Pregnancy and growing a new life is possibly one of the most exciting (and terrifying) things in life, it opens up a whole new world you didn’t know existed, a whole new way of looking at things and a heck of a lot of stuff to buy! I say this because I think naively, and my wife thought we knew a lot about babies and children and it turns out there is still a lot to know!
That brings me onto private scans, something I knew about but didn’t necessarily think much about them until we were having our first baby. Since we were having IVF treatment we were automatically given a scan at 7 weeks with the clinic themselves (also known as a viability scan). This is something you wouldn’t get through the NHS unless you are a high-risk patient.
Once we had that scan we were then under the care of the NHS and so the process everyone goes through started with midwife appointments and booking for the first scan at 12 weeks. After that, you have another scan at 20 weeks pregnant and then for most patients no more scans. It can often feel like you are left to it and that is that. Quite daunting really isn’t it?
So many who are excited to see their baby, maybe feel a little anxious about baby developments or just want to check in every so often might look to book a private scan. So if you are on the fence and not sure about whether a private scan is right for you or not, read on to see the advantages, disadvantages and reasons why a private scan might or might not be right for you.
What Is A Private Scan?
A private scan is a general ultrasound scan that you can have outside of the hospital/NHS service. These are done privately through a number of ways from being booked in with a private clinic for your full pregnancy and labour or just a one-off appointment at a registered establishment within your local area.
They will use the same technology as you would get in the hospital (not often the same spec of machines) but the experience and procedure are generally the same.
Private scans that are just a one-off appointment to see the baby won’t do any medical measurements or take any notes but will want to notify a doctor if they see anything worth noting or that needs deeper inspection. Otherwise, the differences are very small and just means that at the private scan you are more likely to be just looking at your baby on the screen, looking for gender and getting some nice pictures.
Where Can You Get Private Scans?
Private scans are usually establishments located in a number of places in your local area, they aren’t attached or associated with a doctor or the NHS and are privately run.
You can book these through websites such as Groupon or Wowcher or just by searching in google “private baby scan” from there you can find one local to yourself and read the reviews on google to see which is best for you.
How Much Do Private Scans Cost?
Private scans can vary depending on what you are looking for within your scan, some come as packages and will often have 4D scans available, will offer a video or disk/USB with pictures on etc.
We found that the scans within our area ranged from £40 for a normal scan up to £75 for more in-depth 4D scans. This can vary depending on where in the UK you live and the current rate for services such as these but we found anything from £40 to £80 mark for general scans was expected.
The higher price points usually come with those that are more detailed packages like the one below;
You can also experience some that will offer more such as videos of the baby, USB or disc with video and images on along with heartbeat recordings and more.
The Advantages Of Having A Private Scan?
There are a number of advantages to having a private scan and this can vary depending on your situation, you as a person and/or your partner, medical background and overall viewpoint.
Here are my top advantages to having a private scan;
- if you feel anxious and like to ‘check in’ with the baby and see for yourself the movement this can help keep you calm, feel better that everything is okay and just give a sense of peace.
- If you are looking at finding out the gender early, you can do this at a private scan from 16 weeks.
- If you are before the 12 week NHS scan and feel you want/need to see your baby
- If you are at a high percentage of twins within your/both families you can have early scans to check the development and assess the situation – as twins or multiples can often cause more problems health and growth.
The Disadvantages Of Having A Private Scan?
Along with the sunshine of positive reasons for having a scan, there are of course some downfalls and that isn’t to scare you away but to give you all the facts and information so you can be fully away when going into one of these private scans.
Here are some disadvantages of having private scans;
- They can become addictive, wanting to see your baby often and so it can in turn be expensive.
- The added cost can mount up – even one scan can take up funds you have set aside for items for the baby itself.
- They don’t always go the way you want, this is not to be scary but we went for a gender scan and had a lot of trouble with our cheeky baby, it actually left me feeling a little down and underwhelmed. This may be a similar feeling for yourself and your partner.
- The machinery they use might not be as high quality as you experience while at the NHS scans and so you might not get the same quality or experience.
Are Private Scans Worth It?
While I feel private scans are worth having there are some exceptions to the rule. Our one and only private scan wasn’t the best experience, while the sonographer was doing her best and was super sweet, the establishment itself wasn’t a pleasant experience so reviews and recommendations are extremely important in these cases.
There are also other factors to consider where you may feel private scans are not worth it. Such as you are working on a budget and want to use the money you do have for other more important items for the baby itself, the NHS scans are more than enough and are of the highest quality and care. You may also feel private scans are not worth having if you are fit and healthy, you have no real worries or anxious feelings about the baby or feel the need to ‘check in’.
You may also find that they are not worth the money if you haven’t found a place within your area that has been recommended or even has good reviews, this is not an experience you want to have when you are pregnant.
Personally private scans are worth having if you are a little nervous and though nothing medically is wrong you want to ‘check in’ with your baby and have a little peace of mind, you want to find out the gender of your baby before the 20 week NHS scan or if you are looking to get more photographs and scan images as part of a keepsake and development journal you are making.