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.

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

At 16-weeks, 2D ultrasound scans can tell you lots about your baby, including; baby’s gender, size and overall wellbeing. 

What can I expect at a 16-week 2D ultrasound at First Encounters?

At First Encounters, we offer a range of insightful 2D scans to mums at 16-weeks. Our gender’N’growth™ scan and Premier gender’N’growth™  also offer a 4dGlimpse™ of your baby.

 

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

At First Encounters, our 4D scans are available from 24-32 weeks. 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. We also provide aPhoto2fone™ service that gives you an easy-to-access digital copy of your scan images.

 

If you want to find out what else is included in our 4D Bonding and Reassurance Scans, or if you want to book in for a 16-week Gender Scan, then please visit our website to find out more information and book yours today.

It is very common amongst expectant mothers to have a third-trimester growth scan, between 28 and 32 weeks gestation, to check that their baby is growing the way it should be. Here we look at some of the frequently asked questions surrounding this scan such as why it is needed, what happens during and what can the results tell you.

Why do you need to have a growth scan at 32 weeks?

As mentioned, this scan is conducted to ensure that your baby is developing and growing as expected. Hospitals may offer this scan as a routine or may recommend it if they suspect too much amniotic fluid. As a result of this scan, you will be able to see:

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

What happens during your 32-week growth scan?

Your growth scan will be conducted in the exact same way as all your other ultrasound scans, using gel on your stomach and a transducer device which allows you to see an image of your baby. Here, your sonographer will be able to:

  • Evaluate the volume of amniotic fluid surrounding your baby
  • Measure your baby’s head, abdomen and thigh bone
  • 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 its biophysical profile. During the scan, the sonographer will be looking to see if your baby:

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

From this scan, the sonographer will be able to see if your baby is small for gestational age (smaller than expected), possibly due to a lack of the necessary nutrition through the placenta or restricted levels of oxygen. Or if your baby is larger than expected, which is usually not a medical concern. If for some reason your baby is significantly larger than expected, you may need to get tested for gestational diabetes, a measure for 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, this scan will show whether your 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 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.

Our scan packages

Here at First Encounters, we offer a fantastic growth scan package that is available to you from 14-40 weeks gestation. Our growthAssure™ scan focuses on many of the things listed above such as growth and weight calculations, placenta position, fluid volume measurements and identification of baby position. All of which is documented in a growthAssure™ Report that you can take home and keep. To view further information on this scan or any of our scan packages, hit the links below!

If you have specific questions regarding any of our ultrasound scan packages, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us today – contact or send an enquiry.

growthAssure™ Ultrasound Scan >

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 your nearest 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 10 available 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:

earlyAssure™ (8-13 weeks, £79)
2D viability, dating and reassurance scan. Includes a printed viability, growth & observations report and 2 x black and white photographs.
 
Growth&Reassure™ (14-32 weeks, £69)
2D growth, reassurance and wellbeing scan. Includes a detailed printed growth & observations report and 2 x black and white photographs.
 
Growth&Presentation™ (33-40 weeks, £69)
2D growth, reassurance and presentation scan. Includes a detailed printed growth & observations report and 2 x black and white photographs.
 
 

♀ 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:

simplyGender™ (16-32 weeks, £55)
2D baby sexing scan. Includes a printed observation report and 2 x black and white photographs.
 
secretGender™ (16-32 weeks, £65)
2D baby sexing scan without reveal. Includes a printed observation report, 2 x black and white photographs, 1 x confetti shooter and 1 x gender reveal scratch card. This scan is designed for those clients wishing to establish gender to be revealed at a later date.
 
Both of our gender scan packages are available with an optional Growth&Reassurance™ Upgrade (£25 extra). Add this upgrade to enhance your gender scan with diagnostic growth measurements.
 
 

👶 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 wonderful souvenirs
  • Guaranteed re-scan if we can't get a good view of your baby

Our 4D Scan Packages:

Classic4D&Growth™ (18-32 weeks, £109)
4D bonding, reassurance, growth and wellbeing scan. Includes a detailed printed growth & observations report, 4 x colour photographs, all digital photo imagery captured on photocoloud™, and a photo key ring. Gender confirmation optional.
 
Deluxe4D&Growth™ (24-32 weeks, £124)
4D bonding, reassurance, growth and wellbeing scan. Includes a detailed printed growth & observations report, 4 x colour photographs, a photo key ring, and a 5 minute video recording along with all digital photo imagery supplied on USB to take home. Gender confirmation optional.
 
Ultimate4D&Growth™ (24-32 weeks, £179)
4D bonding, reassurance, growth and wellbeing scan. Includes a detailed printed growth & observations report, 12 x colour photographs, 2 x photo key rings, 1 x photo magnet, a Heartbeat Bear, all digital photo imagery captured on photocloud™ and a 10 minute MP4 video recording along with all digital photo imagery supplied on USB to take home. Gender confirmation optional.
 
Click here to book your First Encounters scan, or call 02920 732671 if you need any more information!
 
All scan packages and prices correct at time of writing. Last updated 12 November 2019.
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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