Pregnancy Essentials

Antenatal Appointments, Checks And Scans

antenatal checks and scans

Antenatal appointments are offered throughout your pregnancy, as your baby grows and your body changes.

Your community midwife is your first contact as you begin your pregnancy journey. The booking-in appointment during your first trimester will probably be the longest one, where you will be given the information about your antenatal checks, asked questions and given your pregnancy pathway.

Your midwife will offer antenatal appointments, which may include:

  • Checking your blood pressure
  • Checking your weight
  • Checking your urine for infection or protein, which can be an indicator of pre-eclampsia in later pregnancy
  • Blood tests for your blood group and rhesus status as well as Checking for anaemia, rubella, syphilis, hepatitis B and HIV
  • Listening to your baby’s heartbeat – from about 16 weeks
  • Measuring your bump – from about 24 weeks
  • Arranging your scans and any screening tests

Antenatal appointments with your community midwife

In a straightforward pregnancy, you will probably have about ten appointments with your midwife if this is your first baby:

  • between 8-12 weeks
  • 16 weeks
  • 25 weeks
  • 28 weeks
  • 31 weeks
  • 34 weeks
  • 36 weeks
  • 38 weeks
  • 40 weeks
  • 41 weeks

If you are experiencing a straightforward pregnancy with your second or subsequent baby you will probably have about seven appointments:

  • 8-12 weeks
  • 16 weeks
  • 28 weeks
  • 34 weeks
  • 36 weeks
  • 38 weeks
  • 41 weeks

If you have any concerns you can schedule another appointment.

To make the most of your antenatal appointments…

Sometimes these appointments are running late and it is easy to feel that your appointment needs to be quick when your midwife has a waiting room full of pregnant women. But this is your time with your midwife so it can help to be prepared for each one.

  • It can be useful to write down any questions because it’s easy to forget something.
  • Your midwife is there to check you and your baby, as well as to provide you with information and reassurance, so don’t feel like you are wasting her time by asking questions.
  • And please do ask if you are unsure about anything being suggested.

antenatal appointments
Photo by MART PRODUCTION o

Antenatal Appointments: Ultrasound Scans

About 12-13 weeks: Dating Scan
This is to confirm your pregnancy and to work out when your baby is due. It checks the development of your baby and it can also be used to screen for Down’s Syndrome

About 18-20 weeks: Anomaly Scan
This scan is to check the development of your baby and to look for any physical problems.

Antenatal Appointments: Blood Tests

You may be offered different blood tests during your pregnancy – these should be explained to you by your midwife.

  • Screening for HIV, Hepatitis B and Syphilis, as well as sickle cell – you will most probably be offered this blood test during your booking appointment at about 10 weeks.
  • Screening for Down’s, Edward’s and Patau’s Syndrome is offered with a combined test: blood test and ultrasound scan with your dating scan or a blood test between 14-20 weeks. If your results indicate a higher than 1 in 150 chance then you will be offered a diagnostic test:
  • CVS: 11-14 weeks a sample of placenta is taken through the abdomen with a fine needle
  • Amniocentesis: From 15 weeks a sample of amniotic fluid is taken through the abdomen with a fine needle

Test For Gestational Diabetes

If there are any concerns about gestation diabetes you will be offered the oral glucose tolerance test between 24-28 weeks. This involves a morning blood test and a glucose drink, followed by a 2 hour wait before another blood test.

You can also be offered this test in your third trimester if you are not feeling well or if your baby is measuring on the bigger side.

Talk to your midwife about these tests to gain more information and a better understanding of what they involve.

Additional Antenatal Appointments

You may be offered additional midwife or consultant appointments if there are any concerns about you or your baby or if you have pre-existing health issues.

If this is not your first pregnancy and you have previously experienced recurrent miscarriages, stillbirth or neonatal death, severe pre-eclampsia, a premature birth or a low-birth weight baby, you will also be offered additional care. Your midwife should talk to you about this.

You can read more here – NICE Guidance: Women Requiring Additional Care

And remember
If you notice anything different in your baby’s movements or if you just feel that something isn’t quite right, please get checked out.
You are never wasting anyone’s time.

Copyright: Janine Smith

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Working with parents since 2002

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This entry was posted in: Pregnancy Essentials

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An experienced specialist in pregnancy, birth & early parenting, I have worked with parents since 2002. I am based in the North East so I regularly work with parents from Newcastle, Northumberland, Gateshead and across North Tyneside. Face-to-face sessions will continue with North East parents but digital courses and online sessions means I can work with parents everywhere.