CBS 58 investigates the safety of prenatal photos

The sonogram has come a long way baby.

In a doctor's office the image, usually in two dimensions, looks at the heart, lungs and skeletal structure.

But a growing number of photography studios are using 3-d imaging to give the unborn a face.

It's a trend that's becoming more and more popular despite FDA warnings that moms should steer clear.

CBS 58 News recently visited Baby Preview at 5648 Broad Street in Greendale.

First time mom, Rashida, is overcome with happiness when she gets a clear picture of her son London's face in utero.

\"It's amazing,\" Rashida declares. \"My family's from New York and I send it to them and my mother, she's fascinated.\"

Photographer Noelle Lorraine bounces sound waves off the amniotic fluid. 

She uses  4-d video to then rewind and find usable 3-d still images.

She's been in business for a decade, first with her aunt in Wauwatosa before moving the studio to its current location.

\"I am not a doctor,\" Lorraine tells CBS 58's Michele McCormack. \"I'm a photographer of the unborn. I take pretty pictures of unborn babies.\"

Over the years the Food and Drug Administration has issued warnings telling mothers that sonograms for entertainment purposes pose a small but unnecessary risk.

\"The research in animals shows a heating of tissues and bubbles in tissue,\" explained Dr. Judith Hibbard who is Vice Chair of Obstetrics at the Maternal Fetal Care Center at Froedtert Hospital. \"Nobody's observed that in human fetuses, but we don't know if in the future someone will document a harmful effect.\"

\"There's no proven danger.\" counters Lorraine. \"I do have formal training. I've been doing it a long time and I would never do anything that would hurt a baby.\"

Baby Preview's machine gets regular maintenance and customers have to be under prenatal care.

Mothers sign waivers with the understanding that this is not a medical visit.

We met a pair of teenagers with an unplanned pregnancy and the grandmother.

They say the 3-d sonogram has given them peace of mind in a difficult situation.

\"I was very upset,\" explained Jill, the grandmother. \"They're young,  a long life ahead of them. When I could see Isabelle (the baby) smiling, it made me realize everything will be okay.\"

Dr. Hibbard still worries. \"My question to them would be is it worth the risk to see the fetus for entertainment when we don't know the implications down the line?\"

Lorraine says she believes in what she's doing and sees the bonding firsthand.

\"When families walk in they have an unborn baby. When they leave, they have a member of the family.\"

For more information on Baby Preview

For information on the Maternal Fetal Care Center at Froedtert Hospital

For a look at the FDA warning

or glance at this FDA report

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