The information below is based on a shared care antenatal schedule where you are looked after jointly by the local hospital and your GP's surgery. The schedule may differ slightly for other types of antenatal care.
Once your pregnancy is confirmed, a midwife (or doctor or both) is assigned to look after you and your unborn baby as part of your antenatal or prenatal care.
You will be given an antenatal care schedule by your midwife at the booking-in appointment (in most cases). This schedule varies from hospital to hospital and depends on whether your pregnancy is low or high risk and outlines how many times you will need to visit the midwife or the doctor or go to the hospital for certain routine tests. Click here to see an example schedule.
Around this time, you may also have your routine blood tests.
It is believed that a normal, healthy pregnancy does not need more than nine antenatal visits with routine antenatal checks. However, if there are any problems, the schedule is not written in stone and can be customised as required.
All through the next nine months, you will come across a number of professionals who will help you at one stage or another as you approach motherhood.
It is a good idea to know who's who to be able to communicate comfortably and not be intimidated by them.
It may also help if you know what all the abbreviations in your notes or the ones used by professionals mean. After all, its your pregnancy, your baby, your right!!