You’re pregnant, so what happens next? Your booking-in appointment is the ideal opportunity to find out about the antenatal care you are going to get and how to get the services you want
It’s official. You’re pregnant and about to see your midwife for the first time at your booking- in appointment.
Ideally, your booking-in appointment should take place by the time you’re 10 weeks’ pregnant, so there's plenty of time to arrange any first-trimester screening tests. You're most likely to see your community midwife, and she may well visit you at home.
After that, you can opt to have all your antenatal appointments with the community midwives, or have some with your GP.
Get ready for your booking-in appointment
If it’s your first pregnancy, you could feel as if you’re stepping into the unknown. Your booking-in appointment with your midwife can seem like a ‘what now’ if you haven’t prepared for all you want to know.
‘It can be all-consuming when you are first pregnant, and remembering what you want to ask or what you are told at your booking appointment can be tricky,’ says Dr Sandra Wheatley, a social psychologist specialising in parenting and families.
Take your notebook and pen with you, you can have questions you want to ask jotted down and it gives you somewhere to write down answers and even random words so you can go over them later.
Get your antenatal plan
Ask your midwife at your booking-in appointment to give you a clear rundown of appointments that you will be expected to attend and when.
The coming nine months will be full of midwife appointments, scans, potential consultant appointments, blood tests and more. If you can get any dates in you can plan holidays and work stuff around them.
Explore your birth options
Even if you’ve not given a moment’s thought to the birth at this early stage, this is the time to find out all your birthing options from your midwife. Every area has different facilities and so it’s important you know what is available to you.
Ask what birthing centres are available to you in your area and whether there is a birthing pool for example. Find out about the local hospitals near you. Some have birthing centres within the hospital and have some availability for a water birth.
It’s worth asking at this stage how many birthing pools there would be available to you and your likelihood of being able to use one when the time comes.
Even if it’s not something you are thinking about so early on, it’s worth asking about home births. Find out from your midwife how often home births happen in your community. Try and find out how midwives in the area feel about home births and any midwives who specialise in delivering babies in the home, too.