Pregnancy & Birth Guide, Pregnancy Essentials

Antenatal Checks & Scans

When you are pregnant, you may need support and reassurance as your baby grows and your body changes. If it is your first baby, you may want to know that what you are experiencing is normal. Your community midwife is your first contact as you begin your pregnancy journey. Your booking-in appointment your first trimester will probably be the longest one, where you will be given the information about your antenatal checks.

Your midwife will offer antenatal checks, which will include:
*Checking your blood pressure
*Checking your weight
*Checking your urine for infection or protein, which can be an indicator of pre-eclampsia in later pregnancy
*Blood tests for your blood group and rhesus status as well as *Checking for anaemia, rubella, syphilis, hepatitis B and HIV
*Listening to your baby’s heartbeat – from about 16 weeks
*Measuring your bump – from about 24 weeks
*Arranging your scans and any screening tests

Your community midwife appointments:

*In a straightforward pregnancy, you will probably have about ten appointments with your midwife if this is your first baby: between 8-12 weeks, 16 weeks, 25 weeks, 28 weeks, 31 weeks, 34 weeks, 36 weeks, 38 weeks, 40 weeks, 41 weeks

*and about seven appointments if this is your second or subsequent baby: 8-12 weeks, 16 weeks, 28 weeks, 34 weeks, 36 weeks, 38 weeks, 41 weeks

However, if you have any concerns and you would like the opportunity to discuss them with your midwife, you can schedule another appointment.

It can also be useful to write down any questions you have before your appointment because it’s easy to forget something and to feel flustered if the clinic is busy. Your midwife is there to check your health, as well as to provide you with information and reassurance when you need it, so don’t ever feel like you are wasting her time by asking questions. And please do ask if you are unsure about anything being suggested.

About 12-13 weeks: Dating Scan
To work out when your baby is due, to check the development of your baby and it can be used to screen for Down’s Syndrome

About 18-20 weeks: Anomaly Scan
To check the development of your baby and to look for any physical problems

Blood Tests
Screening for HIV, Hepatitis B and Syphilis, as well as sickle cell – you will most probably be offered this blood test during your booking appointment at about 10 weeks.

Screening for Down’s, Edward’s and Pataus’ Syndrome is offered with a combined test: blood test and ultrasound scan with your dating scan or a blood test between 14-20 weeks. If your results indicate a higher than 1 in 150 chance then you will be offered a diagnostic test:
CVS: 11-14 weeks a sample of placenta is taken through the abdomen with a fine needle
Amniocentesis: 15 weeks a sample of amniotic fluid is taken through the abdomen with a fine needle

Test For Gestational Diabetes
If you are at risk of gestation diabetes you will be offered a screen test: the oral glucoses tolerance test between 24-28 weeks. This involves a morning blood test and a glucose drink, followed by a 2 hour wait before another blood test which may confirm gestational diabetes.
You can also be offered a test for gestational diabetes in your third trimester if you are not feeling well or if your baby is measuring on the bigger side.

Talk to your midwife about any of these tests to gain more information and a better understanding of why you may be offered them and what they involve.

And remember
If you notice anything different in your baby’s movements or if you just feel that something isn’t quite right – please get checked out. You are never wasting anyone’s time.

Janine Smith – a specialist in pregnancy, birth & early parenting
Birth Preparation | Postnatal Sessions | Baby Massage | Weaning | 1:1 Parent Support

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antenatal teacher, doula, baby massage instructor, postnatal group leader, parent coach, writer of words, mum, wife and friend I am a warm, sensitive, straight-talking, down to earth mum, wife, friend and practitioner; I am a professional listener – people often feel very comfortable opening up to me about their experiences, fears, challenges and struggles – and I also know a thing or two about pregnancy, birth, babies and supporting parents.