Our 3D/4D pregnancy scans are a popular choice among expectant parents because our 3D imaging technology gives them an extremely detailed idea of what their baby will look like when he or she arrives. This creates a bonding effect, helping mummy and daddy to feel that much closer to the little one that they'll soon be looking after.

We already offer a variety of souvenirs to enhance this bonding experience - our customers can take home photographic prints and DVD footage of their scans, as well as photo key rings and fridge magnets if they so choose. However, we will soon be offer another 3D scan souvenir that's streets ahead of everything else: 3D facial models!

3D baby face model

We are working in partnership with Wolfprint 3D to offer our customers detailed 3D models of their unborn baby's faces. We feel that this is very much the 'next generation' of ultrasound souvenir - not only do these facial models deliver a more detailed impression than ever before, they also make great keepsakes that parents can show their children once they're a bit older.

These amazing models are created by 3D printing the multi-layered image that's captured by our Voluson ultrasound machine. If you request a 3D facial model, we will send the volume file from your scan to Wolfprint 3D, who will then convert that file into a 3D printable format, print it out, and ship the resulting model to you from their headquarters in Europe.

Our 3D baby models will cost £149 for a small model and £159 for a large model. They will be available to any customer undergoing a 3D/4D ultrasound scan - click here to compare our scan packages, or give us a call on 02920 732671 to discuss the available options with a member of the First Encounters Ultrasound team.
If you're pregnant and you've recently booked a reassurance scan, you may well be wondering what to expect on the day. Conversely, perhaps you're still trying to decide what kind of ultrasound package is right for you, in which case you may wish to learn more about the reassurance scan and what this option has to offer. Either way, the First Encounters team are here to help!

One important thing to bear in mind is that a reassurance scan is not a substitute for the standard 20 week anomaly scan that's offered by the NHS. Instead, your reassurance scan will complement the results of the NHS appointment, giving you more information and further reassurance that your baby is developing normally without aiming to reach the same level of diagnostic detail.

The main aim of a reassurance scan is to check on the progression of your pregnancy and identify the general health, growth, and wellbeing of your unborn baby. It can be carried out at any point during your pregnancy starting from 14 weeks gestation.

Your reassurance scan will reveal the following information:

  • Growth measurements (including head circumference, abdominal circumference, and femur length). This information allows us to plot your baby's growth onto our average growth chart, which will tell us if your baby is developing faster or slower than average. Our ultrasound machine can also use these measurements to calculate foetal weight.

  • Fluid levels will be observed - these are crucial to the wellbeing of your baby and to the safe progression of your pregnancy, so if we notice that your levels are markedly above or below the set protocol, we will use the four-quadrant technique to collect additional data that will help your NHS doctor to carry out a diagnostic evaluation.

  • An audible heartbeat trace will be carried out during your reassurance scan, allowing you to hear your baby's heartbeat and helping our sonographer to ensure that the foetus is healthy.

  • We will also look to identify the baby's position and the placental site to make sure everything is in the right place.

Want to book a reassurance scan?

reAssure™ is our standard 2D reassurance scan here at First Encounters Ultrasound. However, a reassurance scan is included in all of our ultrasound packages (with the exception of pureGender and taster4D™), so the information listed above will almost always be collected as part of your First Encounters experience.

Click here to compare our scan packages, or get in touch to find out more and book your reassurance scan.

Image by moke076
2D scan vs. 4D scan
 
A lot of the people we speak to aren't quite sure of the difference between a 2D scan and a 3D/4D scan. We offer both options here at First Encounters - today, we're going to explain each option in detail, helping you to select the ultrasound scan package that suits you best.

4D Scans

A 4D ultrasound scan - such as our Superior4D™ package - allows you to see what your baby really looks like via detailed three-dimensional footage. Some clinics offer '3D scans', which give still images of your unborn child; here at First Encounters, we specialise in 4D ultrasound, which allows you to see your baby moving around in real time. 3D scans produce photographs; 4D scans produce video footage.
 
Here are some further details about our 4D scans:
  • 3D/4D ultrasound technology renders an image from the surface of your baby's skin for unparalleled detail

  • Scan footage is projected onto a large plasma television screen, allowing you and your guests to watch

  • Our 4D scans are popular among expectant mothers who have already received their dating and anomaly scans, and who now wish to take a closer look at the baby that's growing inside them. Our 4D scans make fantastic baby bonding experiences, giving you a detailed glimpse into your baby's world and bringing you a little bit closer to the child you're about to bring into the world.

  • Some of our 4D scan packages (e.g. 4DgenderAssure™) include gender confirmation as standard; others allow you to find out the sex upon request. However, gender confirmation is always done via a 2D ultrasound scan, even if your package includes 3D/4D imaging.

