An ultrasound scan is a medical procedure that’s used to examine unborn babies while they’re still in the womb.


If you or your partner are embarking on the journey into pregnancy, you may have already come across the term “sonography”.

A vital part of the process, the sonography test – also known as an ultrasound scan – helps monitor the development of both the uterus and the foetus during pregnancy, ensuring mother and baby are healthy.

From a parental perspective, the resulting images also provide expecting mums and dads the opportunity to see their unborn child for the very first time.

At First Encounters, we know how momentous this can be and offer a variety of scan options to make your first encounter with your child as memorable as possible.

Read on to find out how…


what is sonography,what does a sonographer do


What’s the difference between sonogram and ultrasound?

The textbook definition of sonography refers to it as the high-frequency sound technique used to create internal images of the body for analysis and diagnosis. However, in discussing sonography in the context of pregnancy, it can become a little confusing.

The confusion stems from the fact that US terminology often differs from the lingo used in the UK. As such, a Google search that returns sonography pages from both sides of the Atlantic can often include a mixed bag of British terms and Americanisms.

For Brits, the terms “baby scan” and “ultrasound image” are commonly used in place of the US word “sonogram”. So, if you come across the term “sonogram” in your online journey, chances are it’s in reference to the ultrasound image.


What does a sonographer do?

Also known as an ultrasound technician, a sonographer is the medical professional who operates the ultrasound equipment. It’s this person who will conduct the scan and produce the images of your unborn baby.

During a pregnancy scan, the sonographer directs high-frequency sound waves to the relevant area using the ultrasound equipment, manoeuvring the probe over the womb to provide the images of the unborn baby.


Sonography at First Encounters

At First Encounters, our sonography staff are highly trained professionals and conduct countless scans over the course of a working week. As a result, they are well-versed in the art of ultrasound scanning.

What’s more, we use the very latest ultrasound technology to provide you with state-of-the-art visual of your baby’s development, offering a wide selection of 2D scans, as well as 3D and even 4D experiences, using cutting-edge HD Live technology.

Our sonography techniques are designed to be minimally invasive with comfort and relaxation a key part of the service. We believe that these are moments to be cherished forever and pride ourselves in helping you create memories that will last a lifetime.

The revolutionary equipment available at First Encounters is truly second to none with an environment to match. For an ultrasound experience like no other, First Encounters is undoubtedly top of the list.


For more information on sonography and our ultrasound scans, why not drop us a line? Call today on 02920 732671 or get in touch online using the button below.

Contact Us

3D scan at 16 weeks

3D and 4D ultrasound scans provide an exciting opportunity to get a clearer look at your baby and many parents-to-be simply can't wait to book one in. If you’re hoping to see your little one in 4D soon, here’s everything you need to know before you book.


Can I book a 4D scan at 16 weeks?

Unfortunately, at just 16 weeks gestation, your baby isn't big enough to be seen clearly via a 3D/4D scan. The best time to get a good view of your baby in this way is between 24 and 32 weeks.

Fortunately, there are still plenty of 2D scans available from 16 weeks and even earlier, so you can still check up on your little one and take home lots of lovely black and white images in the meantime.


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 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 in your pregnancy, you might be disappointed by the results because your baby’s facial features won’t be fully developed yet.

2D baby scan

What can I expect from a 2D ultrasound scan at 16 weeks?

At 16 weeks, a 2D ultrasound scan can tell you lots about your baby. The sonographer will be able to check on your baby's size and overall wellbeing.

Here at First Encounters, we offer a brilliant range of 2D scans at 16 weeks gestation, including:

All scans are performed by trained sonographers in a comfortable and welcoming clinic environment. For more information, click on a scan or click the button below to book a scan.

Book a 2D Scan


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

Once you've reached 24-32 weeks gestation, you can book one of our incredible 4d scans. 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.

After your scan, we will provide a digital copy of the images and videos we captured, so you can share them with friends and family.

If you want to find out what else is included in our 4D Bonding & Reassurance Scans, then please visit our website to find out more information and book yours today.

Book a 3D/4D Scan   Contact First Encounters

32 week ultrasound scan

It is very common for expectant mothers to have a growth scan at around 32 weeks gestation, in order to make sure the baby is developing as normal.

In this blog post we'll answer some common questions about the 32-week growth scan, such as why it is needed, what happens during the scan, and what can the results tell you.


Why have a growth scan at 32 weeks?

The main goal of the 32-week pregnancy scan is to check that your baby is developing and growing as expected. Hospitals may recommend a scan at 32 weeks if they suspect too much amniotic fluid, or you can book a scan for your own reassurance.

The results of your growth scan will tell you:

  • The position of your baby in the womb
  • If your baby is smaller or larger than expected


What to expect from your 32-week growth scan

Your growth scan will be conducted in the exact same way as all your other pregnancy scans, with gel on your stomach and an ultrasound transducer device that allows you to see an image of your baby.

Our trained and qualified sonographer will be able to...

  • Evaluate the volume of amniotic fluid surrounding your baby
  • Measure your baby's head, abdomen and femur
  • Measure the blood flow around your baby's body


What does the 32-week growth scan tell you?

