Frequently asked questions

What is 4D Ultrasound?

4D Fetal Ultrasound uses 3 dimensional images of the baby, along with the dimension of time, to see movements. The ultrasound itself uses the same technique and technology that is used for your 2D hospital scans. Advances in technology have allowed the contours and shape of the baby's outline to be seen in utero - in the same way that our eye sees the shape and contour of faces. Ultrasound has no known side effects and is solely operated by our professionally qualified Sonographers.

When can I have my 4D Scan?

The best time for a successful 4D scan is between 28 to 32 weeks of pregnancy. At this stage, your baby will have rounded facial contours, which give an accurate view of the characteristics of his/her face and there is plenty of fluid around your baby to allow for movements and provide a ‘window' to see your baby. 4D scanning can be done before or after this stage, depending upon circumstances. Please discuss this with one of our trained customer coordinators before booking.If you book outside of our recommended stage of 28 - 32 weeks, we don't offer a rescan if we can't obtain good images at the first appointment.

Why do you recommend 28 to 32 weeks?

Experience tells us that this is the most likely phase to get successful images of baby. Also babies who are physically smaller and slimmer, whilst looking cute, don't really give detailed pictures of facial features. Part of the fun of the 4D scan is seeing if baby has any family characteristics - which requires detail. A later baby (after 32 weeks) may well have beautiful detail but then the space around baby is more limited.

I am expecting Twins - are there any differences?

YES, Because there are 2 babies and less 'room' than with a single baby, we recommend a 4D scan earlier - at 22 to 26 weeks. If you book outside of these dates, we don't offer a free rescan. Each 4D package costs £15 more for twins.

I want to have my 4D scan at an early stage to find out the Gender - can I do that?

Yes you can have a 4D scan from 18 weeks - but the images reflect what the baby looks like in real life. So the face will be naturally very slim and flat and it can be harder to see distinctive family features. If you really want a 4D at this stage, we recommend the 4D Baby Basic package or just have the Gender scan which includes a brief look in 4D (if baby is in a good position)

What does my 4D scan include?

All of our 4D scans have a medical content in that we measure the baby (4 measurements: Head, Abdomen and Thigh bone) and check that the stomach, kidneys and bladder are seen. It also includes Gender determination if you would like. Then depending on the package you choose you can get the following : Minimum 10 glossy black and white prints(thermal paper) in 4D, 4, 10cms by 15 cms colour glossy photos of your choice with individual comments as requested, DVD recording of 10 minutes minimum, CD of still images in JPEG format, Mousemat with picture of baby, Heartbeat bear with recording of baby's heartbeat, Keyrings etc

I would like a 4D scan but don't want to know Gender - is this possible?

Yes. We always ask at the beginning of your scan if you would like to know Gender and if not we keep away from that area of the baby. Some people want to know the Gender but not at the time of the scan - we are happy to write it down and put in an envelope for later.

Will you tell me if you see any abnormality?

4D Bonding scans are NOT diagnostic tools for abnormalities. However, if any problem were identified, you will be told, so you can be checked at your hospital. In exceptional circumstances and with your permission, we would contact your local hospital on your behalf.

Can I purchase further pictures?

Yes. Often the experience of seeing the baby ‘in-person' is so exciting that other images and permanent keepsakes are requested. We offer options of further images and recordings and the possibility of ordering some unique and beautiful items.

Is it different from my Hospital scan?

Yes. The Hospital scan is primarily a medical examination and is focused on looking for the normality of the baby. The 4D scan is a bonding scan and is not meant to replace or change your regular hospital scans OR private medical scans. It is meant to complement them and allow you time to enjoy seeing your baby.If you want to have a detailed check on your baby - you should book a different package.

Will I always get clear 4D images?

The short answer is usually! The pictures depend on the position of your baby. If your baby is looking away from the scan or has his/her feet or hands or cord in front of the face, we may ask you to go for a short walk to encourage a more favourable position. In the unusual event of the baby still not lying in a good position, you will be offered a further appointment at no further charge to try to obtain images(if you are between 28 -32 weeks). Image quality is affected by the mother's build. So the bigger the mum's build the less clear are the 4D images. An anterior or front-lying placenta can also make getting good images harder. About 30% of babies give good 4D images straight away without much difficulty on the first appointment. Then about 55% will give good images after mum has walked around or drunk or eaten something sweet on the first visit. The remaining 15% need to return free of charge on another date to get images of baby. Of this returning 15%, we will be able to obtain images in 14%. This means we currently have a failure rate of 1% . By failure rate we mean no 4D facial images of the baby could be obtained.

What happens,if at the second appointment it's not possible to get good images of the face?

Unfortunately we wouldn't offer a further appointment. This only happens rarely, but you will have had 2 appointments of 30 minutes each and your baby will have been measured and checked and the heartbeat heard.It is disappointing when the baby is in a bad position - the staff don't like it either! But 4D imaging is heavily dependent on the baby's position - and we can't always get baby to move to the correct position.

Will my 4D images be perfect with nothing else but the baby's face on them?

