Spring Sale

To celebrate the arrival of Spring, we've decided to put together a special offer for customers who book scans with us from now until the 10th of April. The offer is available when you book any of the following 4D ultrasound packages before that date:

Deluxe4D™

A Deluxe4D™ ultrasound scan can be booked from 24-32 weeks, providing you and up to six guests with the chance to watch your unborn baby's movements live on a plasma screen; a special moment that will be captured on DVD. The sonographer will also perform growth measurements, and will determine other vital information about your baby's well-being.

Deluxe4DPlus

Like the regular Deluxe4D™ package, Deluxe4DPlus™ provides you with a unique glimpse into your baby's world while also confirming vital details about their progress, such as their growth and positioning. After your scan, you will receive a selection of commemorative items, including DVD footage of your little one.With the Deluxe4DPlus™ pacakge, you will also have the opportunity to discover your baby's gender, since a 2D sexing scan is included in the price.

4DgenderAssure™

Unlike the Deluxe4D™ packages, our 4DgenderAssure™ option provides you with the opportunity to learn the sex of your baby from as early as 20 weeks gestation. You will be able to discover the gender of your baby in live 2D footage, before getting a closer look at your baby via 3D/4D imagery, which will be projected onto our plasma screen. To commemorate your special day, the package also includes 4 glossy photographs and a keyring with an image of your little one.

If you book any of these before Sunday the 10th of April, you will also receive the following additional items for FREE:
  • CD containing photos from your scan
  • Four colour prints (6" x 4")
  • 1 x photo magnet
These items are worth £23.50 in total.

This offer is valid to any customer who books their scan before the 10th of April. The scan itself can take place on any date you choose, as long as the booking is made before the specified date.

You can view our full range of scan packages here.
When you book an ultrasound scan with First Encounters, you can be sure that you will receive a truly comprehensive service from our team of experienced sonographers, who will give you a unique and memorable experience to treasure for a lifetime. We realise that your scan will be a rather emotional process with lots of new information to take in, and so we provide each of our customers with a personalised pregnancy report once the scan is complete. This report can be taken home and kept forever as a souvenir of your scan.
 
There are three different First Encounters pregnancy reports, each one containing slightly different information. Which one you receive will depend on the scan package you select. Here's what they look like:
 
First Encounters Pregnancy Reports
 
Aside from making lovely keepsakes, the purpose of these reports is to document as much information about your baby as possible, giving you a written record of your unborn child's status at the time of your scan. This will give you something to reflect on following the scan, allowing you to better retain vital details about your pregnancy that you may have missed during your visit or simply forgotten about afterwards.
 
The pregnancy report also provides an invaluable indication of your baby's health, allowing you to identify any potential complications or abnormalities.
 
Here's a quick summary of what is included in each pregnancy report:
 

earlyAssure™ Report

Included with the following scan packages:
This pregnancy report includes the following information:
  • Essential details (heartbeat confirmation, indications of movement, number of foetuses)
  • Amniotic fluid levels
  • Gestation age 
  • Estimated date of delivery (EDD, also known as your 'due date')
  • Crown-rump length
 

Wellbeing Observation™ Report

Included with the following scan packages:
This pregnancy report includes the following information:
  • Essential details
  • Position of baby (indicated via diagram)
  • Amniotic fluid levels
  • Placenta position
  • Gestation age
  • Due date
  • Baby's gender (male or female)
 

growthAssure™ Report

Included with the following scan packages:
This pregnancy report includes the following information:
  • Essential details
  • Position of baby (indicated via diagram)
  • Amniotic fluid levels
  • Placenta position
  • Gestation age
  • Due date
  • Growth details (including head and abdominal circumference, femur length)
  • Baby's gender (if requested)
In the unlikely event that we need to provide you with a referral, these details will also be noted at the bottom of your report.
 
If you would like more information about our range of scan packages, you can view them in greater detail here. If you have any further questions, please get in touch with us and let us know how we can help.
Attending a 4D ultrasound scan and seeing your baby's face for the first time is a breathtaking experience, and it's one that you'll no doubt be eager to share with your nearest and dearest. Our customers are already able to keep the footage from their scans in the form of DVD recordings, but from April onwards, you'll have the option to take home your scan video on a USB stick instead!

Ultrasound USB Stick

How it works

When you book one of our DVD-inclusive scan packages (listed at the end of this post), you'll be given the option to upgrade to a USB stick for an additional £10 fee. This option will be available from the 1st of April 2016 onwards. 

At the end of your scan, instead of receiving a souvenir DVD, you will be given a branded First Encounters USB stick (as pictured above) containing your scan footage in the form of an MP4 video file.

Please note that, if you choose to upgrade to a USB stick, you will NOT get a DVD as well. You will receive your USB stick instead of a DVD recording, not in addition to it.

Why choose a USB stick over a DVD recording?

We have decided to start offering our customers USB sticks as an alternative to DVDs for a number of reasons. Firstly, we are noticing that fewer and fewer people actually own DVD players, and we feel that the USB option will allow a larger number of people to rewatch their scan footage at home.

Other benefits include:
  • Easier sharing. Once you have taken your USB stick home, you will be able to share the video file with friends and relatives all over the world, either via email or on social media websites (e.g. Facebook).

  • TV compatibility. No DVD player? No problem! Most televisions now come with USB ports - simply plug the First Encounters USB stick into your telly and gather everyone in the living room for a very special screening!

  • Durability. DVDs get damaged quite easily - our USB sticks (and the video files they contain) are far less likely to be rendered unwatchable by an accidental scratch or scuff!

