When the time comes to book your first early pregnancy scan, it will be up to you and you alone whether you decide to go private or through the usual NHS channels. Anyone entitled to NHS healthcare will of course be offered pregnancy scans 100% free of charge and in most cases won’t necessarily have to travel far, but at the same time more women than ever before are choosing to pay the extra to go private.
Which begs the obvious question – why? Or more importantly, do you really get anything additional out of going private that makes it worth spending the money on?
Well, it of course depends on what you’d ideally like to get out of the process itself and what matters most to you. It’s sometimes difficult to put value for money into exact terms as the prices charged by competing providers up and down the UK can be quite radically different. That being said, take an average of those working in any given town and the costs of going private are rarely anything close to expensive. But even in the cases of scans that really don’t cost a great deal at all, is it really worth spending an extra penny when such services are free of charge on the NHS?
The Key Benefits of Going Private
To knock what the NHS does would be unfair, but at the same time, if the health system in the UK was even close to ideal, there wouldn’t be any need or call for private health care in general. More often than not, it’s simply a case of weighing up the added extras that can be expected when booking a private scan which undoubtedly gives the private route the edge, minor or otherwise.
- Service Package – With the NHS, the service package offered to women heading in for a scan is pretty much set in stone…what you get is what you get. By contrast, when you book to go private you’ll have far more options at your disposal to tailor the service package. You might want a few extra copies of the scan pictures, you might want to practice a little more discretion during the test and you might not want to know the sex of the baby – nothing is too much to ask when going private for a scan.
- Scan Quality – Most NHS treatment centres will carry out scans using standard 2D ultrasound scanners, which certainly tick all the necessary boxes but don’t get a great deal further. Technology has come a long way over recent years to such an extent that scanners can now be used to create a full 3D or 4D image of an unborn baby within the womb. It’s always exciting to see a blurry squiggle on a screen and know it’s your baby – it’s something else when you can see them in glorious 3D glory!
- Confidence – While not necessarily connected with quality of care, there’s much to be said for seeing the same nurse time and time again for all scans, appointments and general interaction during pregnancy. This can be difficult or even impossible when dealing with the NHS, but comes as a guarantee when booking privately.
- Privacy – There’s often very little intimacy when it comes to the kind of scanning and testing the NHS carries out during pregnancy, which may not faze some but is borderline intolerable for others. By contrast, when booking for a private early pregnancy scan you’re guaranteed a calm, soothing and peaceful environment in general and your own private room for all scans and conversations.
- Convenience – It’s also worth considering the way in which it is often necessary to work around whatever times and dates the NHS has to offer, as opposed to things being the other way around. Normal life rarely comes to a grinding halt during the early stages of pregnancy, which is why the convenience of booking privately at the perfect time to suit you and you along represents another key benefit.
In terms of where to go and how to book, it’s as simple as using the web to find a reputable clinic that’s won the praise and recommendation of its past and present clients. This delivers the kind of peace of mind that’s hard to come by when dealing with NHS specialists who despite their competence may not be quite as personable as private practitioners.