If you or your partner are embarking on the journey into pregnancy, you may have already come across the term “sonography”.

A vital part of the process, the sonography test – also known as an ultrasound scan – helps monitor the development of both the uterus and the foetus during pregnancy, ensuring mother and baby are healthy.

From a parental perspective, the resulting images also provide expecting mums and dads the opportunity to see their unborn child for the very first time.

At First Encounters, we know how momentous this can be and offer a variety of scan options to make your first encounter with your child as memorable as possible.

Read on to find out how…

 

what is sonography,what does a sonographer do

 

What’s the difference between sonogram and ultrasound?

The textbook definition of sonography refers to it as the high-frequency sound technique used to create internal images of the body for analysis and diagnosis. However, in discussing sonography in the context of pregnancy, it can become a little confusing.

The confusion stems from the fact that US terminology often differs from the lingo used in the UK. As such, a Google search that returns sonography pages from both sides of the Atlantic can often include a mixed bag of British terms and Americanisms.

For Brits, the terms “baby scan” and “ultrasound image” are commonly used in place of the US word “sonogram”. So, if you come across the term “sonogram” in your online journey, chances are it’s in reference to the ultrasound image.

 

What does a sonographer do?

Also known as an ultrasound technician, a sonographer is the medical professional who operates the ultrasound equipment. It’s this person who will conduct the scan and produce the images of your unborn baby.

During a pregnancy scan, the sonographer directs high-frequency sound waves to the relevant area using the ultrasound equipment, manoeuvring the probe over the womb to provide the images of the unborn baby.

 

Sonography at First Encounters

At First Encounters, our sonography staff are highly trained professionals and conduct countless scans over the course of a working week. As a result, they are well-versed in the art of ultrasound scanning.

What’s more, we use the very latest ultrasound technology to provide you with state-of-the-art visual of your baby’s development, offering a wide selection of 2D scans, as well as 3D and even 4D experiences, using cutting-edge HD Live technology.

Our sonography techniques are designed to be minimally invasive with comfort and relaxation a key part of the service. We believe that these are moments to be cherished forever and pride ourselves in helping you create memories that will last a lifetime.

The revolutionary equipment available at First Encounters is truly second to none with an environment to match. For an ultrasound experience like no other, First Encounters is undoubtedly top of the list.

 

For more information on sonography and our ultrasound scans, why not drop us a line? Call today on 02920 732671 or get in touch online using the button below.

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who to bring to ultrasound

Whether it’s your first ultrasound, gender reveal or 4D scan appointment, deciding who to bring along to your ultrasound scans can be difficult. Many women are torn between keeping their ultrasound scans a private, intimate affair by bringing only a select few, and sharing their special moments with all of their nearest and dearest.

Unfortunately, some hospitals have strict policies on the number of people you can bring to your ultrasound scans, and some don’t allow children into the room either.

But here at First Encounters, we offer space for you and up to 6 guests (including children) to attend your ultrasound scan

Your Significant Other

Ok, this one may seem like a bit of a no brainer, but it goes without saying that your significant other should take top priority when it comes to deciding who to bring to your ultrasound.

Significant others can sometimes feel a little left out during your pregnancy. After all, you’re the one carrying the baby and feeling the full effects of pregnancy while they take a more supportive, secondary role.

Having your significant other by your side for your ultrasound scans (when possible), will give them the opportunity to see and hear how the baby is progressing, making them feel much more involved in your pregnancy.

Taking Children to your Ultrasound

If the baby on board already has a sibling or two waiting to meet them, its likely that you’ll want to share this wonderful experience with them and make them feel involved in your pregnancy too.  

It can be hard for young children, especially, to grasp the idea that ‘mummy is having a baby ‘. Having baby’s siblings involved in your pregnancy helps them understand what’s happening and, more often than not, it sparks excitement about the arrival of their baby brother or sister. That’s why your children are more than welcome to attend your First Encounter’s ultrasound scan.

We know that it can be difficult to find childcare, and in circumstances where children can’t attend ultrasound scans, significant others and other family members can be forced to miss your ultrasound as they take on the role of baby sitter. We definitely don’t want that to be the case for you here!

Bring the Grandparents!

Whether you want to bring baby’s grandparents or your own grandparents along to your ultrasound, getting the older generations involved in your scans can be an unbelievably touching experience. Grandparents are often just as excited as you are to meet their new grand or great-grandchildren, so it’s worth giving them a thought when choosing who to invite.

With up to 6 guest spots available at First Encounters, you can invite your parents, your grandparents, your significant other and even a cousin along to share the special experience with you, if you like. We think that, particularly if you’re having a 4D scan, bringing guests in the room to meet your baby will be an unforgettable experience.

Book an Ultrasound Scan Now!

If you have any questions or if you’d like to book your scan over the phone, call us on 02920 732671.

For many women, the ultrasound scan is a stand-out moment of pregnancy, providing the mother with the very first glimpses of their new addition in the making.

It’s an exciting time for mothers-to-be but can also be a daunting prospect for those experiencing first-time pregnancies.

To help put your mind at ease and prepare you for what to expect, here’s a handy overview of a typical baby scan schedule during pregnancy.

8 to 14-week scan

Also known as a dating scan, the first scan of your baby is carried out between week 8 and week 14 of the pregnancy.

This will typically take place at your local hospital in the ultrasound department, performed by a trained sonographer. The scan itself usually lasts around 30 minutes or less.

