Antenatal care

Antenatal care is the healthcare and support you have while you’re pregnant. It's very important to make sure you and your unborn baby are both looked after throughout your pregnancy.

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  • woman at antenatal care appointment.

    All about antenatal care

    Antenatal care is the healthcare and support you have while you’re pregnant. It's very important to make sure you and your unborn baby are both looked after throughout your pregnancy.

  • Woman having blood pressure checked by nurse.

    The booking appointment

    Your first antenatal appointment with a midwife is called a 'booking' visit and will take longer than later visits, so allow plenty of time.

  • Couple at antenatal appointment.

    Your pregnancy appointment schedule

    You will have regular appointments during your pregnancy to check on progress. If there are no problems with your pregnancy, you'll probably see midwives rather than the doctor for most of your care.

  • Doctor and pregnant patient.

    Your antenatal 'notes'

    Your pregnancy notes is a book that you hold in which the midwife and other health professionals keep record of your medical history and events during your pregnancy.

  • Woman having her blood pressure checked by nurse.

    Routine tests in pregnancy

    You will be offered tests and checks in pregnancy to keep an eye on your health and your baby's. You will also be given information to help you decide whether you want to have them.

  • Profile of pregnant woman draw in white chalk on black board.

    Screening and diagnostic tests

    Screening tests will let you know whether your baby has a high risk of a particular condition, such as Down's syndrome. Diagnostic tests will let you know whether they have it.

  • A group of happy pregnant women attending an antenatal class.

    Antenatal classes

    Antenatal classes (sometimes called parentcraft classes) give you a chance to learn about what happens during labour and birth. They’ll also give you some tips on how to look after your new baby.

  • Pregnant woman having an ultrasound scan.

    Ultrasound scans

    An ultrasound scan is a way of looking at your baby in the womb. Scans can check the date your baby is due, tell whether you're having more than one baby and pick up on some possible problems.

  • Couple talking to nurse.

    Vaccinations in pregnancy

    You will be offered a whooping cough and flu vaccination during pregnancy to keep your baby safe during pregnancy and for a short while after they are born

  • A happy mother with her newborn baby.

    Making your birth plan

    At some stage during pregnancy, it’s good to think about where you'd like to give birth, who will be your birth partner and what you would prefer to happen during labour and delivery.

  • Pregnant woman being checked by doctor.

    Will I have an internal examination?

    No, it’s unlikely you will have an internal examination (inside your vagina) until you go into labour unless there is any concern that needs to be investigated.

  • Smiling woman and partner attending antenatal appointment together.

    Who should come to my antenatal appointments?

    It is completely up to you who comes with you to your antenatal appointments.

  • A pregnant woman at work.

    A working pregnancy

    Being pregnant isn’t an illness, but you need to think about how to do your job safely and cope with the demands of your pregnancy.

  • Frequently asked questions

    Antenatal care FAQs

    In this section we try and answer the most commonly asked questions to our midwives about antenatal care.

  • Pregnant woman having blood pressure checked by doctor.

    Infections to avoid in pregnancy

    Most germs are normally harmless, but when trying for a baby, or newly pregnant, you may be more at risk. Some illnesses may be able to affect your growing baby

Read more

  • weeks 13 - 28 infographic

    Second trimester: weeks 13 to 28

    The second trimester is the middle three months of your pregnancy. You will start to look and feel pregnant. This is a time when lots of women tell the world they’re pregnant and begin to feel like the pregnancy is more ‘real’.

  • week 29-40  infographic

    Third trimester: weeks 29 to 40

    The end of your pregnancy is in sight. It won't be long until your baby arrives. Feelings at this stage of pregnancy tend to vary from tiredness and worry to excitement about the baby.

  • Weeks 1-12 infographic

    First trimester: weeks 1 to 12

    The first weeks of your pregnancy are a vital time as your pregnancy gets established. While you get used to being pregnant, your body is busy building a baby!

Last reviewed on April 1st, 2014. Next review date April 1st, 2017.

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