Your pregnancy 'notes' is the book in which all the information about your medical history and your pregnancy is recorded.
During your first antenatal appointment, called the booking appointment, your midwife will start a record. This is called your ‘notes’. At every appointment your midwife or doctor will record what happens in your notes.
You will usually look after your notes. Take good care of them, as usually there is no copy. Keep them with you at all times in case of an emergency and ask if there’s anything you don’t understand.
Your notes will also usually have telephone numbers for you to use if you need to speak to anyone, a space to write the date and time of your next appointment and a record of what you told the midwife in the booking appointment.
To help you make sense of what your midwife or doctor has written, here are the most common terms and abbreviations that they might use.
BP, or blood pressure
This is the force with which your heart pumps blood around your body. Your blood pressure is recorded at each antenatal appointment. High blood pressure could be a symptom of a condition such as pre-eclampsia.
BR, or breech
Breech is a word for a position your baby could be in. It means that their bottom or feet are facing down towards your pelvis and the head is at the top of the womb. The ideal birthing position for your baby is head down so if your baby is breech towards the end of pregnancy your midwife or doctor will talk to you about trying to change their position using a technique called ECV (External Cephalic Version).
CEPH, or cephalic
This refers to the position of your baby and means that his or her head is faced down towards your pelvis. This position is ideal for giving birth.
Cx, or cervix
The cervix is the neck of your womb (uterus). It is a short passage between the vaginal canal and the womb. It will start to open up from the womb downwards when you go into labour. If your cervix opens early you may go into premature labour.
This means 'did not attend' and it is put on the notes if you do not attend a planned appointment.
EDD stands for 'estimated date of delivery' - the date your baby is due.
This is the chemical symbol for iron. If you have symptoms of anaemia (iron deficiency), you will be tested for low iron levels.
FH, or fetal heart
This is your unborn baby's heartbeat. This is checked at antenatal appointments by your midwife.
This stands for 'fetal heart heard regular', which means that the midwife or doctor has heard your baby's heart.
This stands for 'fetal movement felt'. Your midwife or doctor will write this when they have felt your baby moving.
This is the height of your bump, which your midwife or doctor will measure as your baby grows.
Hb, or haemoglobin
This is the part of your red blood cells that carries oxygen around your body. A low haemoglobin level means you are anaemic and will need extra iron.
This stands for 'last menstrual period' and refers to the first day of your last period, which is used to work out when your baby is due.
This stands for 'midstream sample of urine'. You may be asked to give a midstream sample when your midwife or doctor needs to test your urine. It means taking a sample that is not and the beginning or the end of urinating.
This means that you have been pregnant before. This includes any pregnancies that ended in loss.
This stands for 'nothing abnormal detected'.
Oed, or oedema
This means swelling because of water retention.
This means you have had no pregnancies that have gone beyond 24 weeks.
This means you have had one other pregnancy that has lasted for longer than 24 weeks. (Para 2 means two pregnancies and so on.)
PET, or pre-eclampsia
Pre-eclampsia is a potentially dangerous pregnancy condition and your midwife and doctor will check for signs each time they see you.
This means that you are pregnant for the first time.
SFH, or symphysis fundal height
This is the height of your baby, measured from your pelvis.
This stands for 'to come again' and just means that you need another appointment.
TR or trace
This means that tiny amounts of substances such as sugar or protein have been found in your urine. If more has been found, '+' will be used instead.
This stands for vaginal - or internal - examination. If your pregnancy is uncomplicated you are unlikely to have a vaginal examination until you go into labour.