Pregnancy and baby

Your antenatal appointments

Can we find out the sex of our baby?

Media last reviewed: 20/03/2014

Next review due: 20/03/2017

You'll have a number of antenatal appointments during your pregnancy, and you'll see a midwife or sometimes an obstetrician (doctor specialising in pregnancy). They will check the health of you and your baby, give you useful information – for example, about a healthy pregnancy diet or antenatal screening – and answer any questions.

This page lists the appointments you'll be offered, and when you should have them. If you're pregnant with your first baby, you'll have more appointments than women who already have children. You can read this whole page or click on the links to go straight to the relevant information.

First contact with midwife or doctor

Eight to 12 weeks: booking appointment

Eight to 14 weeks: dating scan

16 weeks

18-20 weeks: anomaly scan

25 weeks

28 weeks

31 weeks

34 weeks

36 weeks

38 weeks

40 weeks

41 weeks

First contact with midwife or doctor

This is the appointment when you tell your midwife or doctor that you're pregnant. They should give you information about:

  • folic acid and vitamin D supplements
  • nutrition, diet and food hygiene
  • lifestyle factors, such as smoking, drinking and recreational drug use
  • antenatal screening tests, including screening for sickle cell diseases and thalassaemia, screening for HIV, hepatitis B and syphilis, the anomaly scan and screening for Down's syndrome, as well as risks, benefits and limits of these tests

It's important to tell your midwife or doctor if: 

  • there were any complications or infections in a previous pregnancy or delivery, such as pre-eclampsia or premature birth
  • you're being treated for a chronic disease such as diabetes or high blood pressure
  • you or anyone in your family has previously had a baby with an abnormality, for example, spina bifida
  • there is a family history of an inherited disease, for example, sickle cell or cystic fibrosis

Eight to 12 weeks: booking appointment

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
  • maternity benefits
  • planning your labour
  • your options for where to have your baby

Your midwife or doctor should:

  • give you your handheld notes and plan of care
  • see if you may need additional care or support
  • plan the care you will get throughout your pregnancy
  • identify any potential risks associated with any work you may do
  • measure your height and weight and calculate your body mass index (BMI)
  • measure your blood pressure and test your urine for protein
  • find out whether you are at increased risk of gestational diabetes or pre-eclampsia
  • offer you screening tests and make sure you understand what is involved before you decide to have any of them
  • offer you an ultrasound scan at eight to 14 weeks to estimate when your baby is due
  • offer you an ultrasound scan at 18-20 weeks to check the physical development of your baby and screen for possible abnormalities

Eight to 14 weeks: dating scan

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

16 weeks pregnant

Your midwife or doctor will give you information about the ultrasound anomaly scan you will be offered at 18-20 weeks. They will also help with any concerns or questions you have. 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're anaemic  

18-20 weeks

You will be offered an ultrasound scan to check the physical development of your baby. This is also known as the anomaly scan. The main purpose of this scan is to check that there are no physical abnormalities.

Screening for HIV, syphilis and hepatitis B will be offered again by a specialist midwife to women who opted not to have it earlier in pregnancy. These tests are recommended as they greatly reduce the risk of passing infection from mother to baby.

From 20 weeks, you will be offered the whooping cough vaccine. The best time to have this vaccine is after your scan, up to 32 weeks. But if for any reason you miss the vaccine, you can still have it up until you go into labour.

25 weeks pregnant

You will have an appointment at 25 weeks if this is your first baby.

Your midwife or doctor should:

  • use a tape measure to measure the size of your uterus
  • measure your blood pressure and test your urine for protein

28 weeks

Your midwife or doctor should: 

  • use a tape measure to measure the size of your uterus
  • measure your blood pressure and test your urine for protein
  • offer more screening tests
  • offer your first anti-D treatment if you are rhesus negative

31 weeks

You will have an appointment at 31 weeks if this is your first baby.

Your midwife or doctor should:

  • review, discuss and record the results of any screening tests from the last appointment
  • use a tape measure to measure the size of your uterus
  • measure your blood pressure and test your urine for protein

34 weeks

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 measure to measure the size of your uterus
  • measure your blood pressure and test your urine for protein
  • offer your second anti-D treatment if you are rhesus negative

Your midwife or doctor should give you information about caesarean section, because around one in four women will have a caesarean. This discussion may take place at the 34 week appointment, or at another time during your pregnancy. They will discuss with you the reasons why a caesarean might be offered, what the procedure involves, risks and benefits, and implications for future pregnancies and births.

36 weeks

Your midwife or doctor should give you information about:

  • breastfeeding
  • 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 will also:

  • use a tape measure to measure the size of your uterus
  • check the position of your baby
  • measure your blood pressure and test your urine for protein

38 weeks

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 measure to measure the size of your uterus
  • measure your blood pressure and test your urine for protein

40 weeks

You will have an appointment at 40 weeks if this is your first baby.

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 measure to measure the size of your uterus
  • measure your blood pressure and test your urine for protein

41 weeks

Your midwife or doctor should:

  • use a tape measure to measure the size of your uterus
  • measure your blood pressure and test your urine for protein
  • offer a membrane sweep
  • discuss the options and choices for induction of labour 

42 weeks

If you have not had your baby by 42 weeks and have chosen not to have an induction, you should be offered increased monitoring of the baby.

Page last reviewed: 01/09/2014

Next review due: 01/09/2016

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