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Ask the Sonographer

I’m thrilled to be able to share with you today the next instalment of our new blog series!

Here at Cass Davies Photography, we want to put a spotlight on local baby-related businesses, and on people who are helping or providing beautiful things for new babies, children and parents. And specifically, those based in Cheshire, Flintshire and a little further afield.

Our hope is that you find these interviews interesting and helpful. And all the better if you decide to get in touch with them to find out more about what they do!

Previously…

If you missed the first guest interview we did recently with Jenni, a local midwife, you can find that here. Jenni visited us with her gorgeous son Hudson for his newborn photos and it was lovely to get to know her. She gave us a real insight into her day-to-day working life as a midwife, and shared her top tips.

Now, onto our next interview.

The Birth Company

This time, we’ve spoken with Kate Richardson at The Birth Company.

They provide ultrasound scans at all stages of pregnancy, and have a beautiful new clinic here in Cheshire; just down the road in Alderley Edge.

scan clinic Cheshire photographer newborn chester baby

Kate, please start by telling us a bit about you

Hi, I’m Kate. I’m a professional sonographer and the Director of Ultrasound at The Birth Company.

My job involves helping to manage the new clinic in Cheshire that we’ve recently opened. And I provide sonography services to our private clients both at our London clinic, in Harley Street, and the new Cheshire clinic.

scan clinic Cheshire photographer newborn chester baby

What does a typical working day look like for you?

Well, no day is the same! But I am busy doing ultrasound scans three days per week. The rest of the time, I’m managing both the new clinic in Cheshire and London, and am involved in the day to day running and development of the clinic.

I get involved in everything really. From updating the website and other marketing activities through to managing staff, and ensuring an excellent level of customer care and support. And being a small business, with a small team, I need to be involved in everything – I even put the bins out!

The Birth Company was established in 2000 and is based in Harley Street, London. Why did you recently open a local clinic, here in Cheshire?

The new Cheshire clinic is the first of several new clinics we plan to open nationwide in the next few years. And the main reason for that is that we did our research. We felt that there was a gap in the market.

We simply felt that the rest of the UK wasn’t being served in the way that we serve our clients at our Harley Street clinic.

We also noticed that people were travelling from large distances to visit us in London. Typically, our clients come from anywhere within the UK and even Europe. It’s not uncommon for couples to travel from all corners of the UK. We have had clients from Scotland who travelled down, and from abroad too!  So, we felt it was necessary to offer a new clinic.

By opening a clinic in Cheshire, and in other areas in time, we can serve more people within a reasonable distance from where they live. And the idea is to bring our high-quality care and scanning services to the rest of the country, while still serving our London-based clients.

What’s the Cheshire clinic like?

scan clinic Cheshire photographer newborn chester baby

We are really proud of the new clinic! We believe that it has the same draw as our Harley Street clinic. It was great to be able to design the clinic from a blank canvas, installing state of the art equipment and based on our experience from Harley Street, everything we could think of that our clients need.

It’s not like other scanning clinics in that it’s not based on the High Street.

It’s a beautiful purpose-built building with lots of customer parking. It’s not located in the city, so our clients don’t need to go into Manchester city centre to visit us. And we deliberately chose the location and designed it in such a way so that we are making the experience more comfortable and convenient for our clients.

What’s the best thing about working at a private scanning clinic?

scan clinic Cheshire photographer newborn chester baby

Well, I’ve worked for The Birth Company for five years and I’m so glad to be here! But before then I worked for the NHS, at a big London hospital.

Now I’m working in the private sector, the biggest difference I would say is that we are able to provide a more bespoke service to the patients. A really personal experience. We are not subject to the same time constraints or by the politics of the NHS.

And with top of the range and new ultrasound equipment, we can achieve high definition images for our clients.

We also ensure that we hire great people who are helpful and committed to providing the very best possible service to our clients. We have our clients’ best interests at heart and offer greater flexibility than the NHS in terms of appointment availability. For example, our London clinic is open late and that means that couples can come to the scans at a time they’ve chosen such as in the evenings, after work. Rather than the lady having to go alone because her partner is at work.

How do you help pregnant women and couples who are trying to conceive?

The Birth Company offers all types of scans including pregnancy, gynaecological and fertility scans.

Routinely in the NHS, pregnant ladies have 12- and 20-week scans, and that’s it! But we offer a number of different ultrasound scanning options and this gives couples the option to have additional scans if they want them.

  • Early pregnancy/Viability Scans

Typically, clients first come to us for an early pregnancy scan. And couples who opt for those have usually experienced a previous miscarriage, an ectopic pregnancy or have had IVF. They want to know, early in the pregnancy, if all is ok.

Viability scans are carried out in early pregnancy (from as early as 6 weeks). After that, they may then choose to have further scans with us, to get additional reassurance throughout the pregnancy.

  • Downs syndrome test

We also offer NIPT, Non-Invasive Prenatal Testing which is a new screening for Downs Syndrome and other abnormalities. It’s far more accurate than the NHS screening that pregnant women are offered, and we’ve done approximately 6000 of these in the last 4-5 years.

Whereas the NHS test is 85% accurate, our test is over 99% accurate. It’s a super-duper test! We find that lots of ladies come up as high risk for Downs with the NHS screening and then come to us for this second test for additional reassurance.

The best part is that it’s non-invasive, and women can come to have it done as early as 10 weeks into their pregnancy for this, and at any time thereafter.

  • Gender scans

We also offer a sexing scan at 16 weeks, which is earlier than the sexing scan offered by the NHS. Good for those who can’t wait to find out the gender of their baby!

  • Growth scans

And we offer a growth scans during the pregnancy. Typically, women may choose to have one done at 36 weeks to check their baby is in the right position, not too big or too small and all ready for the exit!

  • 3D & 4D scans

There’s also the option of 3D/4D scans, and we do these anytime between 26-32 weeks gestation.

  • IVF

And, we also do scans for ladies who are preparing to go for IVF. We check they are responding to the IVF medication and that they’re ready for treatment.

There are lots of ladies going abroad for IVF these days and, so they aren’t in the NHS system. That’s why they come to us for scanning. We provide detailed ultrasound reports and images, emailed directly to the referring IVF clinic.

Thanks for your time Kate. Where can our readers find out more about The Birth Company?

The best place to start is our website: https://www.thebirthcompany.co.uk. There we list all the details about the scans we offer and the pricing and packages.

Then, if anyone would like to get in touch with us at the Cheshire clinic, they can call us on 01625 704080 or email us at  Alderleyadmin@thebirthcompany.co.uk.

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