During the scan process, a number of key facts are identified, including the due date and confirmation of twins, triplets, etc.

If your dating scan takes place between weeks 11 and 13, the sonographer will also commonly perform the first part of the combined test to screen for Down’s, Edward’s and Patau’s syndromes.

This is called the nuchal translucent scan (NT scan) and involves largely the same processes as the standard dating scan.

18 to 20-week scan

Despite being commonly referred to as a “20-week scan”, the second scan can actually take place anywhere between 18 and 20 weeks.

It’s also known as a mid-pregnancy scan due to the fact that it takes place right in the middle of the average length of pregnancy (40 weeks).

Another name for the 20-week scan is an anomaly scan, as the primary purpose of this screening is to ensure your baby is developing as it should be.

32-week scan

Sometimes, the positioning of the placenta at 20 weeks can make it difficult for the sonographer to take accurate measurements of your baby’s development. This is typically due to the placenta overlapping the cervix.

If this is the case, you’ll be booked in for a follow-up scan at 32 weeks. By this time the placenta should have naturally moved out of the way, allowing for an unobstructed scan to take place.

42-week scan

By the time you reach the 42-week mark, you will have likely reached the end of your pregnancy and, hopefully, have a healthy new-born baby on your hands.

However, in the event that you haven’t gone in to labour by this point and have opted against induction, you will be offered regular monitoring.

This will involve additional ultrasound scans to check everything is okay within the womb and ensure no issues have developed.

Baby scans with First Encounters

Outside of the standard baby scan schedule routinely carried out by the NHS, First Encounters offers expecting parents the ultimate peace of mind with our own specialist scans over the course of your pregnancy.

Providing advanced details, reassuring facts and general progress updates of your baby’s development through pregnancy, these scans can be scheduled at any point throughout the pregnancy, from 8 weeks all the way up to full-term.

Reassurance Scans

Offering additional information for those looking to put their mind at rest, our Reassurance Scans are specifically designed to provide you with real-time facts and details about your baby prior to and outside of NHS appointments. 

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Gender Scans

For the ultimate gender reveal experience, First Encounters provides you with everything you need for your gender revelation plans, including a comprehensive scan as well as gender reveal props, should you wish to find out the sex at a later date in private. This gender identification service is available as early as 16 weeks.

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4D Bonding & Reassurance Scans

Available as early as 18 weeks, our 4D scans offer a truly awe-inspiring glimpse at your growing baby using state of the art technology, providing 3D imagery, video footage and real-life audio of your baby in the womb.

Classic4D&Growth >   Deluxe4D&Growth >   Ultimate4D&Growth >

When to Scan with First Encounters?

Naturally, if you opted for every scan available, your baby scan schedule would likely take up the majority of your pregnancy, not to mention the fact you would also be re-covering old ground unnecessarily.

As such, wisely choosing your First Encounters scans to complement your NHS appointments can be a sensible and enjoyable way to safely monitor your baby’s progression and experience your pregnancy to its fullest.

You may want to opt for an earlyAssure scan to put your mind at rest in the early stages of pregnancy and then return to First Encounters later on for a 4D scan to commemorate the occasion.

Meanwhile, you may wish to opt for the secretGender package to set up your own gender reveal party with friends and family on your own time.

Whichever option you choose, you won’t be disappointed. First Encounters offers a service unlike any other, combining specialist monitoring and professional service for unrivalled peace of mind and pregnancy commemoration.

For more information on our services or expert advice on which option is best for you, call today on 02920 732671 or get in touch online using the enquiry below.

Enquire Now

baby heartbeat stuffed animals

Heartbeat stuffed animals are the perfect keepsake for parents who want to cherish every aspect of their pregnancy forever. Besides our classic heartbeat bear, we also offer four additional cuddly companions. Choose your favourite from our:

  • 10” Blue Heartbeat Bunny
  • 10” Heartbeat Elephant
  • 10” Pink Heartbeat Bunny
  • Or, the extra cuddly, 16” Heartbeat Elephant!

Bringing Your Baby Bear to Life!

When booking your First Encounters scan online, choose the baby heartbeat stuffed animal that you like in the Optional Gifts & Souvenirs stage of the booking process. Once you’re booking is complete, all you have to do is sit back, relax and wait for the day of your scan!

When you arrive at the First Encounters clinic for your scan, we’ll carry out your scan as normal. Then we’ll use a special recording module to capture the precious sound of your baby’s heartbeat - this is where the magic happens!

Once we’ve got a clear recording of your baby’s heartbeat, all we have to do is pop the recording module inside your chosen stuffed animal and it’s ready to go home with you. All you have to do to hear your little one’s heartbeat is simply give your new teddy a squeeze and snuggle up. A delightful & comforting keepsake.

Every single one of our baby heartbeat stuffed animals is super soft & super cute! Whether you decide to keep your heartbeat bear for yourself or give it to a grandparent, friend or family member, we’re sure that your charming heartbeat bear will be cherished forever.

Not only that, once your baby is born you can show them exactly how precious their tiny heartbeat was when it was carefully tucked away inside mummy’s tummy!

View All Souvenirs Here >

You can see all of our heartbeat bears alongside our other optional souvenirs on our souvenirs page! If you have any questions about our baby heartbeat stuffed animals or any of our other souvenirs, don’t hesitate to get in touch - call us on 02920 732671.

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!