Your antenatal appointment schedule

You will have regular antenatal or 'pregnancy appointments' during your pregnancy to check on progress.

If there are no problems with your pregnancy, you'll probably see midwives for most of your care.

You might not see the same person for all your antenatal appointments. You'll probably see midwives most of the time, but in some areas your local doctor may do some antenatal appointments, or you may see a hospital doctor for one or more.

You will be offered at least two ultrasound scans during your pregnancy. If there are any issues and your baby needs more checks you might have more scans. Like all the other tests and procedures, you can choose whether or not to have the scans on offer.

If you are expecting twins or triplets or you have any risk factors, you will have at least two, and possibly more, of your appointments with the obstetrician at the hospital.

In some areas you will see the same midwife at all (or almost all) of your appointments. In other areas, the midwives work in teams so you may not see the same person at each visit.

How many antenatal appointments will I have?

If this is your first baby and your pregnancy is straightforward, you'll have around ten appointments.

After your booking visit or 'booking appointment', which will ideally be at around 10 weeks, these appointments are usually done at weeks 16, 18-20, 25, 28, 31, 34, 36, 38, 40 and 41 weeks (if you haven't had your baby yet!).

If you've already had a baby and your pregnancy has no problems, you'll probably have seven appointments. There will be the booking appointment, then you'll have checks at around 16, 28, 34, 36, 38 and 41 weeks.

If you have health issues or have had a problem in an earlier pregnancy or if there are any concerns about you or your baby, you may have extra antenatal appointments. You can ask for more checks if you have any worries in between your booked appointments.

What happens at antenatal appointments?

At the booking appointment your midwife will ask you lots of questions to find out if there is anything in your medical history or lifestyle that could affect your pregnancy or baby. She will also give you lots of information on having a healthy pregnancy. This appointment could take up to an hour.

After the booking appointment, your visits will be much shorter. They’ll take around 10 to 15 minutes if your pregnancy is uncomplicated – enough time to take your blood pressure and a urine test, and, in the later months, to feel how your baby is growing. Taking your blood pressure and testing a urine sample for protein are ways to see if you are at risk of pre-eclampsia, which is a pregnancy complication.

You will be offered at least two ultrasound scans during your pregnancy. If there are any issues and your baby needs more checks you might have more scans. Like all the other tests and procedures, you can choose whether or not to have the scans on offer.

Who will I see during my pregnancy?

The team of people looking after you during your pregnancy is made up of different specialists. You’ll meet some or all of the following people at your antenatal appointments.

Midwife

A midwife is a health professional who looks after pregnant women, delivering their babies and caring for them in the early days after the birth. If you have a low-risk pregnancy, midwives will do most of your antenatal care.

Some midwives work mostly in hospitals. Others, called community midwives, work mainly in doctors' surgeries, health centres and children's centres, as well as seeing women at home.

Doctor or GP

Your doctor will carry on looking after your general health when you are pregnant. They may also do some of your antenatal care and see you and your baby after the birth.

Student midwife or doctor

It is common to be seen by a student midwife or medical student if they are working with and watching a qualified midwife as part of their training. You don't have to agree to this if you would prefer a student not to be there, tell the midwife.

Obstetrician

This is a hospital doctor who specialises in pregnancy and birth. In some areas, you'll see an obstetrician even when your pregnancy is straightforward. In others, you'll only see them if you have complications or are at risk of complications.

Sonographer

This is the person who does your ultrasound scans.

Obstetric physiotherapist

You may see a physiotherapist who is trained to help you cope with the physical changes during pregnancy, childbirth and afterwards. A physiotherapist can advise you about looking after your body during pregnancy and they can also give you advice and support to help you get back into shape after the birth.

Health visitor

Your health visitor is a specialist nurse who is trained to support and advise on the health of your baby from birth until 5 years old. The health visitor may visit you in your home before the birth and will definitely visit you shortly after your baby is born. A health visitor will take over the care of your baby once you are discharged from your midwife. Their role is to make sure you and your baby are in good physical and mental health. You may continue to see the health visitor in child clinics or they may visit you at home.

Family nurse practitioner

These are specialist midwives or nurses who support young pregnant women from the antenatal period till their child is 2 years old. They will usually visit you at home or at children’s centres.

More on antenatal care

  • Woman having blood pressure checked.

    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.

  • 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.

Sources

1. National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (2011) ‘Multiple pregnancy: The management of twin and triplet pregnancies in the antenatal period’, NICE Clinical Guideline 129: http://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/cg129 [accessed 10 February 2015] (next review date: June 2016).

3. National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (2008) ‘Antenatal Care’, NICE Clinical Guideline 62: http://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/cg62 [accessed 10 February 2015].

4. Department of Health (2012) The Family Nurse Partnership Programme: Information leaflet, London, DH: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/216864/The-Family-Nurse-Partnership-Programme-Information-leaflet.pdf [accessed 10 February 2015].

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Last reviewed on April 1st, 2015. Next review date April 1st, 2018.

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