Prenatal portraits offered at Pekin Hospital

By Joe Bennett

July 29, 2013 Updated Jul 29, 2013 at 10:19 AM CDT

PEKIN, Ill. -- Prenatal care providers at Pekin Hospital have found a non-clinical use for their state-of-the-art ultrasound machine.

Premier Obstetrics and Gynecology, part of the Prohealth Medical Group and Pekin Hospital, offers an increasingly popular procedure to parents in central Illinois.

"Oh, everybody loves it," said Dr. Eric Reinertson. “All the patients just love it, the families love it. It's awesome to see. I'm amazed by it each time that I see it."

Three-dimensional ultrasounds have been available in larger cities for more than a decade, often provided by non-medical businesses offering the earliest possible prenatal portrait.

Premier OBGYN offers the service from trained medical technicians.

"3D actually renders an image of what the actual surface would be of the baby," said Dr Reinertson.

The image shows details of the baby's features and facial expressions.

One of the service packages offers a 4D sonogram on a flash drive.

"Then you get an actual movement of the baby, and you can actually see the baby moving, yawning, drinking," said Dr. Reinertson.

The local availability of 3D and 4D sonograms is so recent that Elizabeth and Kevin Chance could only get a black and white two-dimensional image of their now 16-month-old daughter.

Now that Kevin Junior is expected to be here October 4, it is the perfect chance for the Chances to see their son in living color.

"It's real, like the 3Ds are close-up and you can see everything,” said Elizabeth Chance. “I mean, you can see everything on him."

"It really does help bonding wise,” said Kevin Chance. “Because you can see the baby before he even comes out, and that helps you know what to expect."

"I think that can do nothing but help them because they have a miniature model right here of what's going to be coming in a couple of months," said Dr. Reinertson.

Though the ultrasounds are performed by medical professionals, the procedure at Premier Obstetrics and Gynecology offers no clinical benefits and is not covered by any insurance.

It is purely an entertainment service for expectant mothers and fathers who are ready to take on the title of proud parents.