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What to expect at Antenatal appointments

During your pregnancy, you will usually have between seven and ten antenatal appointments depending on whether it is your first pregnancy.

Some women, who are expecting multiple babies or have more complex needs may require additional appointments.

 

About appointments

Each antenatal appointment has a specific medical purpose as well as providing you with an opportunity to discuss any concerns or ask any questions you might have.

You should bring a fresh urine sample to each appointment.

At your appointment, we will carry out certain checks in order to monitor your health and the development of your baby.

These include:

  • checking your blood pressure and test your urine
  • measuring the size of your uterus
  • discussing your baby’s movements
  • discussing vaccines such as whooping cough

 

First contact with your midwife or doctor

You should make contact with your doctor or midwife as soon as possible once you know you are pregnant. You can self-refer directly to one of our Maternity Units within Southern Trust by clicking this link ………………………….

It is important that you tell your midwife or doctor if:

Please inform your midwife or doctor if you have a disability so we can adapt our care to meet your needs. If you don’t speak English as your first language and feel that you need an interpreter, please let us know so arrangements can be made.

 

Booking appointment

Your first in-person appointment is known as a booking appointment, which will take place at round 11-12 weeks gestation. The appointment can take a couple of hours and it will be held at the hospital’s Antenatal Outpatients Department.

At your booking appointment, the midwife will ask you a number of questions to build up a picture of your health and your pregnancy. This is to make sure you are given the right care and support during your pregnancy and to make sure any risks are spotted early. You will be given a scan to confirm that you are pregnant and confirm your due date.

The midwife will also discuss information about:

  • antenatal screening tests and offer to take blood samples
  • how the baby develops during pregnancy
  • nutrition and diet
  • exercise and pelvic floor exercises
  • your antenatal care, including group care and education
  • vaccines to protect you and your baby, including COVID-19, flu and whooping cough
  • breastfeeding
  • antenatal education classes
  • your options for where to have your baby

You will also have an opportunity for you to tell your midwife or doctor if you are feeling bothered about something, feeling vulnerable or need to talk about anything that is affecting you or your baby.

 

Screening (Blood Tests)

During your booking appointment, you will be asked for your consent for some investigative blood tests. These blood tests check for particular medical conditions, help to inform your plan of care and include:

  • Full Blood Count
  • Blood Group and Antibodies Screen
  • Hepatitis B
  • HIV
  • Syphilis
  • Rubella
  • Random Blood Sugar

We can also offer an additional blood test called the Quadruple Test, which will give you a probability ratio for Down’s syndrome. A doctor or midwife will discuss this with you in detail at your appointment if you wish to avail of this screening.

 


  • 16 weeks

    Your midwife or doctor should give you information about the ultrasound scan you will be offered at 18 to 20 weeks and help with any concerns or questions you have.

    We will also:

    • review, discuss and record the results of any screening tests
    • measure your blood pressure and test your urine for protein
    • consider iron supplements if you are anaemic
    • give you your maternity hand held record (MHHR)

    Please bring your maternity chart (notes) with you to ALL of your visits and appointments

  • 18-20 weeks (anomaly scan)

    You will have an ultrasound scan to check the physical development of your baby. The main purpose of this scan is to check that all the growth and structures are as anticipated.

  • 25 weeks (First time mums only)

    Your midwife or doctor will carry out your regular checks including:

    • check the size of your uterus
    • measure your blood pressure and test your urine
    • discuss COVID-19, whooping cough and flu vaccines
    • discuss your baby’s movements

    Mat B1 is a maternity certificate of your due date which you need to claim Statutory Maternity Pay or Maternity Allowance. Your community midwife can complete this for you at your 25 week review or you can request it over the phone.

  • 28 weeks

    Your midwife or doctor will:

    • use a tape to measure the size of your uterus or carry out a growth scan
    • measure your blood pressure and test your urine
    • offer more screening tests
    • discuss your baby’s movements
    • offer you anti-D treatment if you are rhesus negative
    • provide copy of ‘Off to a Good Start’ and RCOG ‘Assisted vaginal delivery’ information sheet.
    • discuss infant feeding.
  • 31 weeks

    Your midwife or doctor should review, record and discuss the results of any screening tests from the last appointment, and carry out your regular checks.

    We will also direct you to ‘Birth Choices’ section in your maternity notes and encourage you to think about your birth plan.

  • 34 weeks

    Your midwife or doctor should give you information about preparing for labour and birth, including how to recognise active labour, ways of coping with pain during labour and your birth choices.

    They will also carry out your regular checks.

  • 36 weeks

    Your midwife or doctor will give you information about:

    • feeding and caring for a newborn baby
    • discuss colostrum harvesting and offer a kit to take home
    • vitamin K and screening tests for our newborn baby
    • your own health after your baby is born and postnatal depression
    • if you have a history of Group B Step, you will be offered to take a self-swab at this visit if you wish to do so

    They should also give you your regular checks.

  • 38 weeks

    Your midwife or doctor will discuss the options and choices about what happens if your pregnancy lasts longer than 41 weeks.

    They should also carry out your regular checks.

  • 40 weeks

    Your midwife or doctor should give you more information about what happens if your pregnancy lasts longer than 41 weeks, this will include discussion about Induction of labour and sweep of membranes. They should also do your regular checks.

  • 41 weeks

    Your midwife or doctor should:

    • discuss your options and choices for inducing labour
    • offer a membrane sweep
    • carry out your usual checks

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