Mom-to-be Hope Francis barely has a baby bump at 20 weeks. She can't even feel her little girl kicking yet. But already, she has seen the details of her face.
"I love her little nose. It's so awesome with the 3D imagery, you can see every detail," Francis, 26, said.
In addition to her doctor, she is also getting regular ultrasounds at Babygrams Imaging Studio. The new business in Farragut has a licensed sonographer and offers a less clinical experience.
"Seeing what she looks like before she gets here is exciting. It makes it more real," said Francis.
Babygrams owner, Carol Marksberry, performed ultrasounds for doctors for 27 years and noticed a common complaint.
"Insurance companies only pay for two ultrasounds and parents, moms, grandparents want to see their baby, the newest member of their family, every single time they go to the doctor," Marksberry said.
She added that she typically had dozens of patients a day and could only allow them a few minutes to look at their baby. She moved to Knoxville to open her business when she found this market didn't have other businesses like it. A Google search shows Nashville has at least five 3D/4D ultrasound boutiques. Several Knoxville doctor's offices also had 3D/4D imagery available for a fee.
Babygrams also reveals the gender of a child more than a month before a doctor typically does.
"She (Marksberry) was able to tell us what the baby was at 15 weeks so it was really exciting because our doctor said 19-20 weeks. We were like 'No, we can't wait that long.' This is something we've always wanted," Francis said.
Now about halfway through her pregnancy, Francis can't get enough of her little girl's face. She likes that she can see her as much as she wants.
"My entire life. I've always dreamed of being a mom," she said.
Before you can get an ultrasound at Babygrams, you have to have established care with a doctor. These visits do not replace a doctor's visit.
A 3D/4D session starts at about $150 dollars and includes a video recording, photo prints and a 20-30 minute session.
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