Expectant mums and dads are queuing up to get a sneak preview of their babies thanks to a Lancashire firm specialising in three dimensional models of unborn babies still in the womb.
Baby:Boo specialises in 2D, 3D and 4D ultrasound scans - and is now one of the first places outside London to offer parents-to-be a model of their actual baby while it is still in the womb.
The firm creates a 3D scan image of the baby and then renders it into a 360 degree format and printing it out as a 3D model.
Layla Macmillan, 28, who is married to Andrew and lives in Farington, near Leyland, is pregnant with her fourth baby and has become one of the first people in the North West to experience the new concept.
Layla, who has three daughters Paige, seven, Imogen, five and Autumn, who is nine-months-old, is 32-weeks pregnant with a girl.
And when she heard about the opportunity to have a life sized figurine created capturing her unborn daughter’s features, she couldn’t resist.
It is a bit like the 3D casts people have made of their baby’s hands and feet, except it is a 3D cast of your baby’s face using the features from one of the images from the scan.Layla Macmillan
Layla, who is a photographer, says she is an impatient person who likes to be organised so she has always chosen to find out the sex of her babies in all of her pregnancies.
And she is amazed at how much technology has advanced - now even allowing her to ‘hold’ her baby before it has even been born.
Layla said: “I first went to Baby:Boo when I was pregnant with Autumn to have a 3D scan and it was amazing.
“When you go to hospital for a scan, it is not personal and you have a tiny screen and you can’t see very much and are only allowed to take one person in with you.
“But with Baby:Boo, you can take 15 people in with you for the scan and it is a big screen and you can see everything so clearly.
“With Autumn, we had a 16-week scan and then a bonding scan which you can have between 29 and 31 weeks.
“This is the scan where they can see all the features and you get an idea of what your baby will look like.
“I have got photographs of Autumn when she was seven hours old and she looks exactly the same as in her bonding scan.”
With her current pregnancy, when Layla heard about the chance of having a life-like model created of her baby using the detailed images from the scan, she jumped at the chance.
Layla said: “It is a bit like the 3D casts people have made of their baby’s hands and feet, except it is a 3D cast of your baby’s face using the features from one of the images from the scan.
“Being a photographer, I love things like that and thought it was an amazing idea.
“Having images and a DVD of your baby is one thing, but having a real model to hold is so unique.
“We are very excited to be the first to have this done at Baby:Boo.
“It is so special to be able to hold a caste of your baby’s face before it is even born.”
“It is a lovely keepsake and we will treasure it and enjoy showing our family and friends.”
Layla says she is delighted at the impending arrival of her fourth daughter.
She said: “Me and my sisters have 12 girls between us!
“Our husbands are totally outnumbered!”
Katie Kermode, who runs Tarleton-based Baby:Boo, said: “Having a 3D scan during pregnancy is becoming more and more the done thing.
“We wanted to ensure the experience remains extra special and give our customers a unique keepsake that they can’t get anywhere else outside of London.
“We’ve always been a step ahead of other studios in terms on technology and we wanted to make sure that we continued to lead the field.
“The 3D figurines are a really unique way to share the excitement of your new baby with family and friends.”