USB sticks will be available with the following ultrasound scan packages from the 1st of April:
We've heard a lot about the Zika virus over the past few weeks, due to a recent outbreak in Brazil which has since prompted serious questions about the impact of the infection. While it's been rather common in certain African and Asian countries for many years, it's only since the infection has spread to Brazil that the western world has began to show concern regarding its impact. 

While for the most part the infection is largely symptom-free, presenting no lasting harm to those who become infected, the outbreak in Brazil has led to concerns that Zika could be linked to microcephaly in infants, causing them to be born with unusually small heads. 

If you are currently pregnant, or planning to become pregnant in the near future, here are a few things you should know about the Zika virus and its impact on unborn children:

Does Zika cause brain damage?

While the evidence linking microcephaly to Zika is largely circumstantial, there was a clear surge in the amount of babies being born with the disease during the outbreak, which would suggest that Zika is, in fact, the cause. As for the issue of microcephaly itself, in around fifteen percent of cases it accounts for the physical impact (i.e. reduced head size) only, while in the remainder of cases it can prevent proper brain development. 

Which countries present the highest risk?

Countries in South America are naturally at risk due to their proximity to Brazil, as are those in which the virus was already prevalent, such as Kenya, Egypt, India and more. The most up-to-date information on which countries pose a risk can be found here.

What should I do if I've visited a high-risk country?

Aside from rare exceptions, the virus does not linger in the body, and once you have recovered from the infection you will become immune. This means that this risks for women who have previously visited the country before getting pregnant are very low. Despite this, if you have visited the at-risk countries whilst pregnant (or during the early stages of conception), you should most certainly seek medical advice and get your blood tested. You should also get an ultrasound scan to check that your baby is developing properly, although evidence can not be detected until the end of the second trimester.

Should I worry about Zika if I'm trying to conceive?

As mentioned above, Zika is particularly dangerous in the early stages of pregnancy, which means that those looking to conceive should avoid visiting the countries which are most at risk. Those who are not trying to get pregnant are also being warned to be diligent with their birth control routine, in order to avoid an unplanned pregnancy with a high risk of complications. There has also been some evidence to suggest that it is possible to transmit the virus via sexual intercourse, which means that those with partners who have also recently returned from one of the affected areas should also exercise caution.

How can I avoid infection?

Travellers to high-risk countries should attempt to avoid infection by avoiding or minimising their contact with mosquitoes, taking precautions such as wearing long clothing and sleeping under mosquito nets. Sadly, there is no way to completely avoid infection if you are in these countries during pregnancy or at the time of conception, which is why pregnant or soon-to-be pregnant women are encouraged to avoid high-risk locations altogether.

For more pregnancy news and advice, follow us on Twitter or Facebook.
If you've recently become pregnant for the first time, you no doubt have a million and one questions to ask about the experience that lies ahead. However, if we had to guess the single most common query amongst mothers-to-be, it would probably be this:

Which foods should I avoid while I'm pregnant?

It's only natural to worry about the ways in which your diet might adversely affect the child you're carrying, but there is a lot of misinformation out there regarding this topic. Since we've already tackled the topic of whether or not a pregnant woman should imbibe alcohol, today we'd like to talk about food; not only will this short guide tell you which foods to steer clear of during pregnancy, it will also bust a few myths and highlight the foods that, in spite of what some people say, you can safely consume without putting your unborn baby at risk.

Foods to avoid

First of all, here's a quick list of foods that you definitely shouldn't eat when you're pregnant:
  • Raw eggs (and dishes that contained raw/undercooked eggs). Eggs should be cooked thoroughly before consumption to prevent salmonella.

  • Raw or undercooked meat. This includes cured meats (unless they have been cooked beforehand), as well as rare steak. Do not eat meat if any part of the meat is still pink, or if there is any trace of blood.

  • Certain soft cheeses. Anything with a white rind (e.g. brie) or blue veins (e.g. gorgonzola) should be avoided, unless the cheese has been cooked thoroughly before consumption.

  • Certain types of fish (the NHS recommends that pregnant women avoid eating shark, marlin and swordfish).

  • Raw shellfish. Ensure that any shellfish you consume during your pregnancy has been cooked properly first.

  • Unpasteurised milk.

  • Pâté (even if it doesn't contain any meat).

  • Liver (and dishes that contain liver).

  • Unwashed fruit/vegetables. Make sure that any soil has been washed off your fruit/veg before you eat it.

  • Certain vitamin supplements. Be sure to avoid fish liver oil supplements and vitamin A supplements in particular.

Foods you can eat

Listed below are some foods that are often said to be potentially harmful if consumed during pregnancy. All of them are, in fact, safe to eat when pregnant; however, please pay careful attention to the advice given alongside each item, as some of these foods can cause problems for you and your baby if prepared incorrectly or eaten too regularly.
  • Most types of fish and shellfish are OK to eat if they have been cooked properly. You can eat uncooked fish too, as long as it has been frozen before consumption (this will generally include sushi sold at supermarkets - if in doubt, stick to sushi that contains only cooked fish and vegetables). Tuna and other oily fish can be enjoyed in moderation; we recommend visiting the NHS Choices website for more information on how much tuna/oily fish you can safely eat while pregnant.

  • Yoghurt is safe as long as it was made using pasteurised milk. The same is true of ice cream.

  • Venison and other game should only be avoided if the animal was shot using lead bullets. Speak to the supplier if you're unsure where the meat came from.

  • Liquorice may be eaten freely during pregnancy.

  • Caffeine may be consumed during pregnancy; however, it is recommended that you do not exceed 200g of caffeine a day.

  • Green tea can be enjoyed in moderation - limit yourself to no more than 4 cups a day, and bear in mind that each cup will count towards your daily caffeine limit too (see above).

Click here for more blog posts about pregnancy, or visit our Scan Packages page to browse the scan options available from First Encounters Ultrasound.