Where are you based?
Your Baby Scan currently operate 2 private scan clinics in Widnes and Crewe. Each scan centre is open 5 days a week, with both open on a Saturday. The days that we are closed at each clinic differ, allowing us to offer 7 days a week availability between each scan centre.
Are you registered with the CQC?
At Your Baby Scan, we are providing non-diagnostic ultrasound to see your baby. The use of ultrasound is a Regulated Activity in England, which the Care Quality Commission (CQC) are the Regulator. As a result, there is a legal requirement for any provider offering ultrasound, regardless of whether they are qualified, competent, or delivering that service safely to be registered with the CQC.
You can view full details of the registration for Your Baby Scan here, along with the rating of our service for each of our clinics:
Are your sonographers fully qualified?
Yes, absolutely. This is something that we feel is both very important, and sets us apart from some other clinics. We use only fully qualified HCPC registered sonographers. This is someone that has not only had the training at university in Radiology and specialism in Ultrasound, but has received training on multiple areas of anatomy.
All of our sonographers have experience in all aspects of both obstetric and gynaecology ultrasound.
We do not employ Midwife Sonographers, who do no hold HCPC registration, but instead are registered with NMC (Nursing and Midwifery Council). In our experience most midwives, whilst having full knowledge of pregnancy, have only received a limited amount of training in ultrasound in specific types of scans. For example, a midwife may be trained in early pregnancy scanning, but not trained in anomaly scanning, or presentation scans, or visa-versa.
For your safety, we make a conscious decision to only employ fully qualified, experienced HCPC sonographers, so that they have the skills and training to be able to cover all areas of ultrasound, throughout your pregnancy, and ensure that you receive the right care if we identify something that needs it.
When can I come?
Whats the best time to come for a 3D/4D scan?
We only offer 3D/4D scans from 21 weeks, but we recommend coming between 26 - 30 weeks for the best images. The earlier you have your 3D/4D scan, the less 'chubby cheeks' baby will have. Unlike some other scan centres, we can scan later than 30 weeks, but after 30 weeks we can't guarantee pictures as the baby may be moving into position ready for birth, and it scan start to get a little more cramped inside the womb.
We can scan in 3D/4D earlier than 21 weeks, but baby isn't very developed at this stage. For safety, we do not offer 3D/4D scans earlier than 16 weeks.
When can you sex my baby?
At Your Baby Scan, we depend of visually confirming the fully developed genitals to be able to tell you the gender of your baby. This is from around 16 weeks, though for some babies it can be a week or two later. Some other scan centres use different methods, such as the 'nub theory' to determine the gender, which is based on the direction that the developing genitals are directing. We find that this is unreliable and as a result will only tell you when we can see the developed genitals.
I have bleeding or pain, can I have an appointment?
If you are experiencing bleeding or pain it is essential that you contact your NHS clinical care team in the first instance. They will most likely want to provide you with a scan, and will have clinicians and facilities available if you need urgent treatment which will not be available in our clinic
How old do I need to be to have an appointment?
At Your Baby Scan we have a strict policy of only providing ultrasound scans for people aged 16 and over. For young people aged between 16 and 18, whilst we do not require a parent or legal guardian to attend your appointment with you, we strongly recommend that they attend with you to provide you with the guidance and support during your appointment.
Unfortunately we do not routinely allow ultrasound appointments for young people aged 16-18 years prior to 9 weeks (Dating Scan).
How often can I come for an appointment?
Some people will want to visit us once during their pregnancy, and others will want to visit us multiple times. We recommend spacing all ultrasound appointments 4-8 weeks apart where possible to keep the amount of time that your baby is exposed to ultrasound to a minimum. Though there is no clinical evidence that ultrasound can cause any harm to your development baby, this is precautionary. You should consider that your NHS appointments will be fairly fixed points during your pregnancy, with your NHS Dating Scan around 10-14 weeks, and your NHS Abnormality Scan 18-21 weeks.
Whilst you can come sooner than 4-8 weeks, you should let your sonographer (private or NHS) know if you have had a scan less than 2 weeks ago so that this can be taken into consideration when taking measurements.
I haven't felt any movements for a number of hours...
