When Will My Midwife Appointments Be?by Your Baby Club
So, you have had a positive pregnancy test - now what? Well, you can expect to attend a fair few appointments over the next few weeks. That said, after your initial excitement, it can feel a little bit like an anti-climax as no one really needs to see you until you are at least 10-weeks pregnant.
Here is the schedule you can expect for your maternity care:
First Thing’s First
The first thing to do is contact your GP or midwife, just to let them know that you are pregnant. If you haven't been taking it pre-conception, then you should also start to take folic acid supplements which help to prevent birth defects such as spina bifida.
Between 8 and 12 weeks, you will have what is known as your 'booking' appointment. This lasts up to an hour, as there is lots of information to go through. Your midwife will ask you lots of questions about both you and your partner’s medical history. This is to ensure that you get the care that is appropriate for your needs.
In addition, at this appointment, you will be given lots of information that will explain:
- Your baby’s development throughout pregnancy
- Nutritional information
- Exercise in pregnancy
- What to expect in your antenatal appointments
- Birthplace choices
- Antenatal classes
- How you wish to feed your baby.
- Take your blood pressure
- Take blood to ascertain your blood group, cell count, rhesus factor, antibodies and screen for HIV, hepatitis B and syphilis.
- Measure your height, weight, and note your BMI
- Test your urine for any infection or protein
- Check your pulse
- Explain all about the screening tests available
- Book your 12/13-week ultrasound appointment
- Ask you how you are feeling emotionally
- Where you plan to have your baby
- Pain relief options
- How you plan to feed your baby
- Coping strategies for labour & birth
- In addition, you may be given information regarding
- Caring for your newborn
- Vitamin K injection
- Newborn screening programme
- Emotional wellbeing
Many hospitals now use electronic notes but if not, you will be given your handheld notes to keep with you. Remember to take these with you to every appointment and if you go away anywhere - just in case!
During this appointment, your midwife will also:
Before the end of your 13th week, you will be given an appointment to attend your dating (nuchal) scan. Although it's referred to as a dating scan, screening for chromosomal abnormalities such as Down’s syndrome are also offered at this scan.
At this appointment, you will be given details of your next scan and review your blood tests. You will also have your blood pressure, urine, and pulse checked again. They may also use a doppler to let you listen to the baby’s heartbeat.
Between 18 and 20-Weeks
It’s scan time! At this scan, the sonographer will assess the development of the baby to ensure that all the internal organs are growing as they should be. Now the baby is that bit bigger, it is easier to look in detail at the bones, heart, spinal cord, brain and other bits and pieces. At this scan, you can also find out the sex of your baby if you wish to do so.
If this is your first baby, you will be offered an appointment at this time just to check how you are getting on. As will be the case at every appointment, your midwife will check your blood pressure, pulse, urine, and emotional wellbeing.
All pregnant women will see their midwife at this point as you will be offered a blood test to check how your iron levels are doing. Many women become anaemic during pregnancy and can feel particularly tired. If your tests do show that you have a low iron level, you will be prescribed iron tablets to give you a little boost.
Your bump will also be measured at this appointment and the results plotted on a chart. This helps the midwife to monitor your baby’s growth and flag up any concerns regarding too rapid or slowing growth. Any such concerns would be referred for an additional scan to have a closer look.
At this appointment, if you haven't organised them already, your midwife should advise you of any antenatal education that is available. However, you can always arrange this for yourself with our Official Midwife over at Let’s Talk Birth and Baby.
Another additional appointment for first-time mums. Any recent blood test results will be reviewed and your bump, blood pressure and pulse measured.
Another antenatal checkup to monitor how your blood pressure is doing, and to ensure you haven’t got any protein in your urine. Both assessments are looking for a condition called pre-eclampsia which presents with high blood pressure and needs to be carefully monitored.
This appointment may be slightly longer, as you discuss with your midwife your plans for delivery. This is an opportunity for you to chat about:
Although your due date is still 2 weeks away, if your baby arrives now, that is fine. At your 38-week appointment your midwife will discuss your options should you go over your due date. As always, your blood pressure, urine and pulse will be monitored at this visit.
Your baby is now officially due for eviction, and you will see your midwife at this stage and be given more information regarding your choices. Your midwife may also discuss booking you in for a sweep, which is an internal vaginal examination where the cervix is located, and the midwife sweeps her fingers around the inside to encourage the commencement of contractions. You do not have to have this if you don’t want it.
As per the norm, you will have your blood pressure, urine and pulse checked and your bump measured. You will be offered a membrane sweep at the appointment and induction of labour can be discussed and if you agree, a date booked in.
If you have chosen not to be induced, you will have the usual observational checks at this appointment and may also be offered a CTG (cardiotocograph) just to keep an eye on the baby's wellbeing whilst we are waiting on their appearance.