and-white 2D ultrasound that you get in a medical office. Many women are now turning to 3D ultrasounds to get a glimpse of what their little one’s features look like before the birth. This is a novelty-type experience versus the diagnostic experience of a 2D black-and-white ultrasound. If you are considering having a 3D ultrasound during your pregnancy, you may wonder how soon you can have one.


Early ultrasounds (those done less than 12 weeks along) are often done with a transvaginal scan. According to, the specially designed probes used in transvaginal scans provide better images in early pregnancy than other type of ultrasounds 1.

Doppler or 3D ultrasounds are typically used after the first trimester of pregnancy (12+ weeks). The earliest it is suggested to have a Doppler or 3D ultrasound is during this time. If you try having a 3D or even a Doppler ultrasound prior to the end of the first trimester, the image of the baby may not be clear enough for viewing.

It is suggested by that the ideal time to have a 3D ultrasound is between 24 and 34 weeks of pregnancy 2. This is because at around 24 weeks or so, babies begin to put on ‘brown fat,’ giving them a pleasingly plump appearance. 27 or 28 weeks gestation is even more ideal because the baby still has a bit of space to move around, versus the later weeks when the baby becomes squashed inside the uterus.

If you are considering a 3D ultrasound during your pregnancy, you may get one as early as 12 weeks if you elect to. However, to get the typical plump baby face appearance that you see in most 3D ultrasound pictures, it is suggested that you wait until later on in your second trimester, when the baby has a more pleasing appearance. But remember, after about 34 weeks, the baby becomes cramped in the small quarters and you may not get an ideal picture.