We were told by our GP to book the booking appointment any time after week 9. From the net it looked like the booking appointment and scan would take place at the same time. Given that we wanted to have a nuchal scan we opted for a date when we thought we would be 12 weeks.
One of Daddy's work colleagues is also pregnant and is a few months ahead of us and also at the Womens'. Daddy's not so subtle questioning gave the game away but fortunately she became a mine of information and set us straight in time to get our appointment changed.
The booking appointment is just that! No scans, no glitz, no glamour (unless you consider peeing in a pot to be the height of chic).
So far everyone was still taking my word for the fact that I was harbouring an embryo of uncertain age but Little One was still being highly discrete (no external signs and no sickness). I hoped for a hallelujah moment when the midwife would tell me in no uncertain terms that there was definitely a baby in there. No such luck.
They took urine and blood though. This made me feel less of a fraud as presumably amongst the myriad of tests that they would do at least one would give the game away if I was making the whole thing up!
The appointment probably took the best part of an hour and was a bit like an MOT. I was seen by a midwife who took down my history including details of my cycle, dates, family medical history (for me and Daddy) then she tested my urine sample (I think this was a protein test rather than a pregnancy test) and took some blood, checked my height, weight, and blood pressure and gave me a breath test.
This was new to me. I'd never been breathalysed before. Apparently by blowing into a machine they can assess whether the baby is likely to be getting enough oxygen.
It was all pretty painless and for the first time I was given a rough idea of what would happen for the next few months. My pregnancy was classed as low risk I was booked in for shared care meaning that most of my appointments would be with a community midwife (who would see me at my GP's practice) and most of my tests (like scans) would happen at the hospital.
I was given a folder with my medical records in them (to bring with me to all appointments including when we come in for the delivery. She spent the rest of the appointment taking me through them and explaining what would happen when and mentioning things I should start to think about such as bottle v breast feeding and ante natal classes.
It took a bit of time to figure out a rough due date because my dates were less than straight forward but we got there in the end and figured out when I should aim to have the dating scan to ensure I was passed the 12 week mark.
All my hospital appointments would now be generated automatically but I would have to book my community appointment for 16 weeks (as my dates were a bit of a guess I would have to wait until the dating scan before doing this).
Simon Mehigan Consultant Midwife
Never thought of the booking appointment as being like an MOT before.
The good news is women never fail their booking appointment and you're not going to be presented with an unexpected bill at the end of it!
The booking appointment is one of the most important appointments women have when they are pregnant as it is an opportunity for the midwife to find out all about you and your family whilst at the same time giving you the most up to date advice regarding staying healthy whilst pregnant. This information is based on the advice given in the Pregnancy Book.
Since you had your booking appointment Anna the process has changed quite a bit. Now when a woman finds out she is pregnant she can contact our "early access" telephone service directly on 0151 247 47 47. A member of our staff will ask her a number of questions relating to her health which determine whether an appointment at the hospital in needed early in pregnancy. The vast majority of women will not need to be seen in hospital at the beginning of their pregnancy but instead will be offered an appointment at a Children's Centre near to where they live where they will be seen by the midwife attached to the GP surgery they are registered with. This midwife will be the one you see the most of throughout your pregnancy. They will be part of a team of midwives that work in the area you live so if your midwife is not available you will be seen by one of her colleagues.
If during that initial phone call you answer yes to any of the questions it is likely your booking appointment will take place at the hospital where you will be seen by one of our hospital midwives and arrangements made for you to see one of our doctors.
The appointment does take about an hour but this also gives you a chance to ask any questions you may have. We do not give you a scan at this appointment this is arranged whilst you are there but for a later date.
We are trying to offer all women this first appointment between 8 and 10 weeks of pregnancy as we know the earlier you meet your midwife the more beneficial it can be.
Your notes are really important as they are a record of your pregnancy. By the time you have your baby they will contain all your test results, scans and details of any problems you have had. Do look after them and take them to any appointments you have.
There are a number of things you can do that can make your first appointment run smoothly:
- Talk to your mum, sisters about their pregnancies and birth. Did they have any problems?
- Talk to your partner about his family, have there been any problems with babies that were born unwell or had complications?
- If you are on any medications bring them with you
- Make a list of questions you want to ask the midwife.
- If your partner can attend that can be useful as they may remember things the midwife said to you that you had forgotten. It also helps them to understand what sort of care you will receive whilst pregnant
- Read the information leaflet about screening tests in pregnancy that will have been sent to you as the decision you make about whether to have some of the screening tests together with which test is needed to arrange your scan. This information can also be found on the Uk Screening Portal website.