Your questions answered

Here you will find a quick and easy overview of frequently asked questions
Frequently Asked Questions

Are your sonographers fully qualified?

Yes, absolutely. This is something that we feel is crucial and sets us apart from some other clinics. We use only fully qualified registered sonographers and workers. All of our sonographers have experience in all aspects of both obstetric and gynaecology ultrasound. For your safety, we make a conscious decision to only employ fully qualified and experienced staff so that they have the skills and training to be able to cover all areas of this ultrasound practice.

What is the best time to come for a 3D/4D scan?

We only offer 3D/4D scans from 21 weeks, but we recommend coming between 28 - 32 weeks for the best images. We can scan in 3D/4D earlier than 21 weeks as a sneaky pick.

When can you sex my baby?

Here at UltraCare Plus, we depend on 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 couple weeks 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 think this is unreliable and will only tell you when we can see the developed genitals.

I have bleeding or pain, should I book an appointment?

If you are experiencing bleeding or types of 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. However if you struggle to have a scan at your local NHS you can book it with us (subject to the available slots).

How old do I need to be to have an appointment?

At UltraCare we have a strict policy of only providing ultrasound scans for people aged 18 and over.

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. In some cases 2 weeks follow-up could be recommended.

What if I haven't felt any movements for long 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. If you are worried about your baby's movements, 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. For reassurance of your baby wellbeing we can offer you growth or reassurance scans.

Can I cancel/change my appointment after I've booked?

Yes, you can reschedule your appointment, however this must be done at least 48 hours before your appointment time. To reschedule your appointment use the ‘Change/Cancel Appointment’ button on your confirmation email.

Is my booking deposit refundable?

No, unfortunately, the booking deposit is not refundable if you cancel your appointment or do not attend your appointment your booking deposit will not be refunded.

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

2D is a two dimensional image of your baby, this is a black and white cross-section. 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. The external probe that we use omits sound waves in different directions and measure those sounds wave bouncing back. From this 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.
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 messing about.

Is an ultrasound scan safe?

There is currently no evidence to suggest that ultrasound is harmful, but 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.

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. Ultrasound does not use radiation to create the images that you see. Rather, ultrasound uses high frequency sound to produce the images that you see.

Who can I bring to my scan?

We want you to be able to share your experience with your family, we have a scan room with space and seating for 3 people.

(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.)

I want to know if it is a boy or a girl, can you tell me?

Sure our sonographer will do their best to be able to sex your baby, if they can’t 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?

Completely okay with us, 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?

The scan will take twice as long with twins, so our price is in accordance with this. We charge £30 per additional baby. However, if you are having an early scan or dating scan there is no extra charge as this will not need a longer appointment time.

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.

Do I have to wear facemasks at the clinic?

In short, 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-19 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 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.

These rules do allow exceptions for those who cannot 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.

Do you have parking?

Monday to Saturday provides a service of 08:30 - 18:30 parking, pay at machine or pay by phone.
  • Cost stands at 60 pence at an hourly rate (60 p/hr) with a max stay of 3 hours;
  • Out of hours parking is free;

Can I get to you via train or bus?

Yes you can. Our scan centre is located on bus routes, and main-line train lines with train stations within walking distance.
Bus Routes / Stops:
  • Hayes / George Lane - 119, 146 (Bus Stop K and N) with a 1~2 minute walk to your destination;
  • Hayes Library - 353 (Bus Stop W and J) with a 3 minute walk to your destination;
Closest Train Stations:
  • Hayes Train Station;
  • Bromley South Train Station;
  • Bromley North Train Station;
  • West Wickham Train Station:
    Recommended to take the 119 bus route for above station;

What happens if I’m late for my appointment?

Unfortunately, if you are late for more than your appointment time, we will not be able to see you. But we have individual approach and can discuss options.

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, 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).

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 pints of water 20-30 before your appointment time so that it has time to fill up.

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.

Do I need to bring my maternity notes with me?

Yes, please bring your notes with you so we have all your information at hand if needed.