Antenatal care

Your first appointment

Once you decide that you would like to have your baby with us we will arrange your first appointment with a midwife and together you will start planning your antenatal care. This appointment is known as your booking appointment and will usually take place before you are 13 weeks pregnant. At your appointment you will be given the contact details of your named midwife who will have overall responsibility for co-ordinating your pregnancy care and supporting your choices.

The booking appointment will take place at your local GP surgery or children’s centre, in your home or in one of our antenatal clinics. At this appointment the midwife will take a detailed medical and social history, including details of any previous pregnancies. At the appointment you can discuss whether you would prefer to have your baby at home, at one of our birth centres or on one of our delivery suites. You will also discuss whether you would like to have any antenatal screening tests.

Your appointments are flexible and we provide you with a pregnancy planner to guide you through your pregnancy. Please bring the planner with you to your subsequent appointments.

You will also be given your maternity notes at your booking appointment. You should take them with you when you go to see your midwife, GP or attend the hospital for any reason. These maternity notes are a confidential record of the antenatal care you receive while you are pregnant and you can write in them yourself to comment on aspects of your pregnancy and treatment should you wish. After your baby is born, your notes will be retained by the hospital where you had your baby.

Your antenatal care

Your antenatal care is usually provided by a team of midwives. If everything is normal during your pregnancy, you will follow the routine schedule of antenatal care. Women who have had a baby previously will be seen less frequently, women experiencing complications will be seen more often.

If complications arise or if you have a known medical problem the midwives will refer you to an obstetrician, who will then become the lead professional in your care. The midwife may also refer you to other professional colleagues such as an anaesthetist, physiotherapist, dietician, or psychologist during your pregnancy.

Routine blood tests will be repeated at 28 weeks to check for anaemia and also for antibodies. At 36 weeks you will be asked about your birthing preferences. Please make use of the ‘birth plan’ section of your notes and discuss your thoughts with your midwife at this appointment.

Women who have previously had a Caesarean section or traumatic birth may be invited to our birth options clinic to explore the birth choices for their current pregnancy.

We also offer a wide range of parent education workshops for women and their partners. Your midwife will provide you with details.

Image: the Edgware Birth Centre