How do 3D & 4D scans differ from 2D scans?

2D, 3D and 4D ultrasound scans all use sound waves to generate an image of your baby. But, unlike 2D scans, 3D and 4D scans are able to capture three-dimensional images of your baby. A 3D scan is a still image and a 4D scan captures a video showing your baby moving around inside the womb.

3D and 4D scans aren’t typically made available to mums until around 24 weeks because time needs to be allowed for your baby to grow and gain some weight. If you have a 3D or 4D scan earlier, you might be disappointed by the results because your baby’s facial features won’t be fully developed yet.

At 16-weeks, 2D ultrasound scans can tell you lots about your baby, including; baby’s gender, size and overall wellbeing. 

What can I expect at a 16-week 2D ultrasound at First Encounters?

At First Encounters, we offer a range of insightful 2D scans to mums at 16-weeks. Our gender’N’growth™ scan and Premier gender’N’growth™  also offer a 4dGlimpse™ of your baby.

 

What can I expect at a 4D Bonding & Reassurance scan at First Encounters?

At First Encounters, our 4D scans are available from 24-32 weeks. You and up to six guests can watch your unborn baby in motion. All of our 4D scans are displayed onto a large HD LED screen in our spacious scanning room while we capture stunning 3D photographs for you to keep. We also provide aPhoto2fone™ service that gives you an easy-to-access digital copy of your scan images.

 

If you want to find out what else is included in our 4D Bonding and Reassurance Scans, or if you want to book in for a 16-week Gender Scan, then please visit our website to find out more information and book yours today.

If you've had an ultrasound scan with First Encounters before, you may remember seeing the model that we keep in the clinic to show our visitors:

That is a model of a foetus at 20 weeks gestation. We often show it to the expectant parents who come to us for a scan, and almost without exception, they're always surprised to see how small the baby still is at that point. By 20 weeks, the mother's 'baby bump' is usually becoming fairly pronounced, and if you've ever been present during a 3D/4D scan, you'd be forgiven for thinking that babies are rather large indeed by that stage!
 
4D Scan Image
 
Watching your unborn baby on a big TV screen tends to make them seem larger than they actually are!
 
Many an expectant mother has asked us how big her baby is at X weeks, and so we thought we'd put together a handy guide to baby size  and how it changes from conception to birth. We hope that this will give you a clearer idea of your little darling's current size!

How big is my baby at...

  •  ...4 weeks? Less than a twentieth of an inch long and less than a twentieth of an ounce in weight. At this point, your unborn child is just a tiny embryo, no bigger than a poppy seed. 

  •  ...8 weeks? About 16mm (0.63 inches) long, or roughly the size of a single baked bean. That's more than fifteen times larger than the 4-week-old embryo, although the baby's weight has barely changed since then - we're still talking about a small fraction of an ounce at this stage. 

  •  ...12 weeks? 2-3 inches long and about half an ounce in weight. You're currently carrying a foetus that's more or less the same size as a lime.

  •  ...16 weeks? Just under 5 inches long and about 3.5 ounces in weight. You're now in your second trimester, and the baby is about as big as an avocado.

  • ...20 weeks? 6 and a half inches in length, 10 and half ounces in weight. At this stage, your foetus is a mite shorter than a carrot but weighs quite a bit more.

  • ...24 weeks? Roughly 12 inches in length and somewhat over 1 pound weight-wise. Your unborn baby is growing quite rapidly now, and their current size is roughly similar to that of a 500ml bottle of water.

  • ...28 weeks? By now, your baby should measure about 15 inches and weigh a little more than 2lbs. Picture an aubergine and you won't be too far off.

  • ...32 weeks? Nearly 17 inches, with a weight of around 3lbs 12oz. Remember how, at 24 weeks, your baby was about the size of a 500ml bottle of drink? Well, now he or she is closer to a 1.75 bottle.

  • ...36 weeks? 18.66 inches - that's just over 47cm - in length, and the best part of 6lbs in weight. By now, your baby is roughly the size of a melon.

  • ...40 weeks? Now that you're almost ready to give birth, your baby likely weighs 7-9lbs (although this varies quite a lot) and measures between 20 and 21 inches.
If you'd like to take a closer look at your unborn baby, click here to browse the 3D/4D scan packages available at your nearest First Encounters Ultrasound clinic.

