You will normally be seen for your first appointment (the ‘booking appointment’) around 8 to 10 weeks. The timing of this appointment will depend on how many weeks pregnant you are when we receive your referral.
The booking appointment will take a least one hour as your midwife will have to take all of your health information needed to plan your care and has a lot of information to discuss with you. This discussion will include:
- Lifestyle, healthy eating and vitamin supplements. You will be advised to take folic acid (400 mcg) and a minimum of 10mcg of Vitamin D daily, if you aren’t already taking these. Some women may require a higher dose of the above supplements and your midwife will advise you if this is the case.
- Your previous medical history
- Place of birth options
- Your occupation and any maternity benefits you may be eligible for
- Information about ultrasound scans and bloods tests offered in pregnancy
- Other screening tests that are offered in pregnancy
- Information about infant feeding including benefits of breastfeeding
- Vaccinations recommended in pregnancy to protect you and your baby
The Midwife will also measure your height and weight, check your blood pressure and test your urine.
The following tests are offered when you first have contact with your community midwife, or at your booking appointment:
You will be offered several blood tests. These are taken to make your pregnancy as safe as possible and allow any problems to be treated
Full blood count
This can check for anaemia. Anaemia means that you have low levels of the molecule (haemoglobin) that carries oxygen in your blood. It is very common and it can arise for many different reasons. It is usually because you are short of iron. Iron is the nutrient that the body uses to make haemoglobin. You will routinely offered a blood test to check for anaemia when you first book with your midwife and also later in pregnancy at around 26-28 weeks. You can feel overly tired if you are anaemic.
You may be advised to take iron supplements during pregnancy. It is important to take these as advised so that you can be as healthy as possible for you and your baby. Sometimes iron tablets can upset your stomach and be difficult to tolerate. If this happens, please discuss this with your midwife or doctor as there are some alternative options.
There are also ways of increasing your iron intake in your diet. Good sources of iron include
- Dark green leafy vegetables
- Iron-fortified cereals or bread
- Dried fruit such as dried apricots, prunes and raisins
- Pulses (beans, peas, lentils)
- Nuts and seeds
All women are offered a test of their blood group. This is so that the hospital has a record of your blood group and that if you need a blood transfusion, this can be given safely. The blood group test also tests for special antibodies in the blood that can occasionally pass to the baby and, rarely, make them unwell. The commonest of these antibodies are called Rhesus antibodies. Women who are Rhesus negative but have a baby who is Rhesus positive (which can occur if the father is Rhesus positive) may make antibodies against the baby’s cells. These women will be offered an injection called Anti-D to reduce the chances of this happening.
For further information please see here
Sickle cell anaemia and thalassaemia
Sickle cell anaemia and thalassaemia are inherited disorders that can cause anaemia. All women are offered screening for these disorders with a blood test. If you are found to be a carrier of either disorder, your partner will also be offered a test, as parents who are both carriers have a 1 in 4 chance of having a baby with serious anaemia.
Infectious diseases – HIV, hepatitis B and syphilis
You will be offered screening blood tests to see whether you have had these infectious diseases in the past. This is because these infections can cause complications in pregnancy and it is useful to know at the beginning of pregnancy if you have been exposed or not.
During your pregnancy you will be offered several screening tests which are used to find which mothers and babies who could have a higher chance of a health problem.
Please see our screening page for further details
Further information about your first pregnancy appointment
At your booking appointment you will be given a set of handheld maternity notes. Here you will find all of the relevant information about the care that you will receive during your pregnancy. We may include individualized care plans created by your specialist teams to communicate any specialist care you may need to have. You will need to ensure that you bring these notes with you to each appointment so that all health professionals can be updated about any changes which may have occurred during your pregnancy and any changes to your care pathway that may be needed.
Remember that all of the information within your notes is confidential so please ensure they are stored appropriately and only shared with the relevant health care professionals.