Whilst we understand that not feeling your baby's movements can be very worrying, there is no set rule to when, and often a baby should move. Each pregnancy can be different, and you will get to know your baby's movements.
If you are worried about your baby's movements, in the first instance you should contact your hospital's maternity unit straight away. The clinical care team at the hospital will not only be able to monitor you and your baby safely over a period of time, but they will also be able to provide you and your baby with the right support if there is anything wrong.
Further information about babies movements can be found here:
Only if your NHS Clinical care team cannot or will not see you, will be able to offer an appointment to provide reassurance. Any appointment will only be able to check for a current fetal heart beat to ease any anxiety and should not be a substitute for being checked over by your clinical care team.
Do I have to pay in full?
All of our appointments require a non-refundable deposit of just £10 to secure your date/time. We have this as the lowest possible so that it only covers costs that we have incurred to service your appointment from the point of booking. At this time, appointments can only be booked with the minimum deposit either via our online chat (where a secure link can be provided for payment), via telephone (0330 223 1169) or in person at any of our clinics.
Can I cancel/change my appointment after I've booked?
Yes of course!
We don't charge anything to rearrange your appointment to another date or time. We recommend looking through the real-time availability on our website to choose your new time first, and then contacting us via either our online chat or social media channels, or calling us.
If you do need to cancel your appointment, the £10 deposit is non-refundable. We have this as the lowest possible so that it only covers costs that we have incurred to service your appointment up to that point in time. Anything that you have already paid above and beyond the £10 deposit will be refunded at your request.
How does the technology work?
Whats the difference between 2D, 3D and 4D?
2D is a two dimensional image of your baby. This is a black and white cross-section, the same as when you attend your normal NHS scan. A 2D is best for our sonographers to be able to see the internal bones and organs of your developing fetus/baby as it offers a clear view throughout the body. For this reason, we use 2D scans for our Early Reassurance, Dating and Presentation Scans.
3D is a three dimensional image of your baby, this means you can see depth - no, you don't need to wear special glasses. :) The external probe that we use omits sound waves in different directions and measure those sounds wave bouncing back, much in the same way sonar works. From this information, our machine builds up a 3D image of your baby. Our 3D scans typically take a look at your baby's cute button nose and tiny fingers.
The 4D image is the term given to the 3D image moving in real-time, so you may see baby waving, having a drink, or sometimes they are naughty and may be pulling their chord.
HD is a high definition image of your baby, using an artificial light source the images of the baby are much better quality. Unlike some scan centres who charge a premium for this, here at Your Baby Scan all 3D/4D scans will feature HD iLive images
What machine do you use?
We use Mindray and Sonoscape ultrasound machines at our scan centres, each fully up to date with current standards, and regularly serviced. We evaluated ultrasound machines from a number of manufacturers including GE, Samsung and Siemens, and decided that Mindray and Sonoscape offered a combination of most natural imaging, and innovative technology, which we can make use of.
We regularly keep our machines up to date with the latest models, software and equipment including the latest transvaginal and 4D probes.
Is an ultrasound scan safe?
There is currently no evidence to suggest that ultrasound (including 4D Bonding Scans) are harmful, however, it is important that you have all of the facts about the risks associated with the procedure before coming to your decision on the matter. In general, it's recommended for good measure to keep your scan times to a minimum, and that this is particularly during the early stages of pregnancy, for this reason, we will end scans during the very early stages of pregnancy once we have been able to provide you with the reassurance that you seek.
The following links will help:
- Public Health England guidance
- NHS Fetal Anomaly Screening Programme
- Care Quality Commission (CQC) - Choosing a baby scanning service
- British Medical Ultrasound Society (BMUS)
- EFSUMB – European Federation of Societies for Ultrasound in Medicine and Biology
Whether you choose to have a scan with us or not, it is essential that you keep your NHS Ultrasound appointments.
Does ultrasound use radiation?
It is a very common misconception that because our 2D images show a cross-sectional image in black and white, which can similar to an X-Ray in appearance, that Ultrasound also uses Radiation to capture images. Ultrasound does not use radiation to create the images that you see. Instead ultrasound uses high frequency sound (beyond that audible by humans or animals) to produce the images that you see; much in the same way as a sonar on old submarines.
