Schedule of Antenatal Care
The author of this blog is Louise Brennan, a qualified midwife since 2001 who works as a midwife for the NHS whilst running antenatal classes, pregnancy, and postnatal support in st albans, hertfordshire.
This blog discusses the schedule of antenatal care. It is part of a series of blogs looking your pregnancy and antenatal care. The last blog was on screening tests in pregnancy.
This schedule of care is for women with a low risk pregnancy. If your pregnancy has been deemed high risk, you will be reviewed more often than this. All the below gestations are approximates as it will depend on when your midwife’s Clinics are and allowing for bank holidays etc.
10 weeks – The NICE guidelines recommend that all women have their booking appointment with their midwife by this gestation.
12+6 at this appointment, you will receive your blood results and your pregnancy notes, if you haven’t received your notes already. It’s important that you carry your notes with you all times, even if you go away, as they will contain all the details of your pregnancy, including blood results and scans, which would be helpful for the health professionals if you ever needed to be seen in another hospital.
10 – 14 weeks – dating scan. This scan will date your pregnancy by measuring your baby to estimate your due date. This is also the time you will be offered combined screening. This test looks for chromosomal abnormalities such as Down’s syndrome, Edwards Syndrome and Patau’s Syndrome. You can choose to be tested for some of these syndromes or for all of them. You can choose to opt out of screening all together.
16 weeks – routine midwifery appointment to check on you and your baby. This a good time to start looking at antenatal classes. You can choose between NHS or private classes. For more information on my classes, click here.
20 weeks – this is your second scan and although it’s great to see your baby, it is important to know it is another screening test. The sonographer will be looking at the structures of your baby and ensuring everything is normal. You can usually find out the sex of your baby at this scan. If you want a surprise, make sure you tell the sonographer so they don’t tell you in error! If your pregnancy is low risk and remains so, this maybe the last scan of your pregnancy. Some units may scan again at around 34-36 weeks to check the growth.
25 weeks -routine appointment with your midwife – for first time mums only.
If your maternity unit is following the GAP/Grow project, you will be seen every 3 weeks from now on. If your unit isn’t following this, you will be seen every four weeks.
28 weeks – routine midwifery appointment. You will have blood taken to check your iron level. If you are Rhesus negative, you will have your Anti D injection at this appointment.
Between 30-36 weeks is the optimal time to attend antenatal classes
31 weeks – routine midwifery appointment
34 weeks – routine midwifery appointment
37 weeks – routine midwifery appointment – if this is your first baby, your baby will be in the position he/she is going to be for the birth. If this is a subsequent pregnancy, your baby’s head won’t engage until labour starts.
You may be seen more regularly now. 37 weeks is classed as ‘term’. This means your baby is ready to be born at anytime. It’s worth getting your hospital bag packed. If you have written a birth plan, your midwife can discuss this with you. If you haven’t, it might be a good time to think about what you might like for your labour and delivery.
38 weeks – routine midwifery appointment. You can start to have vaginal sweeps from now to try and get labour started. If you can, this is a good time to stop working. It gives you a couple of weeks to relax before baby comes.
39 weeks – routine midwifery appointment. You can have a sweep at all appointments if you wish. Anything that might help you get into labour!
40 weeks – routine midwifery appointment. Your due date will be around now. Your midwife may book you in for induction for when you are 10 days overdue.
41 weeks – your midwife will book you in for induction of labour if they haven’t already. It is definitely worth having a sweep now if you haven’t been having any!
42 weeks – Your baby should have delivered by now!
Occasionally women decline induction of labour to see if their labour will start spontaneously. This can be risky past this point as the evidence shows that the placenta doesn’t work as well which means your baby may not receive and much oxygen and nutrients as they were before. If you wish to decline induction at this point, your health professionals will make a daily plan for your care.
For information, please go to the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE).
To find out more about Louise go to: http://www.louantenatal.com/