Food cravings are something that almost every pregnant woman will experience. From takeaways to sweets to dairy products, there will always be something that they need to satisfy a sudden urge. Many questions surround pregnancy food cravings, however, such as why do they occur, how can you control them and when do they actually start? All of which will be revealed right here, so if you’re experiencing pregnancy food craving or know someone who is and want to get the low-down, carry on reading!

 

What causes pregnancy cravings?

One of the most commonly asked questions regarding pregnancy food craving is how do they actually occur? Well, truth is, there isn’t a definitive answer to what causes them, but a number of reasons have been thought up as potential explanations.  Most experts agree that food cravings evolutionary, that it’s your body sending signals to your brain and taste buds of what it needs. This could be a result of rapidly changing hormones because your body is working extra hard to produce a lot more blood or simply because certain foods make you feel comfortable as your body is changing.

When do pregnancy cravings begin?

For the majority of women, pregnancy cravings begin in the first trimester, peak during the second trimester and start to decline through their third trimester. Doctors say however that few cravings tend to carry on after childbirth, so if you’re worried about cravings being a permanent thing, they most likely will not.

Food aversions – What are they?

Food aversions are just as apparent with pregnant women as food cravings. These are the opposite, however, and can produce some equally unusual feelings. Both food cravings and aversions tend to start around the same time. Experts in psychology state that food cravings may not have anything to with the feeling of morning sickness, but staying away from certain foods does. The most common food that is avoided by women during pregnancy is meat, claims that the sight, smell and texture can be too much to handle. The reason behind this, researchers say, is because meat sometimes carries bacteria that is capable of making mother and baby sick, as a way of protection, the body makes meat seem unappetising.

The most common cravings

Many cravings are harmless and have a personal touch involved, whether it’s food that was eaten as a child or something you tried once and loved. Some, however, are straight up bizarre but are commonly accepted among most pregnant women. The most commonly reported food cravings are:

  • Takeaways such as Chinese or pizza
  • Cream cheese with ketchup
  • Sweets
  • Pickles & ice cream
  • Chocolate

All of these cravings are okay to have occasionally as long as they’re eaten in moderation. Try to avoid consuming unhealthier foods often as too much can cause excessive weight gains and problems such as dental issues.

Tips for avoiding food cravings

  • Plenty of rest – Research shows that people who lack sufficient sleep tend to crave unhealthy foods more than healthy foods
  • Don’t food shop when hungry
  • Eat at regular intervals to prevent feelings of hunger
  • Eat healthy, low glycaemic index (GI) foods that will keep you feeling fuller for longer such as wholegrain bread, fresh fruit and baked beans.

When to seek help

Some cravings can be dangerous and must be avoided at all costs. If and when these occur, the best thing to do is to visit a doctor to receive professional advice. Pica is a potentially poisonous condition, that urges pregnant women to compulsively eat foods with no nutritional value such as soap, dirt or dry paint. Cravings such as these, along with alcohol and drugs can cause danger and harm to both yourself and your baby.

If you have any questions regarding pregnancy cravings or want to find out more information in relation to your pregnancy, please contact a professional as soon as possible. Please visit our scan packages page below to learn about all the baby ultrascans that we provide and to book yours today! 

Baby Scan Packages >

Pregnancy Symptoms

If you've recently become pregnant, you're probably wondering what's in store for you over the next 9 months!

To make sure you have all the details you'll need throughout your pregnancy, we've made a week-by-week list of all the most common pregnancy symptoms. Please note that every pregnancy is different, and some people may experience certain symptoms earlier or later than others (if at all), so please don't worry if your own pregnancy doesn't perfectly match the list below.

 

5 Weeks Pregnant

This is a very common time for women to find out that they are pregnant. This is a very early stage, so don't be surprised if you aren't experiencing any pregnancy symptoms just yet.

However, you may experience:

  • Fatigue - Your body is embarking on a journey that requires a lot of energy, so even at 5 weeks, you may develop a sudden fondness for naps.

  • Frequent Urination - At 5 weeks, your kidneys are beginning to expand, so you might find yourself making more trips to the loo than usual!

