advice

antenatal appointments

Once that pregnancy test proves positive, you're going to be seeing a lot more of your hospital, clinic or GP than you probably ever have in the past. Apart from the tests and scans that check whether your baby is at risk of any abnormalities, you'll have a schedule of antenatal appointments designed to keep a close eye on the general health of you and your baby. Where you have your appointments will depend on where you plan to have your baby. First-time mums will have up to 10 appointments, others about seven. And remember, you're allowed paid time off work to attend them.

It's crucial you go to everyone, as there are several checks midwives need to make on a regular basis. It's also a great chance to ask any questions, so make a list of concerns between appointments.

antenatal appointments

your first antenatal appointment

This happens between 8 and 12 weeks and is often called your booking appointment. It can be a long one and, because of this, may sometimes be divided into two appointments.

what your midwife will do

Tell you about:

  • healthy eating and lifestyle
  • your antenatal care
  • tests and screening
  • maternity benefits

Ask you about:

  • previous pregnancies
  • your medical history and that of your partner
  • your work, home and general circumstances
  • the date of the first day of your last period

They will also:

  • weigh and measure you
  • check your heart, lungs and general health
  • check your urine for sugar (a sign of diabetes) and protein (a sign of a serious condition called pre-eclampsia)
  • check your blood pressure (high blood pressure is another sign of pre-eclampsia)
  • offer you a dating scan
  • take a blood sample for testing

The blood test will check if you:

  • are anaemic
  • have immunity to rubella (German measles)
  • have any infections that may harm your baby (including HIV)

what to expect at following antenatal appointments

At subsequent appointments, your midwife will:

  • check your urine, blood pressure and weight
  • feel your bump to check the position of your baby and how they're growing
  • listen to your baby's heartbeat
  • discuss the results of any tests

Blood tests will be repeated at week 28.

dates for your diary

Details vary around the country, but timing of appointments will be approximately:

  • before 12 weeks (may take two appointments)
  • 16 weeks
  • 25 weeks (first-time mums only)
  • 28 weeks
  • 31 weeks (first-time mums only)
  • 34 weeks
  • 36 weeks
  • 38 weeks
  • 40 weeks (first-time mums only)