If you are booked for NHS midwifery care (i.e. you are classed as ‘low risk’) your schedule of antenatal appointments is likely to follow the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (otherwise known as NICE) guidelines. If you have additional medical needs during pregnancy and require consultant care, you may have extra appointments and care than those described below.
If this is the first time you have been pregnant you are known as a “Primigravida” or “Primip”. Mums who have had babies before are often referred to as “multigravida” or “Multips”. Multips who have had a healthy pregnancy and birth previously tend to require fewer antenatal appointment as you will see from the outline appointment schedule shown below. If at any time during the pregnancy a woman needs referral to a consultant or develops complications with her pregnancy, then extra appointments and treatment may be given.
12 weeks approx..
If you have decided that you would like to have screening in pregnancy, it is around this time that you will have those initial blood tests taken and the first ultrasound screening scan. If you have decided to decline all screening, then you will be offered a midwife appointment instead.
At this appointment you will be offered the routine antenatal screening care of blood pressure, urine testing and abdominal palpation. If you wish, the midwife may be able to listen to the baby’s heart rate, though it can sometimes still be difficult to find with a hand held Doppler at this time. The midwife should ensure that results of any screening that you have had are documented in your hand held notes, and that you understand what those results mean.
This is the usual time that the second fetal anomaly screening scan is offered (often referred to as your ’20 week scan’). If you are declining this scan then you would be offered a routine midwife appointment instead.
If you have had a baby before and all is healthy with this pregnancy and your previous pregnancies, then this is one of the routine Midwife appointments that you won’t be offered. First time mums and women with more complex needs in pregnancy, will be offered a routine Midwife appointment, with blood pressure check, urine check and abdominal palpation.
By Lorraine Berry – Midwife