What happens at my check up appointments?

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12 weeks – Your first appointment

  • Your GP will refer you to your local hospital
  • The care options that are available will be discussed
  • A whole lot of blood tests will be organised including your blood type, hep b, hep c, hiv, rubella, syphilis, full blood count etc.
  • Optional scans will be discussed and organized such as:
  • Dating scan at 8-9 weeks
  • Nuchal translucency scan/ NIPT test at  11–13 weeks

Observations: Check blood pressure and weight

What you could ask about:

  • Nutrition and exercise
  • Supplements
  • Early pregnancy changes (Breast changes, weight gain, fatigue, nausea)

12-18 weeks

(You’ll be able to hear bub at this point)

  • This appointment should be with a midwife in the hospital
  • They will review your blood tests and recommend supplements or further testing if needed
  • If you are a negative blood group they will discuss Anti D in pregnancy
  • They will organise a morphology scan to be performed at 18–20 weeks
  • Baby’s heart sounds should now be detectable with the use of a doppler and can be heard at this appointment; it will normally be on the upper end of 110-160 beats per minute.

Observations: Blood pressure (BP)  and fetal heart rate (FHR)

What you could ask about:

  • Early movements and what they feel like
  • Bleeding during pregnancy
  • Sex during pregnancy

20 weeks

  • Your morphology scan will be reviewed and explained to you.
  • Follow up scans may be organized depending on findings.
    For e.g, if your placenta is close to your cervix on the morphology scan we will repeat the scan in a few weeks’ time to ensure it’s moved out of the way.

Observations: BP and FHR

What you could ask about:

  • The flu shot in pregnancy
  • Breastfeeding (importance/significance/nipple care)
  • Work commitments (when to stop or slow down)

24-26 weeks

  • This is the gestation where we start feeling and measuring your belly.
  • Fundal height is measured from the pubic bone (the hard bone on top of your vulva) to the top of your uterus (fundus).
  • The fundal height is generally within 2-3cm of your gestation and is a gauge for fetal growth.
  • Your midwife will discuss gestational diabetes screening which can be performed between (26 to 28 weeks)
  • The whooping cough vaccine will also be discussed and can be organised for  (28 – 32 weeks)
  • A request slip for follow up blood tests will be given to you to be performed between 24–28 weeks.

Observations: BP, FHR , abdominal palpation and fundal height

What you could ask about:

  • Fetal movements and monitoring them.
  • Signs of labour

28 weeks

  • Your blood tests will be reviewed and discussed with you
  • The first dose of Anti D will be given via injection if you have a negative blood group
  • Your midwife will ask about fetal movements and your general wellbeing

Observations: BP, FHR , abdominal palpation and fundal height

What you could ask about:

  • Different stages of labour
  • What to do if your waters break at home

31 weeks

  • Nothing fancy needs to be done at this visit
  • Your midwife will ask about fetal movements and your general wellbeing

Observations: BP, FHR , abdominal palpation and fundal height

What you could ask about:

  • Optimal fetal positioning
  • Perineal massage, episiotomy and perineal trauma
  • Relaxation and visualization techniques
  • What to pack

34 weeks

  • Your 2nd dose of Anti D if you have a negative blood group will be given
  • Your midwife will ask about fetal movements and your general wellbeing

Observations: BP, FHR , abdominal palpation and fundal height

What you could ask about:

  • Late pregnancy (physical and emotional changes)
  • Positions for labour and birth

36 weeks

  • Your midwife will ask about fetal movements and your general wellbeing

Observations: BP, FHR , abdominal palpation, and fundal height

What you could ask about:

  • Breastfeeding: Physiology and establishment of lactation
  • Attachment/ techniques
  • What to expect in the first few days
  • SIDS safe sleeping

38 weeks

  • Your midwife should review your birthing preferences/ options
  • Discuss any fear and anxieties of birth
  • Ask about fetal movements and general wellbeing

Observations: BP, FHR, and fundal height

What you could ask about:

  • Baby blues vs postnatal depression
  • Bleeding post-birth

40 weeks

  • Your midwife will ask about fetal movements and your general wellbeing
  • A stretch and sweep will be discussed and offered
  • Discuss natural induction of labour methods
  • An IOL for 41 + 3 days will be booked in case you remain pregnant.

Observations: BP, FHR, and fundal height

What you could ask:

  • When to call the midwife in labour
  • How to support early labour at home

41-42 weeks

  • Ask about fetal movements and general wellbeing
  • According to your preferences, post date management will be discussed.
  • This may include further fetal wellbeing monitoring if wishing to postpone induction of labour.
  • Alternatively, you will be asked to attend the hospital for your induction of labour at the appropriate date that has been provided to you.

Observations: BP, FHR , and fundal height

What you could ask:

  • What the methods of induction of labour are
  • How to support birth hormones with oxytocin infusion

Tips on how to approach birth

❊ Turn negativity into positivity – It’s normal to experience negative thoughts in your labour, acknowledge these but do not dwell on them. It is

From womb to earth.

Image by: @karlaroswell If you are reading this while life is blooming inside you, I want you to just take a moment and sit with

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