Your Antenatal appointment schedule
Your care in pregnancy is often referred to as ‘Antenatal care’ which refers to the care, advice and support you will get from a range of healthcare professionals in your pregnancy such as midwives, GP’s and specialist doctors called obstetricians.
This care will involve antenatal appointments that will be arranged for you to check your and your baby’s health and well being.
Your antenatal appointments are important – they are planned to regularly and consistently check your health in pregnancy and also that of your baby.
Your midwife or doctor will also provide you with essential information during your appointment about maintaining a healthy pregnancy, monitoring your baby’s growth and well being through your baby’s movements and when to seek urgent medical advice.
In your third trimester your midwife/doctor will also discuss with you your plans for labour and birth, what care is best suited to you and your options for things like pain relief.
Your first contact with a midwife or doctor
This can be as early as the day you find out you are pregnant or just after. In order to start your antenatal care you will need to be referred to a maternity unit – which is based in a hospital. It is up to you which hospital you choose, but do bear in mind how long it will take you to travel there, especially if you need to attend regularly and in labour.
Your GP can send the referral on your behalf – or in many areas you can self-refer too online. Try googling the name of the hospital you would like to be referred to and the term ‘maternity self-referral’. Often it involves completing an online form, which will then lead to your first face-to-face midwife appointment being sent out to you.
What to expect from your first midwife appointment at 8 to 12 week:
Your first appointment is often referred to as your booking in appointment – the first contact with your midwife if you are based in the UK.
During your booking appointment your midwife will find out about you, your medical history, your family’s and baby’s father’s medical history and your background.
Some questions may seem intrusive such as your ethnic background or your occupation, but the questions are to determine if you need any additional care or support. If you’re not sure why your midwife needs to know, just ask, they will be happy to explain.
You will have a number of blood tests to determine:
- Your blood group
- Your rhesus factor
- Your iron & vitamin D levels
- If you have any infections such as HIV & Hepatitis B
And a few checks will be done to determine:
- Your height & weight to find out your BMI
- Your blood pressure
- Any infections in your urine
Your first scan will also be booked in by your midwife at this first appointment.
You’ll also receive your maternity notes at this appointment (either by paper or electronically), which will contain contact numbers and useful information, such as a schedule of when you’ll usefully have follow up appointments.
16 weeks midwife appointment
This appointment will often happen after you have had your first scan. Your midwife or doctor will check to ensure you have a further ultrasound scan arranged for around 18 to 20 weeks and will also check to see if you have the results of any screening tests back and explained to you.
Your blood pressure and urine will also be checked and you will have the opportunity to ask any questions or discuss any concerns you have with your midwife.
18 to 20 weeks midwife appointment
Around 20 weeks you will be offered a further scan often referred to as the anomaly scan. You may see your midwife after the scan to discuss the results and check all is ok.
You will also be offered the whooping cough vaccine after your 20 week scan and your midwife will also be able to sign and give you your MAT B1 certificate if needed.
25 weeks midwife appointment
If this is your first baby you will be offered a 25 week appointment. During this appointment your midwife/doctor will carry out routine checks that will be repeated at each antenatal appointment going forward.
The routine checks are:
- Discuss with you how you are feeling – both emotionally and physically
- Monitoring your baby’s growth by using a tape measure to measure your bump
- Monitor your blood pressure for signs of hypertension and pre eclampsia
- Test your urine for protein and glucose
- Discuss your baby’s movements with you
28 weeks midwife appointment
The routine checks carried out at 25 weeks will be repeated as well as:
- A repeat blood test for anaemia (FBC) and to confirm your blood group (G+S)
- If your blood group is rhesus negative you may be offered an Anti-D injection
31 weeks midwife appointment
Routine antenatal checks will be carried as well as discussing the blood results from your 28 week appointment.
34 weeks midwife appointment
Routine antenatal checks will be carried as well as discussing what your choices and plans for birth are.
36 weeks midwife appointment
Routine antenatal checks will be carried as well as discussing breastfeeding and caring for your baby after birth.
38 weeks midwife appointment
Routine antenatal checks will be carried as well as discussing your options for care if your pregnancy extends beyond 42 weeks and induction of labour.
40 weeks midwife appointment
Routine antenatal checks will be carried as well as discussing a membrane sweep and what to expect at your next appointment.
41 weeks midwife appointment
Routine antenatal checks will be carried as well as the offer of a membrane sweep. You will also be offered the option of booking for an induction of labour by 42 weeks.
42 weeks midwife appointment
If you have chosen not to be induced then you will be offered additional monitoring of your baby and a discussion about your plans for birth.
Where do I have these antenatal appointments?
They can be in a variety of settings – in the antenatal clinic of the hospital you are planning to have your baby at, in children’s centres or at GP surgeries – but don’t worry they will always be with experts in maternity care and you will be advised in advance of the appointments you need to attend and why.
Do I get time off for antenatal appointments?
Yes – all pregnant employees are legally entitled to paid time off for antenatal care, starting from your very first appointment. This applies not just to medical appointments – you are also entitled to time off for attending antenatal classes, if recommended by your midwife or doctor.