The 32-week growth scan looks at your baby's wellbeing by measuring their biophysical profile. During the scan, the sonographer will be looking to see if your baby:

  • Opens and closes their hands
  • Stretches and flexes
  • Moves their arms and legs frequently
  • Makes breathing movements

During your growth scan, the sonographer will be able to see if your baby is smaller than expected for their gestational age, possibly due to a lack of nutrition through the placenta or restricted levels of oxygen.

The 32-week scan can also reveal if your baby is larger than expected. While this is usually not a medical concern, you may need to get tested for gestational diabetes if your unborn child is significantly larger than normal. This involves measuring the levels of glucose in your blood - high levels could result in birthing complications and enhance the likelihood of induced labour or a caesarean.

In regards to the position of your baby, your 32-week growth scan will show whether the baby is head down (normal position), feet first (breech position) or laying sideways (transverse position). Your doctor may advise you to have an ECV (external cephalic version) if your baby is in the breech position. This is a completely safe procedure whereby a surgeon pushes down and around on your abdomen in order to turn your baby into a normal head-down position for birth.


Book your 32-week growth scan now!

The following growth scans are available at 32 weeks:




  • 4DGrowth&Wellbeing™
    2D growth, reassurance and wellbeing scan with 4D bonding experience (24 - 32 weeks)


All of these scans are delivered at the First Encounters Ultrasound clinic in Cardiff. You may invite up to four guests to join you in the examination room, with five more guests in a separate viewing room (nine guests total, not including the mum-to-be).

If you have specific questions regarding any of our ultrasound scan packages, please do not hesitate to get in touch. Our friendly team members are always happy to help.

Browse Scan Packages

What Type of Baby Scan
We offer a wide selection of scan packages here at First Encounters, and we realise that first-time visitors to our website may be a little uncertain as to which baby scan is right for them. We want to make sure that you have the best possible experience when you visit the First Encounters clinic, and so we'd like to take a moment to explain the difference between each of our scan options.
Broadly speaking, our scan packages can be grouped into 3 different categories. These are as follows:

🤰 Reassurance Scans

These scans inspect your baby's growth and development, giving you extra peace of mind during your pregnancy.
  • Ensure that your pregnancy is viable
  • Check the health of your unborn baby
  • Spot any concerns or complications

Our Reassurance Scan Packages:

EarlyReassure™ (7-13 weeks, £89)
2D viability, dating and reassurance scan. Includes digital foetal assessment report and digital download of all 2D scan imagery.
Date&Wellbeing™ (14 - 16 weeks, £89)
2D dating, reassurance and wellbeing scan. Includes digital foetal assessment report and digital download of all 2D scan imagery.
WellbeingAssure™ (16-32 weeks, £79)
2D wellbeing observation scan. Includes digital foetal assessment report and digital download of all 2D scan imagery.
Growth&Wellbeing™ (16-40 weeks, £89)
2D growth, reassurance and wellbeing scan. Includes digital foetal assessment report and digital download of all 2D scan imagery.
Growth&Presentation™ (33-40 weeks, £89)
2D growth, reassurance and presentation scan. Includes growthAssure™ report (including Doppler blood flow) and digital download of all 2D scan imagery.

♀ Gender Scans

Find out whether you're having a boy or a girl!
  • Learn your baby's gender
  • 99.99% accurate
  • Available from 16 weeks

Our Gender Scan Packages:

Gender&Wellbeing™ (16-32 weeks, £79)
2D wellbeing and baby sexing scan. Includes digital foetal assessment report, a gender reveal scratch card and digital download of all 2D scan imagery. If you wish, gender can be kept secret to reveal at a later date.
GenderGrowth&Wellbeing™ (16-32 weeks, £89)
2D growth, reassurance and wellbeing scan with complimentary baby sexing. Includes digital foetal assessment report, a gender reveal scratch card and digital download of all 2D scan imagery. If you wish, gender can be kept secret to reveal at a later date.
We also offer SneakPeek® Baby Gender DNA Tests. This is a blood test that can tell you whether you're having a boy or a girl from as early as 6 weeks into your pregnancy.

👶 4D Bonding & Reassurance Scans

A detailed look into your baby's world - see your unborn child in detailed 4D vision!
  • State-of-the-art HDlive technology provides the ultimate bonding experience
  • Take home a range of optional souvenirs

Our 4D Scan Packages:

4DWellbeingAssure™ (24-32 weeks, £109)
Wellbeing observation scan with 4D imaging. Gender confirmation optional. Includes digital foetal assessment report and digital download of all 2D, 3D and 4D imagery.
4DGrowth&Wellbeing™ (24-32 weeks, £129)
Growth, reassurance and wellbeing scan with complimentary HDlive 4D imaging. Gender confirmation optional. Includes digital foetal assessment report and digital download of all 2D, 3D and 4D imagery.
Click here to book your First Encounters scan, or get in touch if you need any more information!
All scan packages and prices correct at time of writing. Last updated 19 July 2023.
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!
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