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!
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!
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.