Firstly, congratulations on your pregnancy, what an exciting time ahead for you – whether it’s your first or your third pregnancy, the excitement is the same, the hopes and dreams for your developing little one remain the same, the dreams for your growing family remain the same. In terms of your antenatal care, whether it’s your first baby or your third baby, the appointments and midwife checks only change ever so slightly. How often you will visit your midwife depends on whether this is your first baby or the second, here’s the breakdown of when you’ll see your midwife and what will happen at each stage.
When you are pregnant with your first baby, NHS Guidelines state you should see your midwife firstly around 8-12 weeks. At this appointment your midwife will be able to book you in for your first scan, let you know of any supplements you may need to take, take a full medical history of both you and your partner and they will also explain the risks and benefits of certain tests, checks and procedures. The midwife may also ask if they can take some blood samples and also a urine sample whilst also checking your blood pressure, height and weight. At the end of the appointment you’ll receive your maternity notes which will remain with you throughout your pregnancy.
Your next appointment will be between 10 and 14 weeks of pregnancy. This appointment will be in the sonography clinic where the sonographer will check your babies development and confirm your due date. At this appointment it will also be confirmed whether you are expecting one or more babies.
At around 16 weeks you will be back in clinic to see your midwife! There, they will discuss the results of your initial blood tests and urine tests. It may be a good idea for you to start taking an iron supplement which your midwife will suggest if necessary. Your blood pressure and urine will be checked at each visit so it’s a good idea to collect some sample pots at each visit! At each appointment, there should be the opportunity to ask any questions you need answering so make sure to note any down as you think of them.
Between 18 and 21 weeks you will be offered another scan to check the growth and development of your little one. Some hospitals will let you know the babys sex at this point if you so wish! Accurate measurements will be taken to record growth at this stage and development of the heart, brain, spine will all be thoroughly checked.
At 25 weeks – only during your first pregnancy – your midwife will call you to clinic again. All of the usual checks will be made, your bump measured, urine checked and blood pressure taken.
At 28 weeks there is another midwife visit whereby the midwife may offer to take blood to check iron levels again. At every appointment from now, your midwife will measure your bump with a tape measure to check baby is growing well. She will again check blood pressure and urine.
At 31 weeks – only during your first pregnancy – you will see your midwife again for the usual blood pressure and urine checks. The midwife will also provide results from the blood test taken at 28 weeks. Many women look to start antenatal courses around now. Do take a look at the antenatal courses offered by Beautiful New Beginnings – we offer a range of courses to suit our pregnant mums and offer continued support post pregnancy too.
At 34 weeks you will visit your midwife again for blood pressure and urine tests as well as bump measurement! If you are pregnant with baby number 2 and didn’t have a 31 week appointment, then at this point you’ll also be given your 28 week blood test results. If you have any concerns over labour, birth or your mood, please do let your midwife know at these appointments so that they can help you and point you in the right direction of advice and support. If you have written a birth plan, this is a good time to chat it through with your midwife.
Now you’re 36 weeks pregnant your midwife will check your baby with her hands to see what position your baby is in. Most babies will be in a head down position by 36 weeks of pregnancy ready for birth. If your baby is bottom down, breech, your midwife will send you for a scan to confirm this and your options will be discussed with you upon confirmation. Your midwife may discuss with you the checks that will happen after your baby is born and she may explain why your baby may be offered vitamin K.
At 38 weeks your midwife will check your blood pressure and urine and measure your bump. They may also talk to you about the options available to you if your pregnancy progresses further than 41 weeks. Your midwife will talk through any worries you may have and answer any questions. It’s normal to feel quite nervous at this stage.
At 40 weeks – for your first pregnancy only – your midwife will measure your bump, do the usual blood pressure and urine tests and your midwife may offer you a membrane sweep. This can help to stimulate the cervix and start off labour which may help avoid induction. There are other ways you can encourage labour to start too – some more helpful than others!
At 41 weeks your midwife will offer another membrane sweep and will carry out all the usual checks. She will also offer to book you in for induction at this appointment if you should wish. Your midwife will go through all of your options with you.
So there’s the schedule of appointments that you’ll have with your midwife throughout your pregnancy! Its so important to make sure that at all appointments, you write down any concerns or questions you may have in a little notebook – no question is too small or too silly. I promise, they’ll have heard them all before and a question answered is a worry prevented! Our antenatal courses provide you with opportunities to have your questions answered too and follow on online and whatsapp support is available with professionals too meaning if at any time night or day you have something you need to know, you can ask and your question will be answered. Continuity of care is huge, its so important to build a relationship with your midwife and to trust them. Remember, you can request to change midwives at any point – you deserve to have a good, honest, open relationship where you feel listened to and heard. Pregnancy can be a worrying time for many so having someone available to listen to those fears is key. If you’d like to know more about the services we offer visit our website www.beautifulnewbeginnings.co.uk for further information.
Take care and rest up!