We all love a bargain, and if you're interested in booking a 4D baby scan and getting a breathtaking glimpse of your unborn baby's face, you may be tempted to visit a deals / vouchers website like Groupon or Wowcher to see what discounts are currently available online. Groupon in particular seems to be perpetually flooded with dirt-cheap 4D ultrasound packages, with providers sometimes cutting their prices by 50% or even more in the hope of filling up more scan slots.
However, before you book a discounted 4D scan through a Groupon or Wowcher deal, here are some things you should take into consideration:
Many of the scan providers on Groupon are fairly new companies.
Offering a heavily-discounted scan package through a website like Groupon is a popular way for new scan providers with no established market presence to 'get the word out', as it were. An eye-catching offer can be a good way to get people talking about your company, and the hope is that customers who get the cut-price package will come back later for a full-price scan and/or recommend the clinic to their friends and family members in future.
The problem for customers, however, is that brand new companies have no track record by which to judge them. Established scan providers tend to have lots of reviews online, but when you go to a recently-opened ultrasound clinic that's using Groupon and Wowcher to drive that initial burst of bookings, you may not have any way of knowing whether they are able to provide a safe, satisfactory scanning experience using the right methods and equipment. This could mean that the sonographer is unable to capture good-quality footage of your baby, and in the worst cases, it could even put you / your baby in danger (e.g. from electric shocks).
Scan time may be very limited, and you may not be offered a re-scan.
We've found that many providers who sell their scan packages for reduced prices compensate for this by packing as many scan slots into the day as possible. This means that each customer's scan period must be rigidly adhered to and that's not always conducive to a satisfactory scan experience. For example, if the company has allotted 10 minutes for your 4D scan and the sonographer finds upon commencing the scan that your baby is facing the wrong way, you may not have time to go for a walk and try again because this would cause you to overrun your 10-minute window and cut into the next customer's appointment.
When this happens, most companies would offer a re-scan on a different date, but the fine print on Groupon offers often includes a stipulation like this:
"If satisfactory imagery cannot be obtained, no re-scan will be offered."
This means that you would have to pay full price for another appointment if your first, discounted appointment did not yield satisfactory scan footage / photos.
Why choose First Encounters?
Here at First Encounters Ultrasound, we never run offers through websites like Groupon or Wowcher - all of our scan packages are priced as seen here
. However, we believe that we provide an experience that's far superior to any you'll get through those websites. Here are just a few of the reasons why:
- All of our scans are performed by qualified, experienced medical professionals.
- We only use certified safe equipment from GE Healthcare.
- Our appointment slots always include time for multiple scan attempts.
- We always offer a complimentary re-scan if satisfactory imagery cannot be obtained on your first scan date.
- Our reputation is second to none - just look at the reviews on our Facebook page!
From key rings, to magnets, to our ever-popular Heartbeat Bear, we offer a great variety of baby scan souvenirs here at First Encounters - if you want to take home a memento of your ultrasound experience, there are plenty of options to choose from.
That said, the best souvenir of all is often the footage that we capture during the scan itself. Previously, the only way for our customers to take home their scan footage was on a DVD, but we now provide footage on a disc in the more versatile MP4 format. Furthermore, for an extra £10 you can upgrade to an even more convenient option: your ultrasound scan video on a USB stick!
Whether you visit us for a 2D scan or a 3D/4D scan, we can save your scan footage onto a handy little First Encounters USB stick for you to take home and use as you please. You will also receive the MP4 file on a disc as standard.
Unlike a DVD recording, the MP4 format allows you to accomplish the following with ease:
- Save your scan video to your own computer
- Create a backup version of your scan video
- Share the footage with friends and family online
- Burn multiple copies to disc as gifts for your loved ones
In addition to the video file, your First Encounters USB stick can also be loaded with all of the photographic images captured during your ultrasound scan (we usually capture at least 20-25 photos per scan). This means you'll have easy access to an extensive collection of pictures to post on Facebook and send to your relatives, no matter where in the world they are.
Ready to book your baby scan and create the memories you'll cherish for a lifetime? Click here to see our scan options, or visit our Cardiff Clinic Location Page to find our First Encounters Ultrasound clinic.
In the past, expectant parents weren't able to meet their baby until he or she was born. But thanks to the miracles of modern ultrasound technology, mums- and dads-to-be no longer have to wait that long!
Of course, ultrasound scans have been with us for over half a century, but the images captured during 'traditional' ultrasound scans - while useful for diagnostic purposes - don't give a particularly good impression of what the baby actually looks
like. However, more recent breakthroughs have allowed us to get a good, clear look at an unborn baby's face, and thanks to the latest HDlive technology
from GE Healthcare, we at First Encounters are able to offer an truly unparalleled level of detail to parents who are keen to sneak a peek at their 'bun in the oven'.
This image was captured using a GE Voluson E6 with HDlive technology. As of July 2016, all of our 3D/4D scans are conducted using a Voluson E6.
to compare our packages and book your baby scan online, or read on to find out what you can expect when you meet your baby at our clinic!
What to expect from your First Encounters scan
We have two ultrasound clinics: one in Cardiff
, and another in Bristol
. Both have ample parking available for customer use, so don't worry about finding a space!
Once you've arrived, we'll welcome you into our spacious, modern clinic and show you to one of our comfortable scanning rooms (all of which have room for up to six guests - everyone is welcome, including young children!).
One of our scanning rooms.
Our sonographer will make sure you're comfortable and feeling at ease before commencing the scan. The scan itself will take anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes depending on the package
you've selected. With any luck, we'll be able to get a great look at your baby on the first attempt, but if they're feeling camera shy we may ask you take a gentle stroll in order to get them moving.
During the scan, you'll see your baby in crisp HDlive vision - you should be able to tell which parent they most resemble, and you may even be lucky enough to see them smiling or waving back at you from the plasma screen!#
After your scan, you can collect all of the gifts and souvenirs included in your chosen scan package, as well as any others that you've decided to add on (click here
to view what we have to offer).
Expectant parents are often very keen to discover the gender of their unborn baby, and understandably so - knowing the gender is one of those things that really helps you to feel closer to your little bundle of joy. The people who come to our clinics for gender scans
frequently tell us that the baby seems a lot more 'real' to them once our sonographer has revealed whether it's a boy or a girl, and besides, finding out the sex is a nice little milestone to get excited for when the birth itself still seems a long way off.
With all of that in mind, it's easy to see why mums-to-be and dads-in-waiting might want to attend a gender scan as soon as possible. However, attend a gender scan too early in your pregnancy and it may be impossible to accurately identify the gender - a foetus doesn't develop sexual characteristics until a few weeks in, and nothing conclusive will actually be visible on an ultrasound scan until a little while after that.
What's the earliest I can have a gender scan?
Here at First Encounters Ultrasound we don't offer any gender confirmation scans before 16 weeks gestation. Other scan providers may offer slightly earlier scans, but we would strongly recommend that you do not attend a baby gender scan until at least the 16-week mark. Any earlier, and your baby probably won't have developed sufficiently for accurate gender identification.
Is it worth waiting a little longer?
While we're happy to provide gender scans from 16 weeks onwards, it's worth bearing in mind that not all babies develop at the same speed. Very occasionally, someone will come in for gender confirmation at 16 weeks and the sonographer still won't be able to find positive visual confirmation of the baby's sex. In these cases, we'll usually offer a complimentary re-scan at a later date (we'll never guess the gender if we're not confident in our prediction!) but to avoid disappointment, you may wish to wait an extra few days just to make sure that your baby has developed to the point where we're able to identify the gender.