a helping hand:
what your midwife will do for you
From the day you tell your doctor the exciting news (you're pregnant!) until your baby is 10-28 days old, you'll have a helpful midwife (or a team of them) on hand to support you on this journey. These trained professionals are there to answer all of your questions about pregnancy and childbirth and to monitor your progress, although if it looks like things are getting complicated they'll refer you to an obstetrician.
You'll have lots of meetings with your midwife during your pregnancy and therefore lots of chances to pick up any tips and tricks to help you during this time. Here's our quick guide to what should happen at your midwife appointments.
from 8-12 weeks: booking an appointment
This is a chance for your midwife to find out more about you. Be ready for personal questions about your last period, your family's health history, and (as painful as it is to talk about) previous miscarriages and abortions. You can ask questions too, so don't be shy.
from 8-14 weeks: dating scan
Ah, your first scan! This is to check that your baby is developing properly and to work out (roughly) the date they're due to be born. If you want a nuchal fold scan to check for down's syndrome, your midwife will need to refer you before 13 weeks.
around 16 weeks: a quick catch up
Your doctor or midwife will chat to you about the anomaly scan that you'll be offered at 18-20 weeks. They'll use this appointment to go over and chat about any test results, check your blood pressure and urine, and offer you iron supplements if you're showing signs of anaemia.
from 18-20 weeks: anomaly scan
This does what it says on the tin, checking your little one to make sure they're developing the way they should be. You can get the whooping cough vaccine any time after 20 weeks until you give birth, but it's best to get it before 32 weeks.
the 24 week midwife appointment: setting the standard
From now on, appointments usually follow the same pattern. At your midwife appointments from 24 weeks, expect to have your baby measured and to get urine and blood samples taken. You will equally have your tummy felt to check the baby's position and can sneak a little listen to your little one's heartbeat.
34 weeks: getting ready for the big day
This week your midwife will give you a bit more information about getting ready for birth. They'll tell you how to recognise whether you're in active labour or not, and chat about some strategies for handling pain. They'll also talk about your birth plan and discuss caesarean sections.