For expectant parents, 9 months can seem like an eternity to meet your new baby. Just ask our own sports anchor Jamie Apody and her husband Paul.
However, modern technology is offering them the next best thing to seeing your baby at birth.
"I think he looks like Paul," Jamie said when they got a glimpse of their baby before birth. They say it wasn't just curiosity, but a way for them to form a greater bond with their baby.
"I think it personalized it a lot. I think it made it more real and I think now when we are thinking about our son. We have a face to picture which is crazy!" Jamie says.
"You already feel that attachment, if I didn't see that picture I wouldn't know what the baby looks like."
Companies like Bond with Me have medical sonographers with 3-D technology that shows the image of the baby in great depth and detail. There's also 4-D that shows movement of the enhanced images in real time. Although Jamie and Paul went to their doctor for the recommended 8, 12 and 20 week ultrasounds, their 4-D video done at 30 weeks was a much different experience.
"Once you hit 30 weeks and the baby has got fat on him and his chubby cheeks and you can make out his features and you can see who he looks like---it blew my mind," Jamie says.
The 4-D ultrasound done outside a doctor's office can also provide a bonding experience for siblings and other family members. In most medical settings only the parents are allowed to sit in on the ultrasound. Kristine Williams went to Bond with Me so her two older children could join in on the experience.
"I love how he has his hands in his mouth and I can see him open his eyes and it's really just amazing," Kristine told us. "He is adorable and I just wanted to jump through there and hold him already."
Although Dr. Beverly Coleman does not believe additional ultrasounds pose any risk to the health of the baby she stresses these ultrasounds are for entertainment purposes only and should not replace any kind of prenatal care. Also, parents should be careful not to overexpose the unborn baby to the energy emitted by the ultrasound.
"If you are scanning for an extended amount of time because you are trying to get a certain position that is exposure to the fetus that may not be necessary," Dr. Coleman said.
It is recommended parents wait until between the 26th and 30th week of pregnancy to get a 3- or 4-D ultrasound and even at that stage there is a chance images may not accurately portray what their baby looks like.
"For a 3-D picture to look really good you need to have amniotic fluid in front of the baby's face, so if they get their face pushed up against the side of the mom or against the placenta it can make the face look distorted. A lot of times what makes a good 3-D ultrasound is the baby's position."
But for Jamie and Paul, the 4-D ultrasound has just added to the thrill of their 9-month journey.
"I've found since I've been pregnant that these ultrasounds are addicting. They really are because any chance you have to see him is like watching a miracle."Doctors also say to use a company only with board certified technicians. Ultrasound packages start at $99 at Bond with Me.