 

7 Weeks Pregnant

You're almost two months in, and it's probably starting to feel a little more real. That being said, it's not unusual to have few (if any) symptoms at 7 weeks - remember, it's still relatively early in your pregnancy.

Some people experience the following symptoms around the 7-week mark:

  • Acne - Your hormones are all over the place right now, so breakouts are completely normal. Just make sure you check with your doctor before using any skin treatments to combat your spots.

  • Cravings - Are you craving foods that you wouldn't normally eat? Or perhaps an old favourite seems strangely unappealing all of a sudden? This is a normal pregnancy symptom, which usually comes paired with morning sickness. Speaking of which...

  • Nausea - The dreaded morning sickness! In spite of its common name, the feeling of nausea can sadly strike at any time of day. You may experience just a touch of nausea, or you may actually vomit - in either case, this is a common side effect of pregnancy at around 7 weeks and probably isn't anything to worry about.

 

9 Weeks Pregnant

After nine or ten weeks, you'll probably have experienced most of the pregnancy symptoms that tend to strike during the first trimester. In addition to the symptoms listed above, you may now notice:

  • Headaches - Your hormones are still surging, and this can lead to headaches (which can also be brought on by hunger, dehydration and exhaustion - so make sure you're getting plenty of food, water and rest).

  • Nasal Congestion - This is perhaps one of pregnancy's lesser-known side effects. By this stage, you may well notice an increase in your body's mucus production.

  • Breast Tenderness - Your body is prepping for breast feeding and blood flow to this area is increasing, often leading to breast tenderness.

 

12 Weeks Pregnant

Week twelve is the final week of your first trimester. Your baby has now grown from a tiny cluster of cells into a foetus, and your uterus will be starting to expand beyond your pelvic bones. In addition to all of the symptoms we've already discussed, you may now be experiencing:

  • Dizzy Spells - Those pesky hormones - particularly when coupled with changes in blood pressure - may cause you to feel dizzy. Make sure you sit down or rest during dizzy spells, and always eat/drink regularly to keep your energy up!

  • Pelvic Pain - As your uterus expands, you may experience some aches and pains. It is best to avoid any heavy exercise and be thoughtful about how you position yourself - you don't want to put any unnecessary stress on sensitive regions.

 

From Here on Out...

As you head into your second trimester, your pregnancy symptoms should become less erratic. Now you can look forward to your bump getting bigger and the baby starting to kick. You will probably continue to experience some aches and pains, and you should continue to go for regular check-ups to make sure that you and your baby-to-be are both healthy.

Here are a few milestone moments to look out for later in your pregnancy journey:

  • 13-15 Weeks Pregnant: This is generally the point at which you'll need to purchase maternity clothes. Of course, you may want to buy it earlier just for the comfort it provides!

  • 20-25 Weeks Pregnant: It's around this time that you'll start to feel your baby kicking. Again, every pregnancy is different, so don't worry too much if you have to wait a bit longer.

  • Approaching Due Date: Few women actually give birth on their exact due date. Nonetheless, it's an important date, and its passing signifies that your new baby will be with you very soon!

 

If you're 8-13 weeks pregnant, why not book an earlyAssure™ scan with First Encounters? We also offer 3D/4D scans for when you're a little further along and you're ready to see what your little one looks like!

Our clinics are located in Bristol and Cardiff.

Image from pixabay.com

Knowing when to take a pregnancy test to get the most accurate results can be difficult. If you are trying to get pregnant then you want to know as soon as possible! If you suspect you are unknowingly pregnant, confirming or disproving this is a priority.

When can I expect the most accurate results?

It is recommended that you wait one week until after you miss your expected period to achieve the most accurate result.

If I don’t want to wait?

If you can’t wait this long, it is recommended that you allow one to two weeks after you have had sex for detectable levels of HCG to build up in your system. Sensitive home pregnancy tests claim to be able to confirm pregnancy as early as 8 days after conception and can offer an estimation of when you conceived based on the amount of HCG present in your urine.

Be aware that the levels of HCG produced throughout pregnancy vary from woman to woman, so do not be disheartened by an early negative result if you are trying to conceive, you may still be pregnant!

If you or a friend has recently become pregnant, why not book in for an earlyAssure™ scan? This reassurance and dating scan can be conducted at any time following your initial NHS scan and focuses on the development and wellbeing of your little one.