Your first hospital visit
Most women have their first antenatal check-up around the 8th to 12th week of pregnancy. This is usually with your GP who will then refer you to the antenatal clinic for an ultrasound scan and a consultation with a midwife.
Your midwife will ask lots of questions about your health and any previous pregnancies or miscarriages. You will also be asked about your family origins and any inherited conditions. This will help to build a picture of you and your pregnancy so that any special risks can be detected and support provided.
A number of tests will be offered at your first visit, some of which will be repeated at later visits. Your midwife or GP will discuss the reasons for these tests with you so that you can make an informed choice about whether or not to have them.
You are under no obligation to have any test, although all are done to help make your pregnancy safer or to help assess the well-being of your baby.
Antenatal care on NHS Choices website
How often do I need to see a health care professional?
Subsequent antenatal checks will be dependent upon the type of care you have chosen and will usually be performed by either your midwife or GP.
If there are complications in your pregnancy then your antenatal care will be at the hospital and supervised by your consultant obstetrician.
Your urine, blood pressure and occasionally your weight will be checked. Your abdomen will be felt to check the baby’s position and growth.
A further ultrasound scan will be performed at 20 weeks of pregnancy. It is helpful to have a moderately full bladder for this appointment.
Antenatal classes can help you to prepare for your baby’s birth and for looking after your baby. These classes are run by midwives and start approximately 10 weeks before your baby is due. They are informal, fun and a good opportunity to meet other parents. Partners are welcome, or you can go alone or with a friend.
You will be given information regarding the content and location of the classes when you first see a midwife.
What's happening to me and my baby week by week?
NHS Choices has a pregnancy care planner which explains how your baby is growing and developing in each week of pregnancy and how your body is changing.
Pregnancy care planner on NHS Choices
What should I report to my health care professional?
If any of the following happen, you should call +44 (0) 1534 442448 immediately.
- baby not moving – or movements changed
- any acute pain, severe headache, bleeding or breathlessness
Anything else which is worrying you should be discussed with your healthcare professional at your regular check-up.
I am rhesus negative
About 16 in 100 people have rhesus negative blood. Being rhesus negative in pregnancy causes concern if your baby inherits rhesus positive blood from your partner and the 2 types - your negative and your baby's positive blood - have contact.
Contact between the 2 types of blood can occur at any time, but it is most likely at a sensitising event such as:
- during certain tests eg chorionic villus sampling or amniocentesis
- any falls or strikes to the tummy area
If any of these sensitising events occur and you are rhesus negative, we will offer you Anti-D. This is a treatment that we give when we are concerned that there has been a sensitising event.