The first ante-natal visit is also called the booking-in appointment. It usually takes place between 8-12 weeks of pregnancy and is the longest of all ante-natal visits. The booking-in appointment may be carried out at your doctor's surgery or at the hospital. In some cases, the arrangement may be such that the midwife comes to your house for your booking-in appointment and does partial history-taking while the remainder is completed at the first hospital visit. Irrespective of where the appointment takes place, it will be handled by a midwife.
A lot of talking! You can expect a lot of questions at this visit. This appointment helps the midwife to determine if your pregnancy is low or high-risk. It also helps her identify potential problems which may need assistance. She will fill in a detailed form as part of history-taking and will make a number of enquiries about:
* your general health
* significant past illnesses and operations
* previous pregnancies and miscarriages, if applicable
* enquiries about any known illnesses/inherited diseases in both your and your partner's side of the family
* origin - if you are of an ethnic origin, you will need to be tested for certain inherited conditions common in ethnic groups (eg. sickle cell anaemia). Ethnic origin information is also important so that your baby can be given the BCG vaccine at birth, if applicable
* you and your partner's work to identify any hazards at work, if any
* living accomodation
* enquire about the first day of your last period and the average length of your monthly cycle - this will enable her to calculate your due date. To calculate your due date yourself, click here
* contraception used before you fell pregnant and when you stopped using any contraception
Your ante-natal care schedule will be explained to you and you will be told how your weeks are calculated.
You will be provided with a folder which you will carry with you to every ante-natal visit. It is your pregnancy record, your casenotes.
You too can ask the midwife any number of questions to help clear your mind.