Find out what to expect when you come to hospital or a community clinic for your antenatal care appointment.
Before your appointment
We support the government’s target for all women to have started their antenatal care by 12 weeks and six days of pregnancy. We aim to let patients know the date of their first antenatal appointment within two weeks of referral.
You are welcome to bring a relative, close friend or carer with you to your appointment. You may also ask for a chaperone and we will endeavour to provide one for you. We suggest you wear comfortable clothing that provides easy access to your upper arms, as we will need to take your blood pressure at your appointment.
Please remember to check your appointment letter for anything specific you have been asked to take with you. In addition, it would be helpful if you could bring the following:
- Your NHS number – this can be found on your medical record card or you can get it from your GP
- Your full address and telephone number(s)
- Your appointment card and appointment letter
- Your GP’s name and address
- A list of questions you may want to ask
- A list of medications, knowledge of past medical history, any test results that may be relevant
- Any relevant letters from other specialists
If you are pregnant or have had a baby in the past 12 months, you qualify for free prescriptions. All you need is a maternity exemption certificate signed by your doctor or midwife. This certificate entitles you to free prescriptions and NHS dental care. You can get the maternity exemption certificate application form (FW8) from your GP's surgery.
During your appointment
As we are a teaching hospital, medical and midwifery students may be present at some appointments, but we will ask your permission before involving a student in your care.
Your first antenatal appointment is known as the booking appointment. This takes place ideally by 10 weeks of pregnancy, either at one of our hospitals or at a community clinic. At this appointment the midwife will officially register your pregnancy. You will be asked to fill in a booking form to give us information about your current and past pregnancies, as well as your medical history and that of your partner and family. We will also take blood tests.
Your midwife will check the progress of your pregnancy and your health at each appointment. You will be given lots of information at the booking appointment to explain what each antenatal appointment entails. You will be required to provide a urine sample at each visit. We also offer several blood-screening tests as part of your antenatal care and you will be offered screening tests for Down’s syndrome and other chromosomal abnormalities in early pregnancy. All of these tests will be explained to you fully by your midwife at your first appointment.
After your appointment
Any test results may be discussed at follow-up appointments. You will have a number of standard antenatal appointments at various points in your pregnancy. Your appointments may vary slightly, depending on how your pregnancy is progressing, but antenatal appointments generally include:
- <10 weeks: Booking appointment (your first appointment)
- 12 weeks: Screening/dating scan
- 16 weeks: GP/midwife appointment
- 20 weeks: Hospital scan
- 25 weeks: Midwife appointment (for first baby)
- 28 weeks: Midwife appointment
- 31 weeks: GP appointment (for first baby)
- 34 weeks: Midwife appointment
- 36 weeks: Midwife appointment
- 38 weeks: GP appointment
- 40 weeks: Midwife appointment (for first baby)
- 41 weeks: Midwife appointment
Your midwife will discuss this with you and give you the chance to ask any questions about your care plan.
Patient information leaflets
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