  • After your 4D scan, you will have the opportunity to purchase a variety of lovely souvenirs that can be shared with friends and relatives. These range from printed photographs and DVDs to key rings, fridge magnets, and our adorable Heartbeat Bear (featuring your unborn baby's heartbeat!)
Baby heartbeat bear
 

2D Scans

2D ultrasound scans don't offer the same level of detail as our 4D packages - you won't really be able to see your baby's face, for example - but they still allow our sonographers to get all the important information about your child. Options like our reAssure™ package are designed to reassure you about your baby's growth and wellbeing; other 2D scan packages can even tell you whether your unborn baby is a boy or a girl!
 
Here's a little more information on our 2D baby scans:
  • A 2D ultrasound scan produces a black-and-white image that show's your baby's skeletal make-up and allows the sonographer to identify any potential anomalies. As previously mentioned, this two-dimensional view is also ideal for gender confirmation.

  • While a 2D scan doesn't afford the same level of detail and bonding as a full 4D package, you and your guests will still be able to watch the scan on our plasma screen TV and purchase a variety of cute souvenirs after the appointment.
Still not sure which scan is right for you?
Compare Our Ultrasound Packages >                                  Get In Touch For More Info >
 
Gender scan

'What sex is my baby?' is a question that we hear from a lot of expectant parents, but not everyone is interested in hearing the answer to that question - in fact, many of the people who come to us a for a pregnancy scan specifically ask not to be told their unborn baby's gender.

The Find Out or Wait? debate is one that's caused a lot of arguments. Many people can't imagine why anyone would want to delay the big reveal; others can't imagine why anyone would want to spoil the surprise ahead of time. Sometimes, even the parents themselves can't agree - one will want to find out right away, while the other will want to wait until the birth date!

Then, of course, there are the people on the fence. If you're reading this blog post, you may well be one of them. The question on your mind isn't 'What sex is my baby?' but 'Should I find out the sex of my baby?'

Today, we're going to help you decide. Here are some of the most common arguments for and against finding out:
  • For: You'll be able to pick a name sooner! Finding out your baby's sex instantly allows you to eliminate 50% of the names you're considering. You won't have to worry about choosing between 'Lily' and 'Ivy' if you already know that you're having a boy!

  • Against: You'll ruin the surprise! Finding out whether you're the parent of a boy or a girl is one of the biggest and best surprises you'll ever experience, and many people (including the author of this Huffington Post article) say that the surprise is all the better when you find out in the delivery room.

  • For: You get to tell all your friends and relatives! Your nearest and dearest are sure to be itching for updates on your pregnancy, and they'll be thrilled if they can find out the baby's gender ahead of the birth. You can even give them our Gender Reveal Cards to make it even more exciting!



  • Against: You'll end up with loads of pink/blue stuff! You may be able to resist the temptation to buy loads of colour-coded, gender-specific products for your baby after finding out the results of your gender scan, but that doesn't mean your friends and family won't do it for you. If you want to avoid the 'sports for boys/princesses for girls' stereotypes, leaving the gender unknown can be a good way to do so.

  • For: You won't be disappointed on the day! If you have your heart set on a specific sex for your unborn baby, it may be a good idea to find out in advance - that way, if it's not the gender you were hoping for, you'll have time to get over your disappointment and get excited all over again for the boy/girl that you're actually having!

  • Against: You won't be disappointed on the day anyway! The aforementioned Huffington article points out that, even if you were hoping for one gender or the other, that won't matter on the big day - any disappointment will be washed away by the excitement and joy of becoming a parent!

  • For: You'll feel closer to your baby! Many expectant parents find that knowing the gender helps them to feel closer to their baby during the pregnancy. After all, it's easier to visualise your future child when you know whether that child is a boy or a girl.

  • Against: The sonographer might get it wrong! The 'wait and see' camp love to make this point, and it's true that no gender scan is 100% infallible. That said, our sonographers can accurately identify the gender in the vast majority of cases, and if the baby's position makes it difficult for us to know for sure, we'll tell you so - we never just guess! Furthermore, we will show you the evidence for our decision on a large plasma screen during your appointment, so you won't just have to take our word for it.
Whether you want to find out your baby's gender or not, we at First Encounters Ultrasound are the people to call for your pregnancy scan. Note that gender is always depicted using traditional 2D ultrasound technology (even when a gender scan is included as part of one of our 4D packages); since gender is not visible on a 4D scan, you are not obliged to find out the gender if you get a 4D ultrasound session.

If you do want to find out your baby's gender, we have a variety of options to choose from. Gender can be ascertained from 16 weeks (we do not recommend booking a gender scan before the 16-week mark, as this greatly reduces the accuracy of the results). The cut-off point for a gender scan is 34 weeks maximum; after this point, a gender scan cannot be performed due to the size of your baby.

Browse our Scan Packages now to book your gender scan with First Encounters Ultrasound. If you have any further questions, feel free to give us a call on 02920 732671.