What will the scan be like?
Who can I bring to my scan?
Here at Your Baby Scan we want your experience to be the complete opposite to your NHS scan. We know that they only allow 2 people to your scans. We want you to be able to share your experience with your mum, dad, nan, gran, aunt and uncle and even your neighbour!
At the moment the number of people allowed to attend your appointment is dependent on COVID restrictions at the point in time and you should always check our COVID restrictions page before you visit for the most up to date information.
Typically we allow yourself plus either:
- 3 adult guests plus any dependent children
- 5 adult guests
We have a large TV screen in Widnes, and an even bigger projection screen on the wall in Crewe, so everyone can see.
Please note: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic there may be additional restrictions to how many people can attend your appointment with you, please see our latest COVID-19 restrictions. Whilst restrictions are in place, our Your Baby Scan Live service will be available for free of charge for friends and family to join your scan from the safety of their own homes.
Boy or Girl I want to know, can you tell me?
Sure our sonographer will do their best to be able to sex your baby, if they cant on your first visit we will bring you back free of charge for another try.
What if I don’t want to know the Gender?
Then this is fine. Just make sure you let our sonographer know and she will try and stay away from this area
Do you charge more for twins or more babies?
No, although we would suggest a 30 minute appointment to ensure you get plenty of time to see all of your babies, you are more than welcome to come to one of our standard appointments if you have twins and you will not be charged any extra. This simply allows less time to see each of your twins.
Do I still need to have my NHS appointment?
YES, absolutely! Our sonographers want to make sure you see your baby and don't carry out a full abnormality check during your scan. Our sonographers will perform a wellbeing check during your scan, but this does not go into the level of detail required during an abnormality scan, which by itself could take up the entire time that you appointment is planned for, and would leave no time for you to bond with your baby or see them in 3D/4D. As a result, the wellbeing check doesn't cover all the things that your midwife needs to see and know so its best to still keep up with all of your NHS scans and appointments.
Can I have a chaperone?
Yes, chaperone's are available for all of our scans. We request notification in advance of your appointment where possible to ensure that this can be accommodated. Without notice, if a chaperone is not available, we may unfortunately have to rearrange your appointment to accommodate your needs.
Do I have to wear facemasks at the clinic?
This is perhaps the most contentious question that we are asked each day, particularly since the government announcement that all restrictions were removed in England.
In short, yes, facemasks are required in our clinics for adults and children over 11 years of age for yours, our staff, and other patient's safety in our clinics. In addition, pregnant women, who have reduced lung capacity due to pregnancy, are considered high-risk, and vulnerable should they contract COVID-19 during the later stages of pregnancy which could further reduce lung capacity. The effects of COVID on the developing fetus are as yet unknown, but the RCoG do not believe that the risk to the fetus development is high.
Whilst the government removed restrictions in public, the Department for Health & Social Care (DHSC), Public Health England and UKHSA (UK Health Security Agency) collectively applied to national IPC (Infection Prevention and Control) guidelines, that all medical settings must remain COVID-Secure at this time, despite the wider government removing restrictions. If any medical setting (of which we are one) do not follow the national guidelines, then it is a given that we are in breach of the Health & Social Care Act, which across a number of Regulations, requires that we manage infection control, and ensure patient safety for everyone, in our clinics. The Care Quality Commission regulate clinics like ours, and monitor us to ensure that we are compliant with the Regulations of the Health & Social Care Act and if we are found to be in breach of the Regulations, they have the powers to not only close our clinics, but to fine our leadership team, and could even resort to imprisonment if it was found that we were deliberately putting patients at risk.
These rules do allow exceptions for those who can not wear a face mask, but may not be the same as those that were applied nationwide during the Coronavirus pandemic, and are the same rules thar are applied at the hospital for your NHS visit.
It important for us to stress that these rules are applied to us, not rules that we have created because of any personal beliefs. We understand that some people do not believe in wearing face masks and feel that this infringes on their human rights; by following the rules and guidelines that are applied to us, we are sorry if this causes any offence. It is absolutely not intended.
Can I listen to my baby's heartbeat during my scan?
In short, if your baby is measuring more than 16 weeks during your scan, yes. If your baby is measuring less than 16 weeks, no.
