Pregnancy Scan Review: BubbaView vs Window to the Womb

Pregnancy Scan Review: BubbaView vs Window to the Womb

As first-time parents to be it’s been quite a journey so far. Beyond the ups and downs of navigating pregnancy symptoms, Josh ducking my moods swings and seeing to my every whim - namely urgent requests for minstrels / Cheestrings / [enter craving of the day]. It's been just getting our heads around the idea that we are actually going to be real-life parents of a real-life human that has been - and still is - the toughest challenge. While the NHS scans are nice to have, the experience of waiting in a mass waiting room and being rushed through - sometimes by a locum - doesn’t quite fulfil those expectations you get from movies, when the new mum is swooning at her first baby scan and given the time to enjoy the process.

So, here’s our experience with elective baby scans. Our first a gender scan at 20 weeks with BubbaView in Lancing and second recently with Window to the Womb in Worthing at 27 weeks.

BubbaView: 20 week gender view pregnancy scan

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It is now a while ago that we had our BubbaView scan and found out that we are having a little baby… [not saying nah nah]. In fact, it was just before Christmas and the same day we travelled home to my family in Portsmouth for the holidays. However, my memories of this scan are really positive so it’s a pleasure to revisit the experience for this side-by-side pregnancy scan review.

Excited to see our little bean again

At this point we had already experienced two scans through the NHS. The first at what we thought was 9 weeks (an early dating scan), where we discovered I was actually 12 weeks. Quite a cold experience with a male sonographer who, as a plus size mummy to be, wouldn’t allow me to lift my tummy to help with the scan. Instead deciding to push through me like a piece of dough. So much so, the bruises were quite sore a few days later. The second was rebooked a week later for a clearer view, and the lady was so friendly and caring. She was very keen for me to lift my tummy and able to get a clear view without turning me into a pancake. She took her time, talked to us through what she was seeing and allowed me to do a little walk around the hospital to get baby moving. With these experiences in mind, we didn’t know what to expect at our first private scan.

Having booked and paid online a few weeks earlier, we arrived very excited to see our little bean again and find out the gender. Thankfully, they seemed just as excited to go on the journey with us. We felt very special and spoiled with two ladies looking after us. They took their time getting a good view of our little one, and allowed us to hear the heartbeat straight away - the first time for both of us. After a good 20-minutes they also played back the video to make sure they had the gender correct, which was a really nice experience. We were actually their last gender view appointment of 2017 and the tally was even, so we were the deciding winner for their cute tally in reception, which we marked off with excitement at the end. 

Follow the yellow brick road… behind the house

The only negative was our initial confusion arriving as we knocked on the front door of the house and eventually worked out we need to walk around the back. While the facilities are effectively in a residence, which may put some people off - they are in a separate out-house. The reception was warm and welcoming and the scanning room was comfortable with a really comfortable reclining bed. It allowed us to have a lot of fun discovering the gender before Christmas, going straight to the shops to buy the relevant colour booties wrapping them up and doing a gender reveal with our family on Christmas Eve.

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Wondering what we are having? Well, we’ve decided not to reveal the gender publicly until birth, but I do plan to have a gender reveal cake at the baby shower with close friends and family. Because - it’s a great excuse for a special cake and it means not all of the pressies will be too gender specific.

Josh’s perspective:

Considering it was pretty much in someones shed, I was surprised at how professional it was and the staff were very nurturing.  They took the time and effort to get the best photos for us - even though baby was very lively and wiggling about. I did tell Jen not to have a coffee before the scan! They did point out that babies limbs were very long, so I think Jen also is going to have her work cut out for her at the birth. I’m 6ft 5in to be fair.

Best pregnancy scans from BubbaView - 20 weeks

The best scan we had in early pregnancy - look at that little face

The best scan we had in early pregnancy - look at that little face

We even got a little wave!

We even got a little wave!

Window to the Womb growth & presentation scan - 27 weeks

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Our main reason for booking a scan this time was to get reassurance, because I was told at my last NHS scan that I have a low lying placenta. The reason we chose to go with Window to the Womb in Worthing this time was because they had a specific ‘growth and presentation’ package.

A low lying what now?

