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Back in February last year, a debate about choosing your baby’s gender was sparked by Chrissy Tiegen and John Legend revealing that they choose for their baby, Luna, to be born a girl. Understandably, this led many parents-to-be to question how this was possible and if they could do the same.

To answer the question: yes, choosing your baby’s gender is now possible due to the introduction of Preimplantation Genetic Screening (PGS) and Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD). However, this only becomes an option to couples under certain circumstances. The gender selection procedure only becomes available to couples who want to avoid passing sex-linked genetic disorders onto their children, such as Haemophilia in males and Rett Syndrome in females. 

However, in some circumstances, it becomes available to parents who would also like to ‘balance’ their family by having a child of each gender. Hormone tests are also run to check the client’s fertility and age limits are sometimes implemented. Some clinics will not consider clients unless they are married or already have at least one child of the opposite sex they’re trying for.

Methods of Gender Selection


The most accurate methods of choosing your baby’s gender can be very expensive and typically mean the mother-to-be has to undergo invasive infertility treatments, alongside taking fertility drugs with potential side effects. 

In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) is one of the main procedures which allows gender selection. IVF is a method of fertilization outside of the womb, starting with a round of fertility drugs which help your ovaries create more than the natural amount of eggs (typically one per month). In an IVF procedure, the patient is placed under anesthetic before the doctor inserts an ultra sound probe through the vagina to check the ovaries and follicles. A thin needle is then inserted through the vagina wall to remove the eggs from the follicles.

The next step is for the extracted eggs to be fertilized in a Petri dish. Once the eggs become embryos after 3-5 days, they are inserted back into the patient’s uterus. If you’re younger than 35 and your embryos are healthy, no more than two are usually transferred.


Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis and Preimplantation Genetic Screening


The baby gender selection process happens during the IVF procedure, where one or two cells are removed from the embryo and tested for genetic or chromosomal disorders. Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD) and Preimplantation Genetic Screening (PGS) can be used to screen the embryos and predict the baby’s gender. Parents who are hoping to avoid gender-linked disorders usually opt for PGD as the test exposes any underlying conditions the baby may have. By changing the gender of the baby, the prospective parents hope to avoid this disorder. 

Preimplantation Genetic Screening is typically used by patients to check if their baby has down syndrome, or are hoping to ‘balance’ their family. Both tests are almost 100% accurate at determining the gender of the baby, and any remaining embryos are frozen so they can be used in the future if the couple decides to make more children.

The advancement of science truly is something to marvel at, but as these methods can be expensive and invasive, waiting to find out the gender of your child can be just as exciting. Wondering what your baby will be is one of the most magical parts of carrying a child and the long awaited day of the gender reveal is a milestone in the pregnancy. Here at First Encounters, we offer gender scans from just 16 weeks, so you don’t have to wait too long either. 

The earlyAssure™ option is a scan package we offer to parents who may be worried about the pregnancy as it can identify potential issues with the baby from as early as 8 weeks. Click here to find out more information and book your earlyAssure™ scan.


Why Have I got Heartburn During Pregnancy?


As your baby develops you may find that it is more than just your desire to meet them that’s burning. Heartburn during pregnancy is a frequent occurrence and can be recognised by a burning sensation that resides all the way from your breastbone to your lower throat. Many mothers experience heartburn for the first time during pregnancy and although it is quite uncomfortable, it is usually harmless. The reason heartburn occurs so frequently during pregnancy is due to the placenta producing the hormone progesterone. 

Progesterone is usually your friend throughout pregnancy, helping to prevent miscarriages through thickening the uterine lining, and promoting your natural health by reminding you to provide nutrients for your baby. However, this does not mean that progesterone won’t cause you pain from time to time. 

As it relaxes the muscles of the uterus and the valve that separates the oesophagus from the stomach, it also allows gastric acids to flow back up to the oesophagus, causing the nasty burning sensation. Your wiggling baby also contributes to your heartburn by placing pressure on the stomach and increasing the chance of acids being pushed into the oesophagus.

What can I do to Stop this Heartburn? 


1. Find out what triggers it


The first thing you can do is make a note each time you have heartburn of what you’ve previously had to eat or drink. Certain foods tend to directly impact heartburn during pregnancy, such as acidic foods, greasy foods, spicy foods, caffeine, fizzy drinks and chocolate. If you can figure out what is causing your heartburn, you can try to eliminate it from your diet and relieve the pain. 

