Updated: May 17
Congratulations!!! After those two lines show up you’ll probably have a million different emotions racing through your mind. If its your first pregnancy you'll soon be wondering what next.
Here’s the lowdown on what happens over the nxt 9 months including midwife appointments, scans, tests and more..
Firstly, you’ll want to contact your GP who will help refer you for antenatal care. Some GP surgeries may send you an online link to register. Depending on where you live you may have different options for where you'd like to give birth and have your antenatal care. If you decided during your pregnancy that you want to change location then that's totally okay too.
Once you have been registered you'll be contacted to arrange your first appointment which will be before you're 10 weeks.
Your first midwife appointment will last about an hour where you'll go through a routine set of health and family background questions. You'll be asked for a urine sample (get used to this, it happens each appointment) and get your blood pressure taken. They will ask to weigh you and measure your height to calculate your BMI - if you're not comfortable with this then totally fine to say so.
In the session you'll be given a folder which you must carry to each appointment which contains info like numbers for the labour ward, birth plan templates, healthy eating, pelvic floor exercises, etc. The folder will document your pregnancy journey and all the scan results and test results. It is best to go through it at home so you can ask your midwife in your nxt appointment if you have any questions.
Most antenatal care teams aim for you to have the same midwife throughout your pregnancy but you may seen by other members of the team depending on their availability. After the initial appointment you'll have around nine midwife appointments, which be more frequent in the third trimester. You may have fewer appointments if it's not your first pregnancy. You may also have appointments scheduled with a doctor too if you have certain existing medical conditions or if you're 40 or older.
Around 8-12 weeks you will be offered screening tests for Down’s syndrome, Edwards’ syndrome and Patau’s syndrome. This will assess your chances of having a baby with one of these conditions and will be in the form of a blood test and scan. If you chose to have these they will usually take place around the same time as your 12 week scan. Visit the NHS website for more information on screening tests.
Around 12 weeks you will have your first scan. The scan will identify how far along you are, check how many babies are in there and check baby’s development. You will need a full bladder for this scan to help make the image clearer so remember to drink plenty of fluids before the scan is due to take place.
Some hospitals charge for the scan images so remember to bring payment with you too. Remember not leave your scan pictures in the folder as they keep the folder after you've given birth!
Around 20 weeks you will have the anomaly scan, this can also be known as the screening scan. This scan is a medical examination and will look at baby’s bones, heart, brain, spinal cord, face, kidneys and abdomen. You will also have the opportunity to find out the sex of your baby, if that’s something you would like to find out.
You may have additional scans after the 20 week scan, for example if baby is tracking big / small, or if you are expecting multiples.
You will be offered a Glucose tolerance test (GTT) at around 26-28 weeks, but can be earlier if you've had gestational diabetes previously.
From around 34 weeks you'll start to meet with your midwife more frequently. In these appointments you'll be asked how you're feeling and discuss birth plans and pain relief options. They'll also provide info on antenatal care, breastfeeding and lots more. Now's the time to start to pack your hospital bag!!
Think about your birth plan and discuss your choices with your midwife and partner. You have control over birth options like home births, an elective c-section. Of course babies will have their own schedule of when and how they will arrive, but defo worth having an idea of your preferences so your birth partner and midwife can help support this.
Don’t forget this is your birth experience so don’t be afraid to ask questions and voice what works best for you! Good luck with the nxt 9 months... you're gonna Rock-it!
This article is not medical advice. We always recommend you take direction from your Doctors and Midwives who will provide medical advice based on your circumstances.