In this age of instant uploads and social media sharing, we realise that many of our customers wish to access and share their scan images quickly and efficiently via their mobile phones & laptops.

 
In order to give expectant parents both a physical keepsake and an easy-to-access digital copy of their scan images, we have decided to introduce a brand new photocloud service for First Encounters customers. This service allows you to access the scan images that come with your chosen package on your personal devices, enabling you to instantly view, download, and share your precious imagery. You can print and distribute your images from our photocloud™ however you like!
 
You will be able to access your scan images via photocloud™ for up to one month after the date of your scan, and we try to upload your images to the photocloud™ within one hour of your scan finishing. This service is available with selected scan packages at both our Cardiff and Bristol clinics.
 
Click here to browse our full range of scan packages, or if you've already had your scan with us - head over to the photocloud™ page and use your unique password to access your photos!
We get asked all sorts of questions here at First Encounters. When is the best time to have a scan? Are 4D ultrasound scans safe? Should I find out the sex of my baby? These are all common queries; however, the most common question of all has nothing to do with how our scans work. Rather, it's related to the cost of our 4D ultrasound packages. 
 
Many people think that 3D/4D scans will be too expensive for them, but most are pleasantly surprised when they see our price list. Obviously, the exact cost depends on which package you select, but whether you want a no-frills 4D scan or the full baby bonding experience, we think you'll find our prices very reasonable indeed.

So how much does a First Encounters 4D ultrasound scan actually cost?

Anything from £99 to £169. Here's a quick list of the 4D packages we offer, with prices shown in brackets:
  • Classic4D&Growth™ (£99) - Includes full growthAssure™ report, plus 4 glossy colour photographs and a photo key ring. Gender confirmation optional.
  • Deluxe4D&Growth™ (£109) - Includes full growthAssure™ report, plus 5-minute video recording, 4 glossy colour photographs, and photo key ring. Gender confirmation optional.
  • Ultimate4D&Growth™ (£169) - Our top 4D ultrasound package offers everything an expectant parent could ask for, including 12 glossy colour photographs, a 10-minute MP4 scan video, all scan photos on a USB stick, a heartbeat teddy, 2 key rings, a photo magnet, and gender confirmation if requested.

4D footage is amazing if you want to bond with your baby. We were able to capture this adorable little baby smiling! 

As you can see, we offer a huge range of 4D ultrasound scans that are sure to suit whatever requirements and budget you have! Take a look at the full range of 2D and 4D scans we offer here by clicking the button below or give us a call on 02920 732671 to book your 4D scan today!

View All Scan Packages >

Given that pregnant women in the UK receive two (and, in some cases, more than two) free ultrasound scans on the NHS, some people may be a little unsure as to what private scan providers like First Encounters bring to the table. How do private baby scans differ from their government-funded counterparts? Is a hospital scan still necessary if you're planning to undergo a private scan anyway?
 
 
Well, first of all, we'd like to make one thing perfectly clear: our scans are not intended to replace the dating and anomaly scans offered by the NHS.  Under no circumstances do we recommend getting a private scan instead of a standard hospital scan; instead, services like ours are intended to complement the crucial NHS scans, allowing you to monitor the vital signs across a longer period and enhancing the pregnancy experience for you and those closest to you. 

Monitoring your pregnancy

Here are some examples of the data that our sonographers will record when you come in for your private scan:
  • Growth measurements
  • Weight measurements
  • Baby position
  • Placenta position
  • Fluid levels (low fluid levels can be dangerous and may lead to early delivery)
Your NHS scans will provide you with a lot of information and spot any problems that present themselves at the time, but augmenting your basic scans with an additional private scan allows you to monitor your baby's growth across a broader period. This means that we can not only give you continued peace of mind but also catch any problems that develop after your hospital scans.

Enhancing your experience

While pregnancy can be a very stressful experience, it is also a time of great joy and excitement, both for the expectant parent(s) and for their nearest and dearest. This is the side of pregnancy that First Encounters aims to enhance - here are some of the ways in which we do it:
  • Comfortable, modern clinics with state-of-the-art equipment
  • Space for up to 6 guests to observe your scan in our comfortable viewing area
  • 4D scan packages that let you glimpse your baby's world in incredible detail
  • A range of gender scan options (note that some NHS hospitals do not offer gender confirmation)
  • A wide variety of souvenirs to choose from, including our adorable Heartbeat Teddy & Confetti Shooters
These are the things that set our scans apart from standard hospital scans (and, indeed, from those available in other private clinics). While the NHS dating and anomaly scans are still a crucial part of ensuring that your pregnancy goes as smoothly as possible, undergoing a private baby scan is a different - and hopefully far more enjoyable - experience altogether.
 
