Your Antenatal Care

What iS Antenatal Care

This is the care you receive while you’re pregnant to make sure you and your baby are as well as possible.

The midwife or doctor providing your antenatal care will: 

  • check the health of you and your baby
  • give you useful information to help you have a healthy pregnancy, including advice about healthy eating and exercise
  • discuss your options and choices for your care during pregnancy, labour and birth 
  • answer any questions you may have

You may also be offered antenatal classes, including breastfeeding workshops.

Ask your midwife about classes in your area.

Your First Steps

Our Better Births Video Series will show you the steps you need to take from discovering you are pregnant to giving birth and beyond.

Episode 1

First steps when you find out you are pregnant

Episode 2

The Booking In Appointment

Antenatal Education

During pregnancy, you may be able to go to some introductory classes on baby care. Most start about 8 to 10 weeks before your baby is due.

Classes are normally held once a week, either during the day or in the evening, for about two hours. Some classes are for pregnant women only. Others will welcome partners or friends, either to all the sessions or to some of them.

Having a Healthy Pregnancy

Whatever you want to know about being pregnant, from early pregnancy signs to which prenatal vitamins you should take, you should find it here. 

Ultrasound Scans

Most hospitals will offer women at least two ultrasound scans during their pregnancy. The first is usually around eight to 12 weeks and is sometimes called the dating scan because it can help to determine when the baby is due. The second scan usually takes place between 18 and 20 weeks and is called the anomaly scan because it checks for structural abnormalities.

What do scans tell us?

  • Check your baby’s measurements. This gives a better idea of when your baby was conceived and when it is likely to be born. This can be useful if you are unsure about the date of your last period or if your menstrual cycle is long, short or irregular. Your due date may be adjusted depending on the ultrasound measurements.
  • Confirm if you are carrying more than one baby.
  • Detect some abnormalities, particularly in your baby’s head or spine.
  • Show the position of your baby and your placenta. Sometimes a caesarean section is recommended – for example if your placenta is low lying in late pregnancy.
  • Check that your baby is growing and developing as expected (this is particularly important if you are carrying twins or more).

Premature Labour and Birth

Premature labour is labour that happens before the 37th week of pregnancy. About 8 out of 100 babies will be born prematurely.

Make sure you are aware of what the sign of early labour are and what to do next.

Never Suffer Alone

EDAN Lincs Domestic Abuse Service (formerly West Lincolnshire Domestic Abuse Service) is a registered charity.  We cover the county of Lincolnshire, and provide support and assistance to women, men and children suffering, or fleeing from domestic abuse.

Know Your Rights

Have you just found out that you are pregnant and want to know what your rights are at work? Follow the link to learn everything from Maternity Leave, Paternity Leave, Pay and others.

We Value your Feedback

Please take the time to complete our Antenatal Care survey by clicking the button below. 

Your Antenatal Appointment Schedule

At your first booking appointment you should have a scan to check when your baby is due. You will be asked lots of questions about your medical history, your family history and details of any previous pregnancies you may have had. You will also be asked about your current pregnancy and given lots of information about your pregnancy. This appointment may last for up to two hours.

Your midwife or doctor should give you information about:

  • how the baby develops during pregnancy;
  • nutrition and diet;
  • exercise and pelvic floor exercises;
  • antenatal screening tests;
  • your antenatal care;
  • breastfeeding, including workshops;
  • antenatal education;
  • planning your labour;
  • your options for where to have your baby.

Blood tests are normally offered and recommended at your first antenatal visit. These tests look for possible health problems that could affect your health and the health of your baby. Having the tests will help you make decisions about care, both before and after birth, to protect the health of you and your baby.

Only one sampling of blood is needed to do all six tests. Before a blood sample is taken, you will be asked if you consent to the tests. You can decline consent to any of them. If a test is declined, it is standard practice to offer it again later in your pregnancy.

