I’m pregnant! What do I do now?
Have you found out that you are pregnant? Congratulations! You are about to embark on an exciting journey that will be filled with lots of different emotions. But what now, what will happen, who do you tell? This series of blogs will talk you through the rough plan for the next nine months.
The first step in your journey is letting a health professional know you are pregnant. Traditionally, women would see their GP who would refer them to the midwifery team at their local hospital. Nowadays, most hospitals have a self-referral system with a self-referral form on their website.
There are a couple of advantages to self-referral. Firstly, it makes getting an appointment with your midwife much quicker. Secondly, you can ensure you get the hospital of your choice. You can choose to deliver in any hospital you like whereas your GP may suggest the local hospital as opposed to where you want to deliver. If you are unsure where you would like to have your baby then have a look at the local hospitals websites. Most will have an online tour and lots of information about the services they offer. Local Facebook groups for mums/parents will also be able to give you opinions and reviews of the hospitals near you.
The new National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidelines for antenatal care recommends that all women have seen their midwife and have had all their blood tests by 10 weeks of pregnancy. So while you may not be ready to tell your family and friends that you are pregnant, you need book in with your midwife as soon as possible!
When you receive your appointments from the hospital, check the letter carefully. It should contain an appointment to see your midwife and an appointment for your first scan, the dating scan. It should also contain some information on all the blood screening tests that are available to you in pregnancy.
The first appointment
The first appointment with your midwife is called the booking appointment. The appointment can take approx. 1-2hours. The midwife will document your history and family history. Your height and weight will be noted. You will be given lots of information on healthy eating, how your baby develops during pregnancy, exercise, sex and travel. You will also be given advice on the dangers of smoking, drinking alcohol or taking drugs in pregnancy. The midwife will start discussing your place of birth at this appointment.
Your midwife will talk you through all the blood tests that are on offer to you and will take your blood at this appointment. The aim for all pregnancies is to have a healthy mother and a healthy baby so all the tests are designed to ensure this. If any problems are detected, we can treat you to protect your baby or make plans for when your baby is born.
The midwife will class your pregnancy as low risk or high risk. If you are low risk, you will see your midwife according to the NICE schedule for antenatal care. If your pregnancy is deemed high risk, you will be reviewed more often.
After this appointment, the midwife will make another appointment for you collect your pregnancy notes. Some hospitals may give you your notes after the booking appointment. It’s important that you carry them with you all times, even if you go away, as they will contain all the details of your pregnancy, including blood results and scans, which would be needed by other health professionals if you ever needed to be seen in another hospital. You should receive your blood results at this point too.
The next blog will be on the screening tests that are offered to you in pregnancy.
More information on the NICE antenatal care guidelines, please see NICE