Tuesday to Friday: 9am - 5pm.
Telephone (with answerphone): +44 1624 650322
If you require urgent advice, please contact the maternity ward on:
Telephone: +44 1624 650030
The aim of all antenatal care is to ensure the safety of mother and baby. Regular contact with a midwife can ensure that potential problems are picked up and dealt with in a timely manner. Your antenatal care is usually shared between the hospital and your GP practice (where you will see a midwife).
It is important that you inform your GP practice as soon as you are pregnant so they can organise this 'Shared care'.
Midwife booking visit
Your first hospital visit is your booking appointment with a midwife, usually at 8-10 weeks of pregnancy. There is not routinely a scan at this appointment. The midwife will check your blood pressure, measure your height and weight, test your urine and measure your carbon monoxide level. She will ask you about your physical and mental health including medical problems, any operations you have had and details of any previous pregnancies. With some medical or social issues, we may refer you to different agencies to liaise with them about your care.
It would be useful for you to ask both your family and your partner’s about any possible inherited disorders prior to this appointment. You will also be counselled about all the routine antenatal screening we offer such as blood tests and scans, and we will request all that you have consented to. This initial appointment lasts for about an hour and you will be asked many questions and given a lot of information; please bear this in mind if you have young children.
You will be invited to attend aqua-natal, parent education and Daddy Baby care (first time daddies only) sessions. You will have to respond to these invitations to be able to participate.
Routine antenatal care only funds each woman for 2 scans during pregnancy. These are the dating scan at around 12 weeks and an anomaly scan at around 20 weeks. Further scans will be arranged according to individual clinical needs.
The dating scan is used to determine the exact gestation of your pregnancy (we work in weeks and days, not months) and your estimated due date (EDD) is calculated. If you have accepted the offer of chromosome screening, measurements from this scan contribute to the calculation of your risk factors.
You will receive your scan appointment in the post. Immediately after your scan, you will be sent to the blood clinic for all your routine bloods to be taken. You do not need to book an appointment at the blood clinic for these bloods and you do not need to bring any blood forms with you – the sonographers will give you all the blood forms you need after they have completed the dating sections required.
At the time of your dating scan, your anomaly scan will be discussed and booked. Your anomaly scan is a very detailed look at the baby, examining all structures. Sometimes, due to the position of the baby they cannot see everything and you may be asked to return. You can ask about the baby’s gender and if the sonographers can see, they will tell you. However, if they cannot see and all of the other structures have been seen, the scan will not be repeated just to establish gender. Don’t forget they will give you their experienced opinion as to gender but nothings definite until the birth!
It may be decided that you will need to have growth scans; these will be discussed, explained and requested at your consultant clinic appointment.
Consultant clinic appointment
At your booking appointment, you will be given a date and time for your next visit to clinic, usually at around 13-16 weeks. By the time you have this appointment we should have your medical history, blood results and scan findings to hand to be able to make a plan for your antenatal care and possibly even your baby’s birth. You will be seen by a doctor, not necessarily your consultant.
Further antenatal care
For most women, antenatal care with the community midwives and GP is most convenient and practical, but some women may be seen more regularly at the hospital. This is decided on an individual basis and may alter during the pregnancy. You can always be referred back to hospital care if your midwife or GP is concerned about some aspect of your pregnancy or vice versa if a potential problem is resolved. You may not need to return to the hospital antenatal clinic at all, but if you go past your due date, you will have an appointment to discuss induction of labour.
Whenever you come to clinic we will ask for a urine specimen and check your blood pressure. We can tell so much from these simple tests so it is important that you provide a sample of your urine at each visit. Please ask for a sample pot so that you can bring one with you each. Your abdomen will be examined and measured and we will ask you about baby’s movements and listen to his or her heartbeat.
We may request to take more blood from you, either routinely at 28 weeks or in response to a particular concern. If you are found to be Rhesus Negative, you will need to be seen at 28 weeks at the hospital antenatal clinic for the administration of an anti D injection. Your midwife can give you more information about this.