Antenatal Care

The first antenatal contact with your midwife is to discuss a plan of care for your pregnancy. This will include information on the different options for maternity care that are available.

Contact service

At the beginning of pregnancy, you will be given the name and contact details for your named community midwife. She is responsible for planning the care and providing support before, during and after the baby’s birth. A pregnancy and birth plan will be discussed with you early in pregnancy. This will include information on the different options for maternity care that are available.  You are encouraged to complete your own labour and birth plan also and your community midwife can assist with this.

The first antenatal contact with the midwife can take between 1-2 hours, as a great deal of information is needed to help both the mother and midwife discuss an appropriate plan of care for the pregnancy. You can expect some or all of the following at this visit.

  • A discussion about your own past and general health and any family illnesses
  • A discussion about any previous pregnancies
  • A sample of urine will be tested
  • Blood pressure, weight and height will be measured
  • Information regarding screening tests
  • Information about keeping healthy during pregnancy
  • Information about the patterns of antenatal care and what to expect
  • To be given access to your electronic maternity record

All other antenatal appointments will usually be much shorter. At each of these visits a sample of urine is tested and blood pressure is measured. From around 26 weeks of pregnancy, the size of the baby is estimated using a tape measure to measure the mother’s growing abdomen. The baby’s heart beat is also listened to at each visit if felt necessary.

The frequency of antenatal appointments varies from woman to woman. It is important that all pregnant people receive regular antenatal care, as this is a way of making sure that both mother and baby are well. Occasionally, problems arise even though the mother feels well and it is better that any problems are picked up early so that appropriate care and advice can be given.

In some areas, group antenatal care is provided to give mums the opportunity to meet and chat with others. All examinations are still done individually in a private setting.


Whether you are a first time mum or adding to your family, your experience is personal and unique. During your first booking appointment your community midwife will discuss and offer you a range of screening tests, including blood tests and ultrasound scans. These are designed to check your health and your baby’s health and wellbeing.

It is your choice whether or not to have screening tests and it is important you feel well informed about them first. The antenatal screening midwives are happy to assist you with this, please do not hesitate to contact us as needed.

There are some screening tests that can only be offered and performed in early pregnancy, so it is important that you contact maternity services as soon as you have confirmed your pregnancy, to ensure you receive screening information in a timely manner.

Further information on Antenatal and Newborn screening can be found in the NHS Screening Programmes booklet Screening Tests for You and Your Baby. It is also available to download in a variety of languages.

Scans and tests during pregnancy: 

Further information

For more info:

  • You can speak to your Community Midwife at your booking appointment
  • Antenatal Results and Choices (ARC) national charity offers non directive information and support to parents going through antenatal screening and testing. Their helpline number is 020 7631 0285
  • NHS Choices provides useful support and advice about screening tests in pregnancy
  • NHS Screening Timeline is a visual representation of all national screening programmes available in the NHS.

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