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Foundation funds new technology to benefit expectant moms

Bolingbrook – Expectant moms will be able to see a clearer picture of their unborn babies thanks to a four-dimensional ultrasound machine soon to arrive at Adventist Bolingbrook Hospital. The technology is a gift from the Bolingbrook Hospital Foundation, which last week authorized purchasing the $130,000 imaging machine.


More than 500 babies have been born at Adventist Bolingbrook Hospital since it opened in January, far exceeding hospital administrators’ initial projections. New projections estimate that more than 700 babies will be delivered by the year’s end. The four-dimensional ultrasound machine will be the hospital’s first.


“As more and more moms are choosing to give birth at Adventist Bolingbrook Hospital, they’ve come to expect the best technology and the most comfortable labor and delivery rooms in addition to quality patient care,” said Rick Mace, the hospital’s chief executive officer.


Ultrasound images are made by sending high-frequency sound waves into the mother’s body. The rebounding waves collectively produce an image, seen as a two-dimensional “slice” that has been the standard technology for the past 25 years. These images are often grainy and difficult to read. Three-dimensional images, however, depict multiple slices in a static picture; four-dimensional images depict multiple slices in a real-time moving picture.


Three- and four-dimensional technology is particularly helpful in detecting certain physical abnormalities and some genetic syndromes in the fetus early on in the pregnancy.


“This technology gives doctors and patients additional information about the baby’s development,” said Dr. James Rejowski, president of the medical staff at Adventist Bolingbrook Hospital and a member of the Bolingbrook Hospital Foundation’s board of directors. “For example, if a four-dimensional ultrasound shows that a baby will be born with cleft palate, parents can take those images to a surgeon even before the baby is born to discuss treatment options.”


Usually considered for use between the 19th week and 35th week of gestation, a four-dimensional ultrasound can provide additional information about the unborn baby’s traits and movement tendencies. Smiling and other facial expressions often can be detected at 20 weeks; beyond 24 weeks, they can be seen sucking their thumbs and sticking out their tongues. Because the images depicted in a four-dimensional ultrasound are so lifelike, another benefit of the technology is its ability to strengthen the bond between mother and child.


“Expectant mothers might be more encouraged to improve their diets and cease harmful behaviors such as drinking alcohol or smoking as a result of viewing these remarkable images of their unborn children,” said Ron Hawkins, a member of the Bolingbrook Hospital Foundation’s board of directors.