We follow the guidance of many organisations including BMUS, SoR, EFSUMB and ISUOG which recommends against high power ultrasound modes during the earlier stages of ultrasound when the organs and development of the fetus may be affected by tissue heating. Whilst there are no recorded cases of adverse effects of tissue heating on the development of a fetus, the effects are considered unknowns and therefore advice is to not take any risks. BMUS guidelines are not based in weeks, but to ensure that a fetus is not put at risk our safety cut off is 16 weeks onwards.
How can I get to you?
Do you have parking?
Yes, both of our scan centres have dedicated parking. For details specific to each scan centre click here.
Can I get to you via train or bus?
Yes you can. Both of our scan centres are located on bus routes, and main-line train lines with train stations within walking distance. You can find details for each scan centre here.
What happens if I’m late for my appointment?
If we can we will try and fit you in to accommodate you, we may have to re arrange for another day. We do ask that you try and let us know if you are going to be late or cant make your appointment. You may lose your deposit if you don’t let us know.
If you can let us know that you're on your way, but are likely to be late (e.g. stuck in traffic) then we may be able to let the next appointment go in for their scan early, and you can take their appointment slot. In any case, we'll do our very best to see you as soon as it is safe to do so.
What if the sonographer does pick up on something?
Whilst we don’t go out of the way looking for problems, if our sonographer does notice something unusual then with your permission we will refer you to your midwife or local hospital and our sonographer will provide you will a clinical report of our findings and letter to take with you.
Each of our sonographers are fully qualified in performing diagnostic obstetric ultrasound scans, so they are more than capable of measuring for example the amount of fluid around baby, or nuchal translucency inline with NHS and UK protocols, but they will not perform these measurements unless they happen to have a cause for concern.
Our sonographers will absolutely not hide away from telling you if there is something wrong.
What if you can't see my baby's face?
If we can't get a picture of your baby's face, we will do everything we can on the day. We may send you back into our waiting area with a cold drink and some sweeties to get your baby moving or we may ask you to go for a stroll which can all help to get baby moving. We suggest that if you have been traveling for a while you come earlier than your appointment time and make sure you get to have a little walk around before coming in (don't be late for your appointment).
If you have booked our Premium package which includes Face+ you will be offered the opportunity to come back on another day to try again at no additional charge. Standard package customers have the option to upgrade to Premium on the day.
Do I need a full bladder for my early scan?
For all scans up to 21 weeks we require a full bladder prior to scanning. Filling your bladder helps to lift baby out of the pelvis and make it easier (and therefore clearer) to see which is essential for checking baby's wellbeing.
Anything you drink can take around 20-30 minutes to get to your bladder so we recommend drinking around 2-3 pints of water 20-30 before your appointment time so that it has time to fill up. Anything you drink after you arrive for your appointment is likely to be filling your bladder after your scan has been completed which could make for an uncomfortable journey home.
Do I need a full bladder for a scan later in pregnancy?
Whilst it's not going to make your images any clearer attending an appointment later in pregnancy, we still recommend having a full-ish bladder for your appointment if you can. We understand that this is much harder later in pregnancy with a baby bouncing around inside you, and if you can't that's fine.
Having even a partially full bladder can help to encourage baby to move when you empty it, so it can be a good tool to help if you have a stubborn baby, but even if you have an empty bladder, we have lots of other techniques available to try to get that little one into the right position for images.
What if I feel unwell after my appointment?
Depending on how you feel unwell, the steps that you need to take vary.
If you exhibit:
- high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
- a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
- a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you've noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal
- Get a PCR test (test that is sent to a lab) to check if you have COVID-19 as soon as possible.
- You and anyone you live with should stay at home and not have visitors until you get your test result – only leave your home to have a test.
Anyone in your childcare or support bubble should also stay at home if you have been in close contact with them since your symptoms started or during the 48 hours before they started.
Get help from NHS 111 if:
- you're worried about your symptoms
- you're not sure what to do
If you feel unwell in any way other than the above COVID-19 related symptoms, you should contact your midwife, GP or clinic care team in the first instance, the same as you would if you hadn't attended an appointment at one of our clinics. This is to ensure that you receive the full and correct treatment for your symptoms.