2. Try to avoid big meals


Big meals increase the chance of heartburn, as food does not digest as well or move as quickly during pregnancy. It is better to eat several small meals throughout the day, taking your time to eat and chewing thoroughly. 

3. Take care when you sleep


Keeping your upper body elevated while you sleep can help stop your stomach acids from reaching the oesophagus. Try to also avoid eating anything 3 hours before bedtime, as this decreases the chance of the stomach acids reaching you even further. 

4. Try chewing gum


After eating, chewing gum helps eliminate heartburn during pregnancy. This is due to the chewing motion producing saliva which can help neutralise the acid. 

5. Over the counter help


If all else fails, any over-the-counter antacid which contains magnesium or calcium may help relieve you of the pain. However, you should first check with your prenatal nurse before taking anything to ensure that it is safe for you during pregnancy. 


If your heartburn during pregnancy continues to persist after these methods, be sure to contact your health care provider to see if there are any prescription medicines you can take to help you. Be sure to contact them immediately if you spit up blood or have dark-coloured bowel movements as this is a sign of blood in your digestive tract. We hope these tips help you relieve some of the pain and enjoy every moment of your pregnancy!

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Baby Scan Offers

As it's nearly Christmas, we thought we'd embrace the spirit of generosity here at First Encounters Ultrasound and offer all the expectant parents out there a couple of new scan packages at super-low prices!

Details about our special scan offers can be found below. Be sure to book your scan sooner rather than later - we have a limited number of appointment slots, and these offers will only be available for so long!

genderWellbeing™

16 to 24 weeks | £49 | Book now >

Our genderWellbeing™ package includes both a gender scan and a wellbeing scan. This means that you can find out the sex of your unborn baby AND ensure that your pregnancy is progressing as expected.

This scan package also includes:
  • 4 x black and white photographs of your baby (2D)
  • 1 x gender reveal scratch card to give to friends/family
  • A short glimpse of your unborn baby in 4D
  • Photo2Fone™ (your scan images sent to your smartphone)

Custom4D™

24 to 32 weeks | £50 | Book now >

The Custom4D™ package is a truly great deal because it allows you to see your baby in stunning HDlive vision for just £50! You can also customise this package in any way you choose by paying to add extra souvenirs and add-ons to your experience. Whether you're looking for an affordable, no-frills baby bonding experience or a deluxe package that's specifically tailored to your preferences, this is the option for you!

Here are some examples of the souvenirs and other extras that you can add to your Custom4D™ experience:
  • Find out your baby's gender (+£10)
  • MP4 scan video and .jpg photos on USB stick (+£10)
  • Heartbeat bear (+£20)
  • Photo key ring (+£2.50 each)
  • Photo magnet (+£3.50 each)
  • Colour photographs (+£2.50 each)

Any questions about these baby scan offers? Give us a call on 02920 732671 or click here to browse our full list of available scan packages!

We offer a wide selection of scan packages here at First Encounters, and we realise that first-time visitors to our website may be a little uncertain as to which baby scan is right for them. We want to make sure that you have the best possible experience when you visit your nearest First Encounters clinic, and so we'd like to take a moment to explain the difference between each of our scan options.

Broadly speaking, our 11 available scan packages can be grouped into 3 different categories. These are as follows:

🤰 Reassurance Scans

These scans inspect your baby's growth and development, giving you extra peace of mind during your pregnancy.
  • Ensure that your pregnancy is viable
  • Check the health of your unborn baby
  • Spot any concerns or complications

Our Reassurance Scan Packages:

earlyAssure™ (8-13 weeks, £79)
2D viability, dating and reassurance scan. Includes 2 x black and white photographs.

growthAssure™ (14-40 weeks, £59)
2D growth, reassurance and wellbeing scan. Includes 2 x black and white photographs.


♀ Gender Scans

Find out whether you're having a boy or a girl!
  • Learn your baby's gender
  • 99.99% accurate
  • Available from 16 weeks

Our Gender Scan Packages:

pureGender™ (18-26 weeks, £39)
2D baby sexing scan. Includes 2 x black and white photographs.

gender'N'wellbeing™ (16-24 weeks, £49)
2D baby sexing and wellbeing scan. Includes 4 x black and white photographs.

gender'N'growth™ (16-32 weeks, £79)
2D sexing, growth, reassurance and wellbeing scan. Includes 4 x black and white photographs and a 4dGlimpse™ (a short glimpse of your baby in full 4D vision).


