Picture this: You’re looking at your pregnancy test when you see the positive result start to appear. Once your initial excitement wears off, you may be left wondering “what next?”
Get your diaries out ladies!
So, you have had a positive pregnancy test – NOW WHAT?
Well, you can expect to attend a fair few appointments over the next few weeks. That said after your initial excitement it can feel a little bit like an anticlimax as no-one really needs to see you until you are about 10 weeks pregnant.
To help you note the key milestones throughout your pregnancy, I’ve noted some dates that you will need to pop in your diary for your maternity care…
Here is the schedule you can expect for you maternity care
First thing to do is contact your GP or midwife just to let them know that you are pregnant. You should also start to take folic acid supplements which helps to prevent birth defects such as spina bifida.
Antenatal appointments between weeks 8 and 12
Between 8 and 12 weeks you will have what is known as your booking appointment. This lasts up to an hour as there is lots of information to go through. Your midwife will ask you lots of questions about both your and your partners medical history. This is to ensure that you get care that is appropriate for your needs.
In addition at this appointment you will be given lots of information that will explain:
- Your baby development throughout pregnancy
- Nutritional information
- Exercise in pregnancy
- What to expect in your antenatal appointments
- Birth place choices
- Antenatal Classes
- How you wish to feed your baby.
Many hospitals now use electronic notes. If not, you will be given your hand held notes to keep with you. Remember to take these with you if you go away anywhere – just in case!
During this appointment your midwife will also:
- Take your blood pressure
- Take blood to ascertain your blood group and count, Rhesus factor, Antibodies and screen for HIV, Hepatitis B and Syphilis.
- Measure your height, weight and BMI
- Test your urine for any infection or protein
- Check your pulse
- Explain all about the screening tests available
- Book your 13 week ultra sound appointment
- Ask you how you are feeling emotionally
Antenatal appointments at 13 weeks
Before the end of your 13th week you will be given an appointment to attend your dating scan. Although it is called a dating scan, screening for chromosomal abnormalities such as Down’s Syndrome are also offered at this scan.
Antenatal appointment at 16 weeks
At this appointment you will be given details of your next scan and review your blood tests. You will also have your blood pressure, urine and pulse checked again.
Antenatal appointments between 18 and 20 weeks
It’s scan time! At this scan the sonographer will assess the development of the baby to ensure that all the internal organs are growing a they should be. Now the baby is that bit bigger it is easier to look in detail at the bones, heart, spinal cord, brain and other bits and pieces.
At this scan you can also find out the sex of your baby, if you wish to do so.
Now you have had your scan and are half way through you may want to book onto your antenatal classes with our Official Midwife over at Let’s Talk Birth and Baby.
Antenatal appointment at 25 weeks
If this is your first baby you will be offered an appointment at this time just to check how you are getting on. As will be the case at every appointment your midwife will check your blood pressure, pulse, urine and emotional wellbeing.
Antenatal appointment at 28 weeks
All pregnant women will see their midwife at this point as you will be offered a blood test to check how your iron levels are doing.
Many women become anaemic during pregnancy and can feel particularly tired. If your tests do show that you have a low iron level you will bye prescribed iron tables to give you a little boost.
Your bump will also be measured at this appointment and the results plotted on a chart. This helps the midwife to monitor your baby’s growth and flag up any concerns regarding too rapid or slowing growth. Any such concerns would be referred for an additional scan to have a closer look.
At this appointment if you haven’t already your midwife should advise you of any antenatal education that is available. However, you can always arrange this for yourself with our official midwife over at Let’s Talk Birth and Baby
Antenatal appointment at 31 weeks
Another additional appointment for first time mums. Any blood test results will be reviewed and your bump, blood pressure and pulse measured.
Antenatal appointment at 34 weeks
Another antenatal checkup to monitor how your blood pressure is doing and to ensure you haven’t got any protein in your urine. Both of these assessments are looking for a condition called preeclampsia which presents with high blood pressure and needs to be carefully monitored.
Antenatal appointment at 36 weeks
This appointment may be slightly longer as you discuss with your midwife your plans for delivery. This is an opportunity for you to chat about:
- Where you plan to have your baby
- Pain relief options
- How you plan to feed your baby
- Coping strategies for labour & birth
In addition you may be given information regarding:
- Caring for your newborn
- Vitamin K injection
- Newborn Screening Programme
- Emotional wellbeing
Although you are nearly there it is not too late to sign up to a Let’s Talk Birth and Baby FREE antenatal class which will cover all you need to know about having a natural labour and birth.
Antenatal appointment at 38 weeks
Although your due date is still 2 weeks away if your baby arrives now that is fine. At your 38 week appointment your midwife will discuss your options should you actually go over your due date.
As always your blood pressure, urine, pulse will be monitored at this visit.
Antenatal appointment at 40 weeks
Your baby is now officially due for eviction and you will see your midwife at this stage and be given more information regarding your choices.
Your midwife may also discuss booking you in for a sweep which is an internal vaginal examination where the cervix is located and the midwife sweeps her fingers around the inside to encourage the commencement of contractions. You do not have to have this if you don’t want to.
Antenatal appointment at 41 weeks
As per the norm, you will have your blood pressure, urine and pulse checked and your bump measured.
You will be offered a membrane sweep at the appointment and induction of labour will be discussed. If you are in agreement, a date for induction will be booked in.
Antenatal appointment at 42 weeks
If you have chosen not to be induced you will have the usual observational checks at this appointment and may also be offered a CTG (CARDIOTOCOGRAPH) just to keep an eye on baby’s wellbeing whilst we are waiting on them to make their appearance.