First midwife appointment: everything you need to know

pregnant woman speaking to midwife

by Bryony Firth-Bernard |
Published on

Once you’ve got your positive pregnancy test you’ll need to contact a GP or midwife to book your very first midwife appointment. This is also known as the ‘booking appointment’ and it should take place before you’re 10 weeks pregnant, as you’ll be offered some tests that should be done before this period. If you are more than 10 weeks pregnant and haven't made your first midwife appointment, don’t worry, just call up a GP or midwife as soon as you can.

This is another exciting step in your magical journey and it won’t be long until your 12 week scan, where you’ll get to see your baby for the very first time. Here’s everything you need to know about your first midwife appointment, from the questions you’ll be asked during it, to how long it will last and the tests that will take place.

What happens in the first midwife appointment?

Your midwife will ask you quite a few questions ranging from your medical history, to details about your lifestyle, your family’s health and any medical conditions you may have. It may seem like a lot, and a little full on, but it’s only to find out what care you need and if there are any risks for you or baby.

Some questions you may think don’t even sound relevant. For example they may ask you about the baby’s father or about your ethnic group. The reason for this is because some ethnic groups are at a higher risk of having some medical conditions. They may also ask about your mental health or if you’re feeling depressed or anxious as, if managed, you’re less likely to experience postnatal depression. It’s important to know your midwife is there to help and support you, not judge you.

Other topics you may be asked include whether or not you’ve experienced any domestic abuse, whether you smoke and your alcohol consumption, as well as questions around your job and what support you have around you.

You’ll also find out about the tests and scans you’ll receive throughout your pregnancy journey, information on antenatal classes to help prepare you for pregnancy and birth, what’s not safe to eat during pregnancy and the best foods to eat. The benefits you can receive when you’re pregnant (free eye and dental care), your baby’s month by month development, as well as exercises that are good to do throughout pregnancy, such as pelvic floor exercises.

The first midwife appointment, and any other antenatal checks, are where you can ask questions about your pregnancy too and any concerns you may have.

Where does the first midwife appointment take place?

It can be a variety of places including a hospital, your local GP surgery, a children’s centre or even in your own home.

Test that take place at your first midwife appointment

Blood tests: your midwife will do this to make sure you don’t have any infectious diseases that can be passed onto your baby. These include: HIV, syphilis and hepatitis B. If you already know you have any of these then you’ll need specialist appointments earlier. You’ll also be tested for blood disorders that can be passed onto your baby. These include: sickle cell and thalassaemia.

Blood pressure: this will be measured (along with a urine sample) to check that you aren’t showing signs of pre-eclampsia. This is a condition that causes high blood pressure, usually during the second half of your pregnancy at20 weeks or after labour.

Weight and height: this is to figure out your BMI (body mass index).

How long is the first midwife appointment?

The appointment usually takes an hour. However, in some areas the appointment may be split into two shorter appointments.

Maternity notes

You will be given these at the end of your appointment in either a folder or book. Within these notes are records of your health, appointments you’ve had and your test results during your pregnancy. There will also be numbers for your maternity unit or midwife team.

The NHS advises you to keep these records with you at all times until your baby is born. This is so if you ever need urgent medical care, then the staff can easily read about your pregnancy health.

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