First Encounters
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We are very pleased to announce that First Encounters customers will now have access to a brand new scan package: the Classic3D™!

This package will combine the amazing experience of 3D imagery with the benefits of our reAssure™ scan, providing you with fabulous souvenir imagery while also allowing you to track the health, growth, and wellbeing of your little one. During your scan, you will be given the opportunity to discover the sex of your baby; however, this will be your choice, and you can rest assured that we will never spoil the surprise if you'd rather not know!

Classic3D™ scan will allow you to view your unborn baby in stunning 3D imagery; you will also receive a set of high-resolution images to commemorate your experience. This brand new package is available in both our Bristol and Cardiff clinics, which can be found here:

Studio B12,
Pure Business Park,
Kestrel Court, Harbour Road,
Portishead, BS20 7AN

Caron House, Oak Tree Court,
Mulberry Drive,
Cardiff Gate Business Park,
Cardiff, CF23 8RS

If you would like to find out more about the Classic3D™ package, please click here or get in touch with the First Encounters Ultrasound team.
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 pregnancy 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. We are hope you find your pregnancy report helpful, don't hesitate to get in touch if we can be of any assistance following your scan.

There is very little in life that compares to the very special feeling and excitement that comes with being pregnant. Undergoing an ultrasound scan, keeping track of your baby’s development, and watching them grow can provide very special bonding moments for a couple that’s expecting.  

In addition to providing these special moments for new families, scans can also pick up potential health issues and warning signs that can be caught by attending private scans in addition to the usual 8-14 week NHS Scan. Your baby’s health is our main priority here at First Encounters, so all of our sonographers are fully trained to identify any potential health issues during your scan.  

During every scan, we perform some essential checks to ensure that your baby is growing and developing at a healthy rate. Firstly, we measure your baby’s growth in the womb and compare this to the average for how far along you are. If your baby is significantly smaller or larger than average, this can indicate a problem; if your baby appears small, then this could mean that your baby is not growing properly. This can be because your baby is not getting the oxygen it needs to thrive. There are many reasons as to why this can be, such as abnormalities in the placenta, medical conditions, or the fact that you are carrying twins.  If one of our sonographers identifies this to be an issue, we will inform you immediately and refer you to a hospital if we feel that this is necessary. 

Secondly, we will measure your amniotic fluid levels. When you are pregnant, your growing baby is protected inside an amniotic sac within your womb. This sac is filled with fluid to protect your baby from harm if your tummy is bumped or squashed while you are pregnant. The amount of amniotic fluid increases throughout your pregnancy; however, if your baby is smaller than expected for the date, it could be because you have low fluid levels. 

Our sonographer will check your fluid levels, and if we find any abnormalities, we will refer you to a hospital to get a professional medical opinion. 

As well as determining the due date and the gender of your baby, private pregnancy scans are designed to reassure you that you and your baby are developing well, and that there are no issues throughout your pregnancy.  A private scan should NEVER be used as a substitute for a standard hospital scan, but undergoing a private scan in addition to your NHS scans can alert sonographers to potential health issues that were not present (or visible) at first. 

Click here to book your pregnancy scan with First Encounters. For more news and advice about your pregnancy, follow First Encounters on Twitter
We’re often asked how early in a pregnancy we are able to offer our 3D ultrasound packages. This comes as no surprise; after all, we realise that many expectant parents are eager to get that breathtaking first glimpse of their unborn child!


If you’re keen to receive an early glimpse of your baby, we offer our 4DgenderAssure™ scan from 20 weeks gestation, giving you the chance to discover your baby’s gender and view live footage for the first time. As part of the package, you will first view live 2D images of your baby, before being shown some incredible 3D/4D imagery of your growing child on our plasma screen.

Not only will you be given the chance to discover your child’s gender in a relaxing and warm environment, you will also be able to chart how your baby’s health and wellness is developing, as our sonographers calculate their growth, position and other details about your child.

If you’re eager to experience this bonding and reassurance process as soon as possible, the 20 week 3D ultrasound scan is certainly your best option. However, if you’re willing to wait a little longer, you’ll be rewarded for your patience; we recommend 25-29 weeks as the optimum time to undergo a 3D scan.

The reason we recommend 25-29 weeks is due to the simple fact that this stage in the baby’s development tends to produce the best images. The foetus is not only more fully-developed at this stage, it also still has room for movement, making it far easier to get a view that will create a moving first impression. Another benefit of waiting just a little longer is that you will have access to a broader range of scan packages, which provides you with an extended range of options while allowing you to have a more personal and memorable experience.

Our ultimate goal here at First Encounters is to cater to the needs and expectations of expectant mothers and their families on a personal, non-generalised basis. Whether you wish to receive your scan early or would like to wait until further along in your pregnancy, we will try our very best to make the experience as relaxing and memorable as possible. We will also strive to produce the highest quality image, presenting you with a precious memento to treasure forever.

For more information about our range of scan packages, please click here.
Ultrasound scan
 
There are many different ultrasound scan packages available to pregnant women nowadays, and this variety can sometimes cause confusion. Every scan is of course different, but above all else, it’s important to understand the distinction between elective ultrasound scans and medical ultrasound scans.
 

What is the difference between medical and elective scans?

Simply put, a medical ultrasound scan is one that’s ordered by a doctor/midwife, while an elective ultrasound scan is one that you choose to undergo yourself. Medical scans are generally available for free on the NHS, whereas elective (or ‘keepsake’) scans will be delivered by private companies who charge a fee for the services they provide.
 
Most women in the UK undergo two medical ultrasound scans as standard over the course of a pregnancy; these scans are intended to track the baby’s growth/development, calculate a due date, and identify any anomalies that may be present.
 
In addition to these two scans, a pregnant woman may choose to undergo one or more elective ultrasound scans over the course of her pregnancy.
 

Why book an elective ultrasound scan?

Reasons for choosing to undergo an elective ultrasound scan vary from person to person. Here are some examples of what a keepsake scan can provide:
  • High quality 3D/4D imaging. Medical scans generally result in 2D images only. Some elective ultrasound scans give the expectant parents a closer, more detailed look at their unborn child - some of our customers are even treated to the sigh of their baby-to-be smiling and waving!
  • Early gender confirmation. While medical scans can provide gender confirmation (i.e. whether your baby will be a boy or a girl), many elective scan providers allow their customers to discover this information several weeks earlier. Our gender scans start at 16 weeks.

  • Additional information. Attending an elective ultrasound session in addition to your NHS scans will allow you to track your baby’s growth over a longer timeframe. We may also spot problems/anomalies that develop after you’ve been to the hospital.

  • Keepsakes and souvenirs. Most elective scan providers offer a wide variety of gifts and souvenirs, which can be taken home after the scan and shared with family and friends. Common examples include glossy photographs, DVD recordings, key rings, and fridge magnets; we at First Encounters also offer the ever-popular Heartbeat Bear!
 
An elective ultrasound scan should NEVER be used as a substitute for a medical scan. Instead, elective scans are intended to complement the scans provided by the NHS, giving you an enjoyable experience and allowing you to feel that much closer to your unborn child.
 
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