EXPECTANT mothers in the Highlands are the only women in Scotland being charged for a copy of their baby’s ultrasound scans, it has emerged.

Since 2014, NHS Highland has charged £5 for one copy and £10 for three copies of baby scans while most other health boards provide parents with a complimentary copy

NHS Lothian requests a “small voluntary donation” in exchange for three copies.

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Kate Forbes MSP has now written to NHS Highland asking them to reverse the policy.

She said: “Seeing your baby for the first time on a scan at the hospital is an exciting and happy moment for mums and dads-to-be, particularly when you can see their little hands and feet moving for the first time.

“But it is unfortunate that pregnant mums in the Highlands are the only women in Scotland having to pay £5 for a photo of their baby at their ante-natal scans. When virtually all of the other health boards in Scotland are providing a complimentary photo at such a happy time, I strongly think that NHS Highland should follow suit.”

Most expectant mothers have an ultrasound scan around 12 and 20 weeks, which helps build a picture of their baby in the womb and predict his or her likely arrival date.

Ms Forbes, SNP MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch, added that in the event of a miscarriage, the scan pictures would be the only “meaningful record” some families had of the baby they had lost.

Ms Forbes said: “I recently heard about a young mum from a deprived area in my constituency, who was so excited about becoming a mum for the first time, that she spent over £50 on scan photos because she understandably wanted to show off her baby scan photo to her mum, sister and all her aunties.

“Whilst I accept not everyone will be doing this, the point remains that this young mum used a lot of money from precious little disposable income for once in a lifetime scan photos, and we should be supporting her.”

Mary Ross-Davie, director for Scotland at the Royal College of Midwives, said: “The ultrasound scan is a very significant moment for many parents: seeing the bump as a baby for the first time can be an important step in developing a bond with the baby. While we understand the financial constraints that all health boards are facing in these challenging times, parents in the Highlands should expect to receive high quality maternity care that is free at the point of access, comparable to other parts of Scotland.”

Ms Ross-Davie said should be provided with one free image.

Mark Bhagwandin, spokesman for pregnancy charity, Life, said: “If the health board is having financial difficulties providing these pictures, I have little doubt that many parents would be willing to make a donation to cover the costs.

“It should not be the case however that those who are unable to pay are denied the ability to keep forever those precious and invaluable pictures of their baby in the womb.”

A spokesman for NHS Highland said the antenatal scans are printed on “high quality photographic” paper. He added: “Charging for scanned photographs has been in place for a number of years, but in the light of the current information we will now undertake a review of this practice.”