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Peek Before Birth

Most expectant parents eagerly wait for the first ultrasound sight of the baby to be born in six months' time//. It is often the first proof that all is well and the pregnancy is on track.

This is often the only view they get to see of their child until the day of the birth. However this is not enough for an increasing number of parents who are willing to pay hundreds of pounds for a clearer picture of their baby in the womb.

The primary purpose of the hospital scan is as a diagnostic tool, which is used to ensure the baby is growing at the correct rate and that the heart is beating. Unless called back for a second scan due to blood test results being abnormal parents have to go to private clinics for another look at their unborn child.

Several private clinics in Scotland offer the same two-dimensional scan and also 3D ultrasounds with more recognisable images and even diagnose foetal abnormalities. The latest is the 4D scan in Edinburgh, giving parents moving footage of their unborn baby in intricate detail.

Terry Brown, clinic manager and sonographer of Healthcare Now, the first to offer the 4D scan says, "The technology used is extraordinary. Pregnancy is obviously a very special time for a woman, and quite often the excitement of having a memento of your baby moving before it's born can overtake the moment."

For a charge of £235, patients are given a half-hour diagnostic 2D scan and a half-hour 4D scan which produces moving pictures of a baby in the womb, sucking its thumb, yawning or even smiling. The images are then copied on to a DVD for the mum-to-be.

Terry says: "It's basically a nice scan for women to bond with their babies, to see the a real view of the arms, the face, the legs. It's the chance to see them opening their eyes, yawning or moving about. It also gives them reassurance.

"There are a lot of 4D scanning studios opening up throughout the country and this is what people obviou
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