Antenatal Appointments: Q & A
How often will I have antenatal appointments?
In a normal pregnancy you will have an appointment with your LMC every 4-6 weeks for the first 28 weeks, then every two weeks until the end of the 36th week. You will then have weekly visits until your baby is born. After your baby is born your LMC (or a postnatal midwife) will visit you at home between 5-10 times before you are discharged around 4-6 weeks after the birth.
What happens during my first antenatal appointment?
Your first appointment with your LMC will probably be towards the end of the first trimester. This is called your "booking visit". This will be a longer appointment than subsequent visits as your LMC will need to take a full medical history. He/she will ask you about:
• Your obstetric history, including any previous pregnancies and their outcomes, and, if this is not your first pregnancy, the details of any previous births such as whether you were induced, whether your baby was early or overdue, how heavy your baby was and any complications you may have experienced during previous pregnancies and births.
• Your medical history, including any medical conditions you may have and any medication you take regularly
• Your partner's medical history
• Your family history, including any pregnancy/birth complicatations that close family members have experienced.
• Your menstrual cycle, this is to help establish your due date. He/she might also ask if you were using any form of contraception at the time you fell pregnant.
• Whether you or your partner smoke, drink alcohol or take other drugs. If you are smoker, your LMC will probably recommend you try to give up smoking whilst you are pregnant as smoking during pregnancy can lead to complications including miscarriage, lower birthweight babies and stillbirth. Your LMC will be able to give you details of smoking cessation support services offered in your area. It is also recommended that you limit your alcohol consumption during pregnancy, and most women choose not to drink alcohol at all whilst pregnant.
• Your health and exercise routine.
It is important to be as honest as possible even though they are personal questions.
What happens during subsequent antenatal appointments?
• Your weight may be measured
• You may be asked to give a urine sample to check for sugar and proteins in your urine
• Your blood pressure will be taken
• Your LMC will listen to your baby's heartbeat using a handheld ultrasound doppler. If your LMC is an obstetrician he/she may even perform a brief ultrasound of your baby.
• You will be asked about any concerns you have had about your pregnancy since your last visit
• You will be given the forms for any tests that need to be carried out before your next appointment such as blood tests and/or ultrasounds.