Arranging your first midwife appointment
If you’ve taken a home pregnancy test and it’s confirmed your suspicions that you’re pregnant, the next step is to call your doctor.
- Some doctors like to see you first to confirm for themselves that you’re pregnant. They will then organise your first meeting (or booking appointment) with the midwife. Other doctors will be happy to send you directly to a midwife and will give you a number to call.
- Ideally, you should have had your first midwife appointment by the time you’re 12 weeks pregnant.
What happens at your first midwife appointment?
What your midwife will want to know
Your midwife will be a great help during your pregnancy but to do this they’ll need a good picture of your health and expectations for pregnancy and birth. That’s why they’ll need to ask a few questions about your:
- Medical history and lifestyle: Your midwife will want to take down details of your medical history and your partner’s.They’ll want to know the details of any previous pregnancies and any family history of diseases or genetic conditions. They’ll also ask about your diet, whether you smoke, how much alcohol you drink and if you are taking any medication.
- Dates: They’ll want to know the date of your last monthly period to help them calculate your due date, and you may be offered a dating scan to check when you’re baby’s due. This is usually done around the 12th week.
- Labour and birth: They should also give you some information about your birth options so you can start to decide what you’ll want to happen when the time comes. Remember to tell your midwife of your final choice and they’ll be able to help you prepare.
- Where you’re giving birth: You’ll be asked whether you’ve opted for a home birth, a birthing centre or which hospital if you’re opting for a hospital birth.
- Feeding: Your midwife will discuss your feeding options and find out whether you want to breast or bottlefeed your baby.
What about tests and examinations?
- Blood Tests: You’ll have some blood taken and be asked for a urine sample for a range of tests.
- Physical examinations: Your midwife will feel your tummy to check your baby’s growth and also listen to their heartbeat using a hand-held device placed on your bump. Your weight and height will also be recorded.
Your opportunity to ask questions – big or small!
You’ll probably have a million and one questions racing through your head so this first meeting with your midwife is the perfect opportunity to get some answers. And no matter how silly you think the question might be, if you don’t know the answer, it’s a question worth asking! Before you meet, you might like to jot down questions and things as they pop into your head like:
- Any worries you have or symptoms which are causing you discomfort.
- What sort of screenings and tests will I need?
- What birthing options are available?
- How do I go about booking antenatal classes?
- What sorts of foods should I be eating and what foods should I avoid?
- What sort of exercise should I take?
- What are the facilities of the hospital you’ll be attending?
How many midwife appointments will you get?
During a first pregnancy it’s typical to have around ten appointments with your midwife. These will become more frequent towards the end of your pregnancy. The exact scheduling and number will vary from area to area and will also depend on whether you are having a high or low risk pregnancy.
Remember, if something is worrying you, there’s no need to wait for your next appointment. Your midwife will give you a contact number (usually for your local maternity unit) that you can call 24/7 for help.