For those not in the know, this basically means my placenta is currently blocking the ‘exit’. In the olden days this was the sort of thing doctors were not prepared for and mothers would bleed out at birth - ominous I know. The good news is that 9/10 of mummas will have their placenta move up as the uterus grows - like a balloon I have been assured. So, Window to the Womb felt like the right choice this time, because I got the impression they may be more inclined to confirm whether my placenta is moving up or not, which is quite a cause for anxiety for me at the moment. Not just because it can mean admission to hospital early on and an early C-section (due to the risk of bleeding and lack of exit), but also because we have been under doctors orders to not have any naughty time. It’s been a loooong time and things are getting tense. I am not even allowed to exercise or get ‘excited’. While we both deserve a high-five for our efforts, sexual frustration, pregnancy mood swings and growing first-time parent fear is not a good combination for a happy home environment. Add the lack of booze, our eldest doggy baby Roxie being unwell leading to sleepless nights and late night emergency vet visits - let’s just say we’ve had a lot of rants, misunderstandings and sugary treats or take-outs to get by. Moving on…

Online booking and a cheeky roast

We were able to book our scan online with a £20 deposit and there were plenty of slots available to choose from. For the NHS scans Josh has to take the morning off work, but we were able to book a Sunday afternoon slot. And when we were instructed to ‘eat a snack 2 hours before’ the only logical conclusion was making a day of it and having a nommy carvery on route. Counts as a snack right? Baby thought so. By the time we finished up our feast and partook in some dessert, baby was very lively and ready to perform for the scan. We were very pleased to discover that the on street parking nearby was free on a Sunday, so parked up nice a close and entered the very warm (it was freezing that day) reception area.

A cosy welcome and thorough scan

The chilled out music and reassuring receptionist immediately put us at ease. In fact, the whole reception area was so calming, adorned with baby scan pics and heartbeat teddy bears, we were tempted to curl up on one of their comfy leather sofas for a nap. It was more like a waiting womb if you will - see what I did there?

After a nice talk-through of what to expect from the receptionist, we filled out our form, read the terms and settled our bill. Once we were called in we met the assistant and lady leading the scan. The room was calming, with more relaxing music - a sofa for visitors and additional seat next to the bed. There were also plenty of viewing screens to choose from. The point of the scan we booked was to specifically check the babies growth and presentation, so initially the focus was on measurements. However, they did offer to let us hear the heartbeat and took a moment to nab some nice baby shots at the end. They weren’t comfortable 100% confirming that my placenta was moving up, but they did say it ‘seems to be going in the right direction’. It looks like we will have to wait for the NHS scan to get a definitive answer on whether we can get jiggy again or Mummy can start doing some gentle exercise to help shift some of those frustration-led takeaway calories.

The only blip for plus size mummys

Overall a positive experience, but I do have one gripe as a plus-size mummy to be. The bed was completely flat with no recline option. Now with a 2lb baby in my tummy (at the time), lying flat wasn’t really ideal. As soon as I lay down my back started to twinge and when I was asked to turn I felt sciatica shoot through my lower back - something I had managed to avoid until this point in my pregnancy and then continued to suffer with for the following week. It was excruciating and kind of tainted the experience a little. I mentioned this to reception and they explained that the bed doesn’t rise to an incline, perhaps something they can fix with a new bed down the line. Not least for bigger mummy’s like me who will struggle, but also because pregnant women shouldn’t be lying flat anyway. Even massuers have to massage in a reclining position. 

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Josh’s perspective:

It was so cold that day so my first feeling was being comforted by the reception area. That and the relief I was no longer numb with the cold. Seriously, warmth is an underrated luxury! I got to sit on a sofa in the scan to ease mind and body and thoroughly enjoyed watching little baby putting on a show - stage fright baby has not. Oh and baby was on a widescreen. A widescreen that is incidentally, much bigger than our TV.  Jen - when are we getting a new telly?

Jen: After we get a car, cot, new sofa, bed, pram, car seat, bassinet… and all those other bits. It’s gonna have to get in line :p

Best Pregnancy Scan from Window to the Womb - 27 weeks

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Side-by-Side comparison: pros and cons

If you are trying to decide between the two, we have our list of pros and cons to both below for you. Pick the one that suits you.

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The perfect pregnancy scan pair: bonding time with baby

Overall, we enjoyed both experiences for different reasons and were pleased we decided to get private scans. The extra attention was not only a nice way to help us prepare mentally for having our first baby, but also gave us an extra opportunity to bond and get some reassurance on the growth. We were also pleased we found out the gender early as when we got to our NHS 20 week scan when gender is generally found, they didn’t actually take the time to find out.

For this mum it was comforting to have that earlier additional scan, when I couldn’t feel baby move and needed that extra reassurance. For dad it was an additional opportunity to connect to the experience and get his head around the idea that baby really is coming! However, now we are going to try to resist as having too many scans can 'arguably' be a risk for baby. Besides I can feel little one kicking a lot lately and even Dad has got to feel a few, so we don't really need the reassurance of extra scans as much at this stage. 

You can find out more about BubbaView or Window to the Womb, or feel free to comment if you have any specific questions.

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