 

 During pregnancy, mothers-to-be can experience a lot of concerns and worries surrounding a number of things, whether it’s to do with their mood, health or what they can and can’t do. One thing that almost every expectant mother thinks about at some point before or throughout their pregnancy, however, is their weight. How much will they gain while pregnant? How will their post-baby body look? Can their pregnancy weight be easily lost? All of these questions are perfectly fair to ask, but it should be made clear that every pregnant woman gains weight differently and the amount of weight gained is dependent on several factors. So, if you find yourself asking ‘how much weight should I gain during pregnancy?’ There’s a number of things you need to know to have a clearer idea of what to expect.

As all pregnant women have different bodies, there are no clear guidelines or measurements on how much weight you should gain. The main thing all pregnant women should aim for is to keep a healthy and safe weight for themselves and their baby. Only some of the weight gained during pregnancy is due to an increase in body fat, with a number of other things contributing to overall weight gain. These include:

  • The placenta
  • Fluid retention
  • Amniotic fluid
  • The baby
  • Increased levels of blood

Average weight gain during pregnancy

Commonly, women will gain between 10-12.5kg (22-26lbs) during their pregnancy. This number, however, is dependent on how much a woman weighs before they get pregnant. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, these are the weights that women with a specific BMI (Body Mass Index) can expect to normally gain:

  • Underweight with a BMI < 18.5 – recommended to gain between 13-18kg (28-49 lbs)
  • Normal weight with a BMI 18.5-24.9 – recommended to gain between 11-16kg (25-35lbs)
  • Overweight with a BMI 25-29.9 – recommended to gain between 7-11kg (15-25 lbs)
  • Obese with a BMI 30 > - recommended to gain 5-9kg (11-20 lbs)

As these are only recommendations, do not get overly concerned. Your doctor and midwife will be able to provide information and assurance about what is right for you. If you are within the under or overweight category, it is essential that you seek extra support and care during your pregnancy.

Managing weight while pregnant

If you are a woman that has always had an active lifestyle, there are no problems with continuing throughout your pregnancy. However, if you are not an active person, taking part in gentle exercise for 15 minutes a day, three times a week slowly building to 30 minutes, will be sufficient to manage your weight. It’s important to remember that your goals aren’t to get as fit as possible, you are merely trying to stay physically active, so you do not have to worry about partaking in particularly strenuous activities. For many, physical exercise may seem unappealing. If this is the case for you, there are still plenty of things that you can do to keep your weight down. For example, avoid sitting down for prolonged periods of time. Attempt to walk and stand as much as possible – take the stairs rather than an elevator or get off at an earlier bus stop.

Your diet will also have an impact on the amount of weight that you gain. Therefore, it is important to try to eat well and healthy and not always think that ‘you’re eating for two’. The key is to make small gradual changes to improve your activity levels and diet – again, do not hesitate to ask your doctor or midwife for help and advice.

Complications

If you are either underweight or overweight during your pregnancy, you run the risk of experience a number of complications that can affect the health of both yourself and your baby. According to the NHS, gaining too much weight can result in blood pressure increases as well as the following:

  • Gestational diabetes – This is caused by increased levels of glucose in the blood, which increases the chances of having a large baby.
  • Pre-eclampsia – This is caused by increased blood pressure, in most cases, this is mild and results in no trouble but it can have the potential to be serious.

We hope this blog has answered your questions regarding weight gain during pregnancy! While here, why not browse our range of scan packages!? From 2D for 4D baby scans, take a glimpse at what your bundle of joy is going to look like with the help of First Encounters!

Browse Our Range of Scan Packages >

A common first sign of pregnancy is tenderness of the breasts and from this point onwards you can expect to experience a variety of other changes. Your breasts, much like the rest of your body, need to prepare for the arrival of your little one.

  1. Initially, a flood of hormones will start to change the breast tissue so it’s able to make milk, this can make your breasts feel swollen and tender. A common misconception is that your breasts will grow to a humongous size. This isn’t always the case, but you should definitely expect them to change in size.

 

  1. As your breasts grow, you might notice that veins and glands appear more noticeable, your nipples and areola might become a few shades darker too. All of these changes are completely normal. At this point, you might want to consider going for a bra fitting as you may not be able to fit in your usual bras anymore. Cotton, stretchy & comfortable bras are ideal during your pregnancy, and will likely come in handy after the birth when you are breastfeeding!

 

  1. Breast lumps are very common during pregnancy but can cause you to worry when you find them. According to breastcancercare.org.uk, the likelihood of a woman of child-bearing age, or bearing a child, developing breast cancer is highly unlikely, however, it's recommended that you have any new breast lumps checked by your GP, which will also put your mind at ease.

 

  1. After sixteen weeks of pregnancy, your breasts are capable and ready to produce milk. At this time, it’s likely that you might experience some fluid leaking from your nipples. We recommend purchasing some washable nipple pads that you can place inside your bra if you’re worried about people noticing.

 

We hope you have found this blog helpful, if you experience any abnormal discomfort, or you notice any unusual changes in your breasts during your pregnancy, you should contact your doctor.

If you’d like to come and see us for a First Encounters ultrasound during your pregnancy then click the button below to view our different scan packages.

Our Scan Packages >