Pregnancy

What to expect at a pregnancy booking appointment

First Impressions

So you’ve made it to 8 weeks or thereabouts! Well done to you and to little one! Now you get to meet your community midwife for your pregnancy booking and it all feels a little more real.

 

 

First things first – don’t be scared!

Community midwives are a great support during your pregnancy and they are all well trained in being lovely. She will know that you might be feeling anxious and will be keen to put you at ease and get excited with you about your pregnancy.

 

Take someone with you.

You don’t have to take anyone with you, especially if your appointment is at a time that only just fits in with your job. However, if you are apprehensive then taking a friend along is perfectly ok with us! The friend might be your partner or a family member or just a friend who has been through it before themselves.

 

It takes a little while. 

This is not a quick appointment where you’ll be in and out in 10 minutes. Be prepared for it to take up to or even slightly more than an hour. You may need to consider this when paying for parking or considering taking children with you. Bring a drink and snacks for yourself if you need to, we understand how hungry pregnant ladies get!

 

Brush up on your family history.

Part of the booking appointment involves taking a detailed history of your health. However, we will also want to know about your partner’s medical history and any medical issues on both sides of the family. If you aren’t sure, chat to your parents and your partner’s parents. Ask about their health, their brothers and sisters and their parents. Do they take any regular medication? Was anyone born with problems with their eyes, hearing or hearts? Does anyone have to eat special diets or are there any twins in the family?

 

 

Check local maternity unit options.

Depending on where you live, there may be several options for where you can have your baby. You can discuss this with your community midwife. Have a look at the Birth Choices website which provides information on the size of maternity units close to you, as well as available facilities and user feedback.

 

Planning your care. 

Once your midwife has taken your history and recorded details of any medical issues or past pregnancies, she’ll be able to give you an idea of your individual pregnancy care plan. That includes when you will have a scan and whether you will need to see a doctor who specialises in pregnancy (an obstetrician). You’ll have a clearer idea of when your next appointment is and you’ll get your own copy of your pregnancy notes.

 

Your notes – becoming attached to them.

The booking appointment enables us to create a set of pregnancy notes for you. These notes include all the information you have provided and gives you other information about your local maternity services. They also include telephone numbers to use if you have any concerns and are therefore useful for you and us! If you go anywhere while you are pregnant – abroad, just within the UK or just 20 miles down the road, take them with you. Should you need urgent care, the notes provide any maternity unit with important information about you and your pregnancy. Don’t leave the house without them!

 

Blood tests.

You will probably need to have some blood taken for various tests at the beginning of your pregnancy. I will write another post about the tests themselves later on. Just be warned that your community midwife will likely be eyeing up your veins at some point during the booking appointment. Don’t worry if you are scared of having your blood taken. Midwives do it every day and are very good at it. We will do our best to put you at ease, letting you sit or lie down. Calm, gentle conversation can also be wonderfully distracting. If your partner is with you, this could be a perfect time for them to practice helping you stay calm!

 

Meeting your midwife
What happens at your first appointment in pregnancy

 

So there you have it, a general guide to your first appointment with your midwife. It seems like a lot to fit into just one hour. Your head will definitely be bursting with information by the end. You can ask any questions you can think of before you leave. Don’t worry if some pop up in the following days. Make a note of them and when you see your midwife again you’ll be ready to find out the answers.

 

Most midwives will have several booklets and leaflets to give you. This is great as you can read the information in your own time at home. You can also find helpful information on the NHS Pregnancy pages or by downloading one of the many available pregnancy smartphone apps. My recommendation for the smartphone app would be Baby Buddy, which is a UK based app run by a charity, so they aren’t trying to sell you anything or get your name on a mailing list. They just want to give you accurate up-to-date information to help you have a healthy pregnancy.

For further reading around pregnancy care, see my useful links page

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Pregnancy

You’re pregnant!

Is it really true?

Maybe you’re feeling a little sick, perhaps your boobs are incredibly sensitive or maybe your period just hasn’t arrived. You’re incredibly tired or constantly on the loo or unable to stomach your usual morning coffee. Perhaps you’ve got all these symptoms or perhaps you have none.

Whatever makes you suspect pregnancy, you potter off to your local supermarket or pharmacy and head for the aisle with the pregnancy tests. Some people may hide under an impressive sunhat and dark glasses, paying via the self-checkouts and praying to whoever that they don’t run into someone they know. For others, its a team trip. Your best friend, partner or mum comes along, and you discuss the pros and cons of each type of test.  You then proudly take it to the staffed checkouts and smile broadly at the cashier.

 

Test Options

Tests come in many different packages and seem to offer a myriad of different options. Some proclaim they can tell you incredibly early on, whilst others tell you in words instead of faint lines, to avoid confusion.

Whichever test you choose, they are all looking for the same thing: human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). This hormone is produced by the growing embryo and is, therefore, a good indicator of pregnancy. The levels being produced by the embryo increase steadily in the first few weeks of pregnancy. If you are using a pregnancy test in the very early weeks of pregnancy (2 – 4 weeks) it is better to use the first urine passed in the morning. This will have higher levels of the hormone and therefore give a more accurate result.

Pregnancy tests these days are very reliable. Most GPs and midwives will not require a laboratory test to confirm what your home test has told you. However, it is worth waiting until you are at least 6 weeks pregnant before you book an appointment with your GP or midwife. This is because there is a higher risk of miscarriage around the time your next period is due. Hopefully this little one will cling on and keep growing well. Good luck!

Did you know?

Before the wide availability of over the counter pregnancy tests, you had to provide a urine sample to your GP. That urine was sent to a hospital laboratory where there were lots of frogs sitting around in cages. A small amount of the urine was injected into a frog and if you were pregnant, the hCG in your urine would cause the frog to produce eggs within 24 hours! Congratulations!

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