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 for early labour

It’s an exciting moment when you feel that first contraction. You may be inclined to just jump on that birth ball and get labour going

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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