The lowdown on your midwife booking appointment
You’re pregnant! So what happens next? Here’s what you need to know
You’ve done the pregnancy test, seen that blue line, you’re pregnant! But what happens next. When do you see a midwife? Get maternity notes? What exactly am I booking in for? We give you the rundown.
What is a booking appointment?
Your booking appointment should be by 10 weeks of your pregnancy is the first appointment you will have with your midwife, and essentially you’re booking in to receive midwifery care from your local NHS trust. You will be given your maternity notes at this stage either as handheld notes or as an electronic patient record (depending on the NHS trust area you're in). The appointment allows your midwife to calculate your due date gather all your medical history, get the personal information on you they need to understand your preferences and health needs. You will also be given lots of advice to support you in having a healthy pregnancy.
It is also your opportunity to ask the questions you may have at this early stage and discuss any worries you may have. Do ask your midwife for your Bounty Pregnancy Information Folder at this appointment.
When will I have a booking appointment?
As soon as you know you are pregnant, please get in touch with your local maternity unit to book your first appointment. This is called your ‘booking appointment’, and you will meet a midwife for the first time.
Ideally you should be seen by a midwife by the time you are 10 weeks pregnant, or as early into your pregnancy as possible.
You can make your first appointment quickly and easily by self-referring directly to your local maternity unit or visiting your GP.
In some units the booking appointment takes place at the hospital rather than in the community and if you have a medical condition that may affect your pregnancy such as diabetes, you may also be given an early appointment with a consultant at the hospital.
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What will I be asked during my booking appointment?
You will be asked the date of your last period to help your midwife work out your estimated due date.
Your midwife will also want to know about previous pregnancies, and will also want to know if you’ve ever suffered a miscarriage.
You will also be asked about your family medical history including any genetic conditions. It may seem like a lot of questions and some of them may not seem relevant, but they make sure that those that care for you know about any risks you or your baby may have.
Your midwife will also ask how you’re feeling about your pregnancy. They aren’t being nosey, it’s standard and it’s best to let your midwife know if you’re feeling anxious or depressed because they’re there to help.
What else will happen at the booking appointment?
These days it’s highly unlikely that you’ll have an internal examination at your booking in appointment. This is only likely to happen when you’re in labour to see how far along you are.
But having blood tests in pregnancy is something to get used to pretty quick and your midwife will take a sample at this stage. The initial blood samples are to determine if you are suffering with anaemia, to determine your blood group and rhesus status and screen you for other conditions that might affect your baby.
You will also be asked for a urine sample to test for a variety of things including pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes or urinary tract infection (UTI).
Your midwife will also check your blood pressure and the results will be added to your maternity notes. High blood pressure is regarded as 140/90 or above.
Your midwife will check your weight and height to calculate your body mass index BMI. If you’re not overweight or underweight this is usually the only time you’ll be weighed.
If you don’t get given one, make sure you ask for form FW8 (known as a ‘maternity exemption certificate). You need to get this signed by your midwife or doctor to get free dental care and prescriptions during your pregnancy (and up to 1 year afterwards).
When will my next appointment be?
Your next appointment will be determined on whether it is your first pregnancy or not. For first pregnancies you are seen by your midwife at: 16 weeks pregnant, 25 weeks and then every three weeks until you reach 34 weeks pregnant. At that stage you will have a midwife appointment every other week after 34 weeks and you will be seen at 40 weeks and, and again at 41 weeks if baby is overdue and hasn’t arrived.
If you have a child already, your appointments will be at: 16 weeks, 28 weeks, 34 weeks and then every two weeks until your baby is born.
What if I have concerns between appointments?
If you have any concerns about your pregnancy, you should contact your midwife immediately. Your midwife will give you a 24-hour number to call for such an event.