Antenatal care is the health care and support you receive while you are pregnant, this is to ensure that you and your unborn baby are as healthy as possible while you are pregnant.
Antenatal care is sometimes known as “pregnancy care” or “maternity care”.
If you are pregnant, you should start your antenatal care as soon as possible. You should contact your doctor or Children’s Centre to arrange this.
Appointments will be offered for you throughout your pregnancy with a doctor or midwife who will:
- Check the health of you and your baby
- Provide useful information to help you along the way
- Answer any questions you might have
- Provide screening tests to check for certain conditions in your baby
- Provide 2 ultrasounds scans at 8 to 14 weeks and 18 to 21 weeks
- Offer classes or workshops for things such as breastfeeding
At your antenatal care appointments a doctor or midwife may ask you a number of questions, such as:
- How your health is
- When you last period was
- If you have any previous illnesses or operations
- If you had any previous pregnancies
- What your and your partner’s ethnic origins are - this helps to find out whether your baby could be at risk of inherited conditions
- If your family has a history of twins
- About your circumstances and living conditions
- About how you are feeling generally, i.e. are you worried or depressed
If you are in a vulnerable situation or if you are being violently or mentally abused this is a good opportunity for you to get help.
If it is your first pregnancy you can expect up to 10 appointments, otherwise you will have up to 7 appointments. In certain circumstances, such as if you develop a medical condition, you may have more appointments.
You will have an opportunity to speak with your midwife or doctor about the schedule of your appointments
Antenatal care appointments usually take place at your home, a children's centre, a doctors surgery or a hospital.