The booking appointment usually takes place before 12 weeks of pregnancy and you will be seen by a midwife. Depending on the practice in your area and the care you have chosen, it could be at your home, at your GP’s surgery, or at your local hospital. Unless you have any ongoing problems, this first visit will probably be the longest appointment you will have. Allow around an hour for the appointment and do take your partner if you wish.
Your first visit to the midwife can be both a very exciting and an anxious time. You are pregnant, and entering a world of new terminologies, tests, screenings and the possibilities of not feeling too great. This amazing life changing event will make you have a insatiable hunger for information about what is happening to you and your baby.
This is what’s likely to happen:
You will be asked questions about:
- Your general health
- Your medical history including any illnesses or operations you might have had
- Previous pregnancies or miscarriages
- Your and your baby’s father’s family history (e,g. any inherited illnesses, whether there are twins in the family (mother’s side) etc.)
- Your and your baby’s father’s family origins (e.g. certain inherited conditions which can be more common depending on family origin)
- When the date of the first day of your last period was, to help work out when your baby is due
- Your blood pressure will be checked
- You will be asked to give a urine sample. This will be tested to find out whether you have any protein or other signs of a urinary infection. Protein is looked for throughout your pregnancy because it can be a sign of either a urine infection, or later in pregnancy, pre-eclampsia
- You may be asked your weight, your height, and have your Body Mass Index (BMI) calculated
- The midwife may listen to your baby’s heartbeat if your booking appointment is after 10-12 weeks (it’s difficult to hear the heartbeat before this time), probably using a small ultrasound machine (called a Sonicaid
or a Doppler), which she will put on your lower tummy. To do this, she’ll need to spread some gel on your tummy first
- You may also be given information about pregnancy safety, classes and whether any of your medical history will mean you need any special tests or care
- You will be given choices for antenatal care and birth and information on scans and screening tests
- You will be asked to give a blood sample or you may be asked to go to a clinic to have them taken. This will test for:
- Your blood group
- Whether you are Rhesus positive or negative
- Whether you’re anaemic
- To see if you are immune to rubella
- Hepatitis B
- Syphilis (a sexually transmitted disease)
- Depending on your families origins, any inherited blood conditions,
such as thalsassaemia and sickle cell disease
You will no doubt have a lot of questions. It can help to write down what you want to say in advance, as it’s easy to forget once you are there. It’s important to find out what you want to know and to express your own feelings and preferences. If anything is said or done at this appointment that you don’t understand, ask for it to be explained to you.
You will be given your own pregnancy notes to keep and take to each scan and appointment.