🚼 2D Bonding & Reassurance Scans

A wonderful bonding experience and a great way to check on your baby's development.
  • Ensure that there are no problems with your pregnancy
  • Option to find out the gender
  • Available from 16 weeks

Our 2D Bonding & Reassurance Scan Packages:

Premium2D (16-32 weeks, £99)
2D growth, reassurance and wellbeing scan with gender confirmation (optional). Also includes a video recording for you to take home.


👶 4D Bonding & Reassurance Scans

A detailed look into your baby's world - see your unborn child in detailed 4D vision!
  • State-of-the-art HDlive technology provides the ultimate bonding experience
  • Take home a range of wonderful souvenirs
  • Guaranteed re-scan if we can't get a good view of your baby

Our 4D Scan Packages:

Classic4D™ (24-32 weeks, £89)
4D bonding, reassurance, growth and wellbeing scan. Includes 4 x colour photographs. Gender confirmation optional.

Deluxe4D™ (24-32 weeks, £99)
4D bonding, reassurance, growth and wellbeing scan. Includes 4 x colour photographs, a photo key ring, and a 5 minute video recording to take home. Gender confirmation optional.

Superior4D™ (24-32 weeks, £129)
4D bonding, reassurance, growth and wellbeing scan. Includes 8 x colour photographs, 2 x photo key rings, and a 10 minute video recording to take home. Gender confirmation optional.

Ultimate4D™ (24-32 weeks, £159)
4D bonding, reassurance, growth and wellbeing scan. Includes 12 x colour photographs, 2 x photo key rings, a Heartbeat Bear, and a 10 minute video recording to take home. Gender confirmation optional.

Click here to book your First Encounters scan, or call 02920 732671 if you need any more information!
We all love a bargain, and if you're interested in booking a 4D baby scan and getting a breathtaking glimpse of your unborn baby's face, you may be tempted to visit a deals / vouchers website like Groupon or Wowcher to see what discounts are currently available online. Groupon in particular seems to be perpetually flooded with dirt-cheap 4D ultrasound packages, with providers sometimes cutting their prices by 50% or even more in the hope of filling up more scan slots.

However, before you book a discounted 4D scan through a Groupon or Wowcher deal, here are some things you should take into consideration:

Many of the scan providers on Groupon are fairly new companies.

Offering a heavily-discounted scan package through a website like Groupon is a popular way for new scan providers with no established market presence to 'get the word out', as it were. An eye-catching offer can be a good way to get people talking about your company, and the hope is that customers who get the cut-price package will come back later for a full-price scan and/or recommend the clinic to their friends and family members in future.

The problem for customers, however, is that brand new companies have no track record by which to judge them. Established scan providers tend to have lots of reviews online, but when you go to a recently-opened ultrasound clinic that's using Groupon and Wowcher to drive that initial burst of bookings, you may not have any way of knowing whether they are able to provide a safe, satisfactory scanning experience using the right methods and equipment. This could mean that the sonographer is unable to capture good-quality footage of your baby, and in the worst cases, it could even put you / your baby in danger (e.g. from electric shocks).

Scan time may be very limited, and you may not be offered a re-scan.

We've found that many providers who sell their scan packages for reduced prices compensate for this by packing as many scan slots into the day as possible. This means that each customer's scan period must be rigidly adhered to and that's not always conducive to a satisfactory scan experience. For example, if the company has allotted 10 minutes for your 4D scan and the sonographer finds upon commencing the scan that your baby is facing the wrong way, you may not have time to go for a walk and try again because this would cause you to overrun your 10-minute window and cut into the next customer's appointment.

When this happens, most companies would offer a re-scan on a different date, but the fine print on Groupon offers often includes a stipulation like this:

"If satisfactory imagery cannot be obtained, no re-scan will be offered."

This means that you would have to pay full price for another appointment if your first, discounted appointment did not yield satisfactory scan footage / photos.

Why choose First Encounters?

Here at First Encounters Ultrasound, we never run offers through websites like Groupon or Wowcher - all of our scan packages are priced as seen here. However, we believe that we provide an experience that's far superior to any you'll get through those websites. Here are just a few of the reasons why:
  • All of our scans are performed by qualified, experienced medical professionals.

  • We only use certified safe equipment from GE Healthcare.

  • Our appointment slots always include time for multiple scan attempts.

  • We always offer a complimentary re-scan if satisfactory imagery cannot be obtained on your first scan date.

  • Our reputation is second to none - just look at the reviews on our Facebook page!
Click here to book your First Encounters ultrasound scan package, or give us a call on 02920 732671 if you have any questions at all about the service we provide.