What to consider before having an ultrasound scan…

It is important to think carefully about whether to have the scan or not.  Any scan, whether performed for diagnostic or souvenir reasons, may provide information that may mean you have to make some important decisions.  If a scan shows that there might be a problem, you will be referred to your NHS hospital who may offer more scans or tests.  

What happens during an ultrasound scan?

Most scans are carried out by specially trained staff called sonographers, ultrasound practitioners or clinical imaging specialist. The scan is carried out in a dimly lit room, so that the sonographer can get good images of your womb and the baby.

You'll be asked to lie on a couch, lower your skirt or trousers to your hips and lift your top to your chest so that your abdomen is uncovered to allow direct contact between the ultrasound transducer and skin.

The sonographer or their assistant will tuck tissue paper around your clothing.

The sonographer then passes a handheld transducer / probe over your skin to examine the baby's body. Gel is used to make sure there is good contact between the probe and your skin. A black and white image of the baby will appear on the screen.

The sonographer needs to keep their screen in a position that gives them a good view of the baby.  A 50" wall-mounted screen will display the scan for you and your guests.

Sometimes it's difficult to get a good picture if the baby is lying in an awkward position or moving around a lot, or if you're above average weight or your body tissue is dense. This doesn't mean there's anything to worry about.  If the sonographer is struggling to see you may be asked to move your body is specific ways or go for a short walk to improve baby’s position. 


How many guests can I bring to my appointment?

As per Government guidelines we are open for all our scan options, but with COVID-19 precautions in place.  Our scan room allows for you and up to 3 guests, and no more than 2 children.

Can an ultrasound scan harm me or my baby, and how do you keep us safe?

Having the scan doesn't hurt or put pressure on your baby, but the sonographer may need to apply slight pressure to your tummy to get the best views. This is sometimes uncomfortable.

The safety of ultrasound is continuously being studied by various professional bodies and has not been shown to cause any harm.  We rigorously follow the safety guidelines for ultrasound equipment as set out by the British Medical Ultrasound Society (BMUS).  Please also see advice from Public Health England by visiting their website.

What is the difference between 2D, 3D and 4D ultrasound?

2D (two dimensional) ultrasound has been used for decades and is known as the traditional black, grey and white images obtained from high frequency sound waves to produce a picture of your baby.  Because your baby's skeleton is soft, 2D ultrasound can look inside your baby to assess development and wellbeing.

3D ultrasound is a still image of baby's outer appearance produced by a program that pieces together multiple 2D images taken at different angles.

4D ultrasound is similar to 3D ultrasound except that the generated image is continuously updated so that you can see movements that your baby makes inside the womb.

Why do 3D and 4D ultrasound images differ so much in quality?

You’ve probably seen 3D ultrasound images that range from breathtakingly clear to others that are nothing short of scary!  There is definitely some luck involved in getting those perfect shots. Ideally baby must be in an outward facing position with amniotic fluid surrounding him / her.  Other factors that affect image quality are the amount of amniotic fluid around baby, your body size / weight, and the position of the placenta and umbilical cord.  Our sonographer has plenty of experience and will make the very most of your appointment time.


Can ultrasound provide a 100% guarantee of my baby’s gender?

Ultrasound can never provide a 100% guarantee of your baby’s gender, only your baby’s DNA can do this. 

How accurate is the early gender opinion scan?

Gendering at 13 weeks is known to be 91% accurate when image quality is good, and the scan is performed by an experienced sonographer. 

How accurate is the 16 weeks + gender scan?

Ultrasound is known to be 99% accurate after 16 weeks when image quality is good, and the scan is performed by an experienced sonographer. 

Not found the answer to your question?  Please get in touch via our Contact Us page.