3D ultrasound was first developed in 1987 at Duke University by Olaf von Ramm and Stephen Smith, and has since been used as a popular tool in obstetric ultrasonography for viewing three-dimensional images of the fetus. If you’ve ever seen an image from a 3D ultrasound, you’ll know that they’re a little freaky looking, but also very cool! It gives a much more realistic image of the subject of the ultrasound, and is most commonly used in ultrasounds for pregnant women. As intriguing and exciting as the use of 3D ultrasound technology can be, there are a lot of myths out there about it. Here are five common myths that we’d like to debunk:

1) You can’t have a 3D ultrasound during the first 12 weeks of your pregnancy. This is actually incorrect. You can use 3D ultrasound technology during the very early stages of pregnancy, it’s just not particularly effective since the fetus is so small and does not usually have detectable facial features yet.

2) You need a full bladder for a 3D ultrasound session. People who have gotten traditional ultrasounds know that you always come with a full bladder. With 3D ultrasounds, however, it’s more effective if your bladder is empty, so don’t worry about spending the day of your appointment holding everything in!

3) The sound waves used in 3D ultrasounds are stronger than the ones used in 2D ultrasounds. Believe it or not, both 2D and 3D ultrasounds use the same sound waves. The only difference is in the final image, which is reconstructed on a computer to be transformed into 3D.

4) 3D ultrasounds are better at determining the gender of your baby. The ability to tell a baby’s gender is completely dependent on the position the child is in at the time of the ultrasound, some of which show better with 2D imaging and others that show better with 3D. To be safe, you can have your doctor try using both to determine the gender of your child.

5) 3D ultrasound exposes the fetus to radiation. Although many ultrasounds increase the temperature of the tissue, the slight temperature increase does not cause any permanent harm to the fetus.

The next time you go for a 3D ultrasound, keep these in mind! The use of this technology can be truly beautiful and is typically risk free.