Antenatal care or ‘pregnancy care’ is the healthcare and support you have while you’re pregnant. It’s very important to make sure you and your unborn baby are both looked after throughout your pregnancy.

 Antenatal appointments or ‘pregnancy appointments’ will be set up for you – they’re spaced out through your pregnancy. At these antenatal appointments, the team looking after you will:
  • check your health and the wellbeing of your baby
  • watch out for any problems so you can get support early
  • give you and your baby any special treatment you need
  • give you information about how to look after your health and your baby’s
  • answer any questions you have
  • help you plan your baby’s birth
  • put you in touch with any other support you may need.

The first antenatal appointment is known as the ‘booking appointment’.

Where will I have my antenatal care?

At Your Doctor’s (obstetrician) Clinic Or Hospitals.

Why are antenatal appointments important?

Regular antenatal appointments are important to:

  • keep an eye on how your baby is growing.
  • pick up some conditions such as pre-eclampsia and urinary tract infections – these might not have any early symptoms that you would notice but routine blood-pressure checks and urine tests can pick up on them, even if you feel fine
  • check the health of your baby through blood tests and ultrasound scans.

If you don’t want to go because you’re worried about having blood tests, tell the midwife about your fears.

If you can’t go to an antenatal appointment, let your midwife or the hospital know so you can make another one.

Can I take someone with me to my antenatal appointments?

You can go to your appointments on your own or you can take someone with you. If you take someone, they can stay in the waiting room or come into the room with you, whichever you prefer.

If you decide to bring someone with you, the midwife will probably ask to see you on your own at least once. This is in case there’s anything you want to tell her that you don’t want to say in front of the other person.

How long are antenatal appointments?

The first antenatal appointment is known as the ‘booking appointment’ and takes the longest – it can be up to an hour. You will be asked lots of questions about your health, your family’s health and the baby’s dad’s health – particularly questions about any illnesses in the family that might affect your baby.

The midwife is finding out everything she needs to make sure that she can support you and your baby during your pregnancy.

After the booking appointment, your visits will be much shorter. They’ll take around 10 to 15 minutes if your pregnancy is uncomplicated – enough time to take your blood pressure and a urine test, and feel how your baby is growing in later months.

If you have any questions about your pregnancy, you can ask them at these appointments.