You will be weighed at the booking appointment, but you probably will not be weighed regularly during your pregnancy. Your height will be measured along with your weight so that your midwife can calculate your BMI (body mass index). Most women put on between 10 and 12.5kg (22–28lbs) in pregnancy, most of it after the 20th week. Much of the extra weight is due to the baby growing, but your body will also be storing fat ready to make breastmilk after the birth. Eating sensibly and taking regular exercise can help. 

You will receive a risk assessment for thromboembolism and diabetes. At the end of your booking appointment, you should understand the plan of care for your pregnancy and have your hand-held notes to carry with you at all times. Your booking appointment is an opportunity to tell your midwife or doctor if you are in a vulnerable situation or if you need extra support. This could be because of domestic violence, sexual abuse or female genital mutilation.

Ultrasound scan to estimate when your baby is due, check the physical development of your baby and screen for possible abnormalities.

Your midwife or doctor should:

  • review, discuss and record the results of any screening tests;
  • measure your blood pressure and test your urine for protein;
  • consider an iron supplement if you are anaemic;
  • give you information about the ultrasound scan you will be offered at 18 to 20 weeks and help with any concerns or questions you have;
  • give you your MHHR if you have not already received it.

Ultrasound scan to check the physical development of your baby. (Remember, the main purpose of this scan is to check that there are no structural abnormalities.)

Your midwife or doctor should:

  • use a tape to measure the size of your uterus;
  • and plot on your individual growth chart;
  • measure your blood pressure and test your urine or protein;
  • discuss whooping cough and flu vaccines.

Your midwife or doctor should:

  • use a tape to measure the size of your uterus and plot on your individual growth chart;
  • measure your blood pressure and test your urine for protein;
  • offer more screening tests;
  • discuss whooping cough and flu vaccines;
  • discuss your baby’s movements.

Your midwife or doctor should:

  • offer your anti-D treatment if you are rhesus negative;
  • discuss whooping cough and flu vaccines;
  • discuss your baby’s movements.

Your midwife or doctor should:

  • review, discuss and record the results of any screening tests from the last appointment;
  • use a tape to measure the size of your uterus and plot on your individual growth chart;
  • measure your blood pressure and test your urine for protein;
  • discuss whooping cough and flu vaccines;
  • discuss your baby’s movements.

Your midwife or doctor should give you information about preparing for labour and birth, including how to recognise active labour, ways of coping with pain in labour and your birth plan.

Your midwife or doctor should:

  • review, discuss and record the results of any screening tests from the last appointment;
  • use a tape to measure the size of your uterus and plot on your individual growth chart;
  • measure your blood pressure and test your urine for protein;
  • discuss whooping cough and flu vaccines;
  • discuss your baby’s movements.

Your midwife or doctor should give you information about:

  • feeding your baby;
  • caring for your newborn baby;
  • vitamin K and screening tests for your newborn baby;
  • your own health after your baby is born;
  • the ‘baby blues’ and postnatal depression;

Your midwife or doctor should:

  • use a tape to measure the size of your uterus and plot on your individual growth chart;
  • check the position of your baby;
  • measure your blood pressure and test your urine for protein;
  • discuss whooping cough and flu vaccines;
  • discuss your baby’s movements.

Your midwife or doctor will discuss the options and choices about what happens if your pregnancy lasts longer than 41 weeks. Your midwife or doctor should:

  • use a tape to measure the size of your uterus and plot on your individual growth chart;
  • measure your blood pressure and test your urine for protein;
  • discuss whooping cough and flu vaccines;
  • discuss your baby’s movements.

Your midwife or doctor should give you more information about what happens if your pregnancy lasts longer than 41 weeks. Your midwife or doctor should:

  • use a tape to measure the size of your uterus and plot on your individual growth chart;
  • measure your blood pressure and test your urine for protein;
  • discuss whooping cough and flu vaccines;
  • discuss your baby’s movements.

Your midwife or doctor should:

  • use a tape to measure the size of your uterus and plot on your individual growth chart;
  • measure your blood pressure and test your urine for protein;
  • offer a membrane sweep
  • discuss the options and choices for induction of labour;
  • discuss whooping cough and flu vaccines;
  • discuss your baby’s movements.