Antenatal Appointments

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Antenatal Appointments Timeline

My Antenatal Appointments

As soon as you find out you are pregnant it is important to contact your local maternity unit to register your pregnancy with the midwives there so they can begin to design a personal care plan with you. Once you have made contact you will then be offered a series of appointments known as ‘antenatal’ appointments, which ensure you have all the information and support you need to have a healthy pregnancy.

Your first appointment should happen with a midwife before you are 10 weeks pregnant. If you are more than 10 weeks pregnant try not to worry, just contact your maternity team as soon as possible and they’ll see you as quickly as they can to ensure you are booked in and ready for your antenatal care.

My Pregnancy Care

You will of course be offered more appointments if you or your baby need them. Depending on your existing health, the health of your baby and where you live, you may see:

  • A midwife for all your appointments
  • A midwife and an obstetrician (doctor specialising in pregnancy)
  • A midwife for some appointments and a GP for others


The NHS in England will offer you:

  • 10 pregnancy appointments (7 if you’ve had a child before) to check the health and development of you and your baby
  • Screening tests to find out the chance of your baby having certain conditions, such as Down’s syndrome
  • Blood tests to check for syphilis, HIV and hepatitis B
  • Screening for inherited blood disorders (sickle cell and thalassaemia)

Antenatal Appointments

You will be offered several antenatal appointments throughout your pregnancy and you will see a midwife or sometimes an obstetrician (a doctor specialising in pregnancy). During these appointments, the health of you and your baby will be checked. Lots of useful information will be offered to you and you will have an opportunity to ask any questions. If you are employed, you have the right to paid time off for your antenatal care appointments.

Pregnant employees’ rights – GOV.UK (

Most of your appointments will be very similar in content. Your midwife will use this important time to thoroughly check your health and your baby’s development. Attending your antenatal appointments is very important. Sometimes it may prove a challenge to attend but you must talk to your midwife and reschedule your appointment if you cannot make it. Regular antenatal appointments ensure that you and your baby’s health are monitored, and any concerns or problems are addressed in good time.

If attending your appointments proves to be an ongoing problem, speak with your midwife about these challenges and how to access further support should it be required.

What Happens In My Appointments?

Why check my wee

Your midwife will ask you to give a sample of your wee at each of your antenatal appointments. This is to check for protein that could be present in your wee, which can be a sign of pre-eclampsia.
If your midwife suspects you may have a urinary tract infection (a water infection) due to common symptoms you are experiencing, they will ask you to provide a wee sample to check for possible infection.

Why take my blood pressure?

Using a blood pressure monitor (a cuff that is wrapped around your upper arm), your midwife will offer to check your blood pressure at each of your antenatal appointments.
Early on in your pregnancy, the blood pressure reading will give your antenatal team an idea of what is considered normal for you. Using this first reading they can then see if your readings change throughout your pregnancy. High blood pressure throughout pregnancy could potentially affect your baby’s growth and can also be a symptom of pre-eclampsia, so regular monitoring is recommended.

Why measure my baby bump?

Your midwife will start to measure your baby bump to check your baby’s growth and development. Using a tape measure, they will measure your bump in centimetres from your pubic bone (under your bump) to the top of your uterus (on top of your bump). These measurements will be recorded in your notes. Interestingly, the measurement is usually similar to the number of weeks pregnant you are, give or take a couple of centimetres.
In some cases, the measurement can be higher or lower than expected. That is not always a cause for concern and measurements are not always a clear indication of size, however your midwife may refer you for an ultrasound to provide a clearer picture of your baby’s size.

Why ask about my baby’s movements?

From the fourth month of your pregnancy your midwife will ask about your baby’s movements. You may begin to recognise a pattern in their movements and activity, meaning you will notice if their movements have changed, slowed down, or are not as frequent. Feeling your baby move is a sign they are well, and any change could indicate potential concerns with their health. You must contact your midwife or maternity unit immediately. There are staff on the maternity unit waiting to take your call and provide care 24 hours a day 7 days a week

If you have any concerns or changes in your baby’s movements, call your maternity team immediately.

You can call Maternity triage 24 hours a day 7 days a week:

Colchester/Clacton maternity: 01206 845 240

Ipswich maternity: 01473 703 334

West Suffolk maternity: 01284 712799

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