Sometimes yes but usually some part of the baby or cord or placenta will also be on the image. Totally clear and perfect images happen occasionally but they are not ‘the norm'. For 4D to be successful, we need the baby to lie in plenty of amniotic fluid, looking upwards with nothing across the face- this requires luck!

Will my 4D DVD only contain perfect 4D footage of the baby's face?

The DVD usually begins with a short segment of 2D footage of the baby including the heartbeat. The measurements of baby can be included on the DVD and are often fun at the end of the DVD. We try to get as much 4D face footage as possible on the DVD but this is baby dependent - we always try our best.

Will sound be recorded onto the DVD?

No, our DVD's don't record sound.

Do I need a full bladder for the scan?

No, it isn't necessary for a 4D scan. We suggest you bring chocolate or a sugary drink with you to encourage the baby to move if it isn't in a favourable position.

Who can come with me to the scan?

All of our scanning studios are suitable for an intimate scanning experience of the parents to be, or can accommodate up to 4 adults (plus 2-3 children) be they grandparents, siblings or friends who can share the experience by viewing the flat screen monitor as the scan is carried out.

Can I bring my children with me?

Yes, children are welcome although we don't provide any baby-sitting! Most children enjoy the experience but it's a good idea to bring a favourite toy or a snack with you to amuse them if their interest wanes!

Some other clinics are much cheaper - Why?

We have found that patients don't really enjoy a rushed scan, so ours are 30 minutes.If you look in detail at the content of other scan clinics, you will see that their scan times are shorter - so in fact they are more expensive when compared to our 30 minute appointments.

How do I make an appointment?

You can make an appointment using our on-line booking service or call our call centre to speak personally to one of our trained customer coordinators. Weekend appointments are available for your convenience. If we are busy on other calls, please leave a message so we can call you back.

Is Ultrasound safe for my baby?

Yes. After years of careful research, no side effects from medical ultrasound have ever been found. At The Baby Scan Studio the fully qualified Sonographers work to an agreed protocol suggested by the professional governing bodies. We are confident that we offer a safe and professional service to our customers. If you would like more information, please read these links on ultrasound safety:

What are your opening hours?

In Marlow we are open Monday to Saturday including daytime and evening appointments.
In Colchester we are open Wednesday to Saturday including daytime and evening appointments.
In Chelmsford we are open Monday to Wednesday and alternate Saturdays.
We usually can offer same-day appointments if your request is an urgent one - at no extra cost.
Please call our appointments on 08445 560733 or 08448 580543 to check availability or email us from the Appointments tab on the website.

I just want a quick scan to get 1 picture - do you do cheap short scans?

No we don't. This is because we know patients are never happy after they have had a brief scan which may or may not get a good image. They are usually left feeling disappointed and on a ‘conveyor belt' of patients. We prefer to give a relaxed Bonding experience so that you can ask questions, get good images and information and therefore get better value for money. Cathy Stewart - our Director- has worked for other private scanning companies in the past and did not enjoy rushing the patients through the scan in order to keep to the short appointment times.
Also as part of our Care Quality Registration (CQC) we have agreed protocols as to the content of our scans.

Can I have a NT 12 week scan in an evening or on a Saturday?

Yes you can have this type of scan in an evening if we can arrange for your bloods to be taken but NOT on a Saturday as the laboratory that processes them is closed then.

Why should I come to The Baby Scan Studio and not another private clinic?

At The Baby Scan Studio a lot of our patients have been to us before or have been recommended by friends or family. This says a lot about patient satisfaction. If you look at our Client Comments section on the website, you can see real reviews added by actual patients. As we are registered with the CQC you are also guaranteed to receive your scan in a safe and suitable environment with appropriately trained staff. Clinics not registered with the CQC are ‘illegal' and you might ask yourself ‘why aren't they registered?' All of our Sonographers enjoy scanning and like patients - this shows when you come to us for a scan.

Who scans at your clinics?

All of the staff scanning at The Baby Scan Studio are qualified Sonographers who currently or previously worked in the NHS in Obstetric departments. We don't employ anyone who doesn't have the appropriate qualifications and recent experience which gives patients the reassurance of getting a quality, skilled scan. Look at the Staff tab to see who we are.

I can get a similar scan at another business nearby but they are cheaper. Why is that?

If you just want the cheapest scan possible - then we are not the Clinic for you. If you want good value for money ,with scans performed by registered professionals with years of experience then we are the clinic for you. It's also important to check exactly what's included and how long the appointments are for. On the surface one clinic might be cheaper but often the scan is done in half the time - not such an enjoyable bonding experience!

How can I pay?

We accept all major credit and bank cards(excepting American Express). We also accept cash payment. We don't accept cheques. A non-refundable deposit of £30 will be taken at the time of booking. This will be deducted from the remaining balance. We aim to be flexible, so please ask if you need to change the date or time of your appointment. If you want to cancel your appointment and we are able to fill your slot with another patient, we will refund your deposit minus an admin fee of £3.00.

Will my results be confidential?

Yes, all results from the scans are confidential. We only discuss them with your GP or midwife, if necessary, with your consent.