Need a Christmas present for a mum-to-be? Give the gift of a First Encounters baby scan!

3D Baby Scan Gift Voucher

Many mothers will tell you that the greatest gift they ever received was their little bundle of joy, so why not treat the expectant mother in your life to one of our 3D/4D baby scans? We offer a variety of different scan packages at our clinics in Bristol and Cardiff, so you're sure to find a choice that suits you and your budget.

Contact Us Now to Order a Baby Scan Voucher >

Our scans offer a truly unique experience for mothers-to-be and their guests, offering an intimate view of the baby and forming a bond that will last a lifetime. This state-of-the-art service is offered in a calm and cosy atmosphere, which helps our visitors to relax and enjoy this special experience.

Before you order your gift certificate, please take a look at our list of scan packages to view our prices and the services included in each package. When you are ready to purchase your gift card, give us a call on 02920 732671.

To find out more about First Encounters and our ultrasound services, visit our About Us page.

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!
Book Your Scan Package >                                                  Contact Us If You Have Any Questions >
 
Meet Your Baby

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.

Click here 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).

Ready to meet your baby? Book your scan online now, or contact us if you have any further questions!
Private ultrasound scans
 
Recently, many worrying stories of unregulated ultrasound scan providers have come to our attention. There's a growing practice of misinformation and cutting corners that can cause customers to be sold a service that does not meet industry standards and, in the worst cases, can even cause mother and child to be put at risk. For this reason, we feel that it is vitally important for us to share this information with our readers, in order to allow expectant parents to make an informed decision when planning a private ultrasound scan.
 
While all 3D/4D ultrasound companies may seem quite similar at first glance, you may find on closer inspection that the provider you've chosen isn't being entirely honest about the services they offer. Here are some of the issues we've spotted most frequently here at First Encounters:

Misleading Customers Regarding Available Services

We've spotted many scan providers who claim to offer well-known services when in fact they do not use the equipment required to provide that service. One example of this is HD Live ultrasound, which can only truly be delivered using genuine HD Live equipment. We use an HD Live machine to conduct scans at our clinic in Cardiff, whereas at our Bristol clinic uses a GE Voluson I. Many providers will advertise that they offer 'HD Live' scanning, when in fact, they use other, inferior equipment to perform their scans.

Operating Without Regulation

In England, it has been mandatory for ultrasound providers to register with the CQC (Care Quality Commission) since 2010, yet some providers still attempt to avoid this requirement by claiming that their scans are 'for entertainment purposes only'. Those operating without regulation will often employ staff who have not been trained to a professional standard, and will use equipment that has not been properly tested - all without being subject to any independent inspections. To comply with English law and provide the highest level of service possible, First Encounters Bristol is approved, registered and regulated by the CQC, and is subject to regular checks to validate the quality of our services.
 
While our Cardiff clinic is unable to register with the CQC due to being based in Wales, not England, we do ensure that it meets the same standards as the Bristol clinic at all times. Many similar providers in Wales neglect to do so, due to the fact that the HIW (Health Inspectorate Wales) does not currently regulate the same diagnostic and screening activities as those monitored by the CQC in England. This is something to keep in mind when booking in Wales, as this makes it easier for unscrupulous scan providers to operate without detection.

Potentially Unsafe Equipment

As we've already touched upon, we strive to use the most up-to-date ultrasound equipment at our facilities. All of our equipment is purchased directly from the manufacturer, who gives us the knowledge required to set up and use these products properly. We also ensure that this equipment is inspected and serviced on a regular basis, in order to confirm that it is safe for use at all times.
 
Many scan providers do not meet the same standard, sourcing equipment second-hand and setting it up without the proper knowledge. One particular risk comes from providers who do not properly isolate the equipment they are using - this is very dangerous as it can lead to electric shocks!

Unqualified Sonographers 

Alongside their use of unmonitored and unreliable equipment, many independent scan providers will employ staff who are not properly qualified to perform a baby scan. In some cases, this will mean using sonographers who do not have any previous experience performing baby scans, rendering them unaware of what exactly to look for during a scan. In the worst cases, companies may use individuals who are not qualified whatsoever, a practice we view as highly irresponsible.
 
At both First Encounters clinics, scans are performed by qualified obstetric sonographers, which means that they have both the knowledge needed to operate ultrasound equipment and the experience needed to perform a baby scan and diagnose potential problems. Each of our sonographers is also registered with the Health Professional Council (HPC), which regulates their practice and ensures that they have the right skills and training to do their jobs.

What Should I Look Out For?

If you are concerned about a company's credentials as a responsible scan provider, here are a few things you can look out for:
  • Are they registered with the correct regulatory bodies? Is there evidence of this on their website?
  • Do they mention that their practice is for 'entertainment only' or 'non-diagnostic'? These could be warning signals that the practice is unregulated.
  • Does their equipment/staff register measure up with the services advertised?
  • Are their prices significantly lower than those other practices? If a price or deal seems too good to be true, it probably is!
 
First Encounters Ultrasound Bristol

If you're located in Bristol or the surrounding area and you're looking for the best gender scan experience available, look no further than the First Encounters clinic in Bristol. Our state-of-the-art facility allows you to discover your baby's gender in a spacious, relaxed environment, providing room for up to six guests who may want to share this special experience with you.

There are a variety of gender scan options available at our Bristol clinic - here's a quick run-down:

pureGender™

This gender scan is available from 18 weeks, allowing you to view live 2D footage in our comfortable surroundings with up to six guests. The sonographer will also perform a visual heartbeat and movement check, and will produce two black and white photographs to serve as souvenirs the experience. 

genderAssure™

This package allows you to discover the gender of your baby from 16 weeks, combined with the growth and wellbeing checks of the reAssure scan. As well as capturing 2D images of your baby, we will also endeavour to offer a 4D Glimpse of your baby.

genderAssurePlus™

This package provides you with all the services offered in the genderAssure™ scan (see above), with the addition of DVD footage and a bespoke First Encounters Heartbeat Bear

4DgenderAssure™

This scan package allows you to discover the sex of your baby from 20 weeks, and is combined with the benefits of the reAssure™ and Taster4D packages for the ultimate gender scan experience. 

To find out more about the range of scans on offer at our Bristol clinic, please click here. Alternatively, feel free to contact us for more information.