Pregnancy and baby

Your antenatal care

How often should my unborn baby move?

Media last reviewed: 20/03/2014

Next review due: 20/03/2016

Contacting your midwife or GP

When you first learn that you're pregnant, get in touch with a midwife or GP as soon as possible. Although your first hospital antenatal appointment may not be until you are around 12 weeks pregnant, telling your GP and/or midwife promptly will help to make sure you receive maternity healthcare that takes into account all your health needs and preferences. Find maternity units in your area.

You can read all the information on this page, or click on the links below to go straight to the relevant section:

What is antenatal care?

Starting your antenatal care

How many appointments you'll have

Your first visit and booking appointment

Later visits

Checking your baby's development and wellbeing

Your maternity notes

What is antenatal care?

Antenatal care is the care you receive from healthcare professionals during your pregnancy. You'll be offered a series of appointments with a midwife, or sometimes with a doctor who specialises in pregnancy and birth (an obstetrician).

They will check that you and your baby are well, give you useful information to help you have a healthy pregnancy (including healthy eating and exercise advice) and answer any questions you may have.

You will also be offered antenatal classes, including breastfeeding workshops. You need to book antenatal classes in advance, so ask your midwife about when you should book classes in your area.

Starting antenatal care

You can book an appointment with your GP or directly with your midwife as soon as you know that you're pregnant. Your GP surgery or a Children’s Centre can put you in touch with your nearest midwifery service. 

It's best to see them as early as possible. If you have special health needs, your midwife, GP or obstetrician may take shared responsibility for your maternity care. This means they will all see you during your pregnancy.

Let your midwife know if you have a disability that means you have special requirements for your antenatal appointments or for labour. If you don't speak English, let your midwife know and arrangements will be made.

Antenatal appointments

If you're expecting your first child, you'll have up to 10 antenatal appointments. If you've had a baby before, you'll have around seven antenatal appointments. Under certain circumstances, for example if you develop a medical condition, you may have more.

Early in your pregnancy, your midwife or doctor will give you written information about how many appointments you're likely to have and when they'll happen. You should have a chance to discuss the schedule with them. If you can't keep an antenatal appointment, let the clinic or midwife know and make another appointment.

Your appointments can take place at your home, in a Children's Centre, in your GP surgery or in hospital. You will usually go to the hospital for your scans. Your antenatal appointments should take place in a setting where you feel able to discuss sensitive issues that may affect you, such as domestic violence, sexual abuse, mental illness or drugs.

To give you the best pregnancy care, your midwife will ask you many questions about your health, your family's health and your preferences. Your midwife will do some checks and tests, some of which will be done throughout your pregnancy. The results of these tests may affect your choices later in pregnancy, so it’s important not to miss them.

Your midwife will also ask about any other social care support you may have or need, such as support from social workers or family liaison officers.

Your first visit

Your first visit with your midwife or GP is the appointment when you tell them that you're pregnant. At this first visit, you will be given information about: 

They will give you information on keeping healthy, and ask whether you have had any previous health or pregnancy issues, such as complications in pregnancy. It's important to tell your midwife or doctor if:

An important part of antenatal care is getting information that will help you to make informed choices about your pregnancy. Your midwife or doctor will give you information in writing or some other form that you can easily use and understand. They can provide you with information in an appropriate format if you: 

  • have a physical, learning or sensory disability
  • do not speak English

The booking appointment

Your next appointment should happen when you are 8-12 weeks pregnant. This is called the booking appointment. It will last for up to two hours, and could take place either at a hospital or in the community, for example in a clinic at a health centre, in a GP surgery or at home.

You'll see a midwife and sometimes a doctor. You may also be offered an ultrasound scan. You will be given information about:

The midwife or doctor will ask questions to build up a picture of you and your pregnancy. This is to make sure you're given the support you need, and so that any risks are spotted early.

You will probably want to ask a lot of questions. It often helps to write down what you want to say in advance, as it’s easy to forget once you're there. It’s important to find out what you want to know and to talk about your own feelings and preferences.

Several antenatal screening tests are performed on a sample of your blood which is usually taken at your booking appointment. In some cases, the baby's father may be asked to have a blood test to check for inherited conditions, such as sickle cell or thalassaemia.

Questions you might be asked

The midwife or doctor might ask about:

  • the date of the first day of your last period 
  • your health
  • any previous illnesses and operations
  • any previous pregnancies and miscarriages 
  • ethnic origins of you and your partner, to find out whether your baby is at risk of certain inherited conditions, or other relevant factors, such as whether your family has a history of twins
  • your job or your partner's job, and what kind of accommodation you live in to see whether your circumstances might affect your pregnancy
  • how you're feeling and whether you've been feeling depressed

Your booking appointment is an opportunity to tell your midwife or doctor if you're in a vulnerable situation or if you need extra support. This could be due to domestic abuse or violence, sexual abuse or female genital mutilation.

Later antenatal visits

From around 24 weeks, your antenatal appointments will usually become more frequent. However, if your pregnancy is uncomplicated and you are in good health, you may not be seen as often as someone who needs to be more closely monitored.

Later visits are usually quite short. Your midwife or doctor will: 

  • check your urine and blood pressure
  • feel your abdomen (tummy) to check the baby's position
  • measure your uterus (womb) to check your baby's growth
  • listen to your baby's heartbeat if you want them to

You can also ask questions or talk about anything that's worrying you. Talking about your feelings is as important as all the antenatal tests and examinations. You should be given information about:

  • your birth plan 
  • preparing for labour and birth
  • how to tell if you're in active labour
  • induction of labour if your baby is overdue (after your expected date of delivery) 
  • the "baby blues" and postnatal depression
  • feeding your baby
  • vitamin K (which is given to prevent bleeding caused by vitamin K deficiency in your baby)
  • screening tests for newborn babies
  • looking after yourself and your new baby

The NICE antenatal care guidelines (from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) give useful information on the timing of visits during pregnancy and a description of what will happen each time.

Checking your baby's development and wellbeing

At each antenatal appointment from 24 weeks of pregnancy, your midwife or doctor will check your baby's growth. To do this, they'll measure the distance from the top of your womb to your pubic bone. The measurement will be recorded in your notes.

In the last weeks of pregnancy, you may also be asked to keep track of your baby's movements. If your baby's movements become less frequent, slow down or stop, contact your midwife or doctor immediately. You'll be offered an ultrasound scan if they have any concerns about how your baby is growing and developing.

Your maternity notes

At your booking appointment, your midwife will enter your details in a record book and will add to them at each visit. These are your maternity notes, sometimes called handheld notes. You’ll be asked to keep your maternity notes at home and to bring them along to all your antenatal appointments.

Take your notes with you wherever you go in case you need medical attention while you're away from home. Always ask your maternity team to explain anything in your notes that you don't understand.

Waiting times in clinics can vary, and having to wait a long time for an appointment can be particularly difficult if you have young children with you. Planning ahead can make your visits easier, so here are some suggestions: 

  • Write a list of any questions you want to ask and take it with you.
  • Make sure you get answers to your questions or the opportunity to discuss any worries.
  • If your partner is free, they may be able to go with you. This can make them feel more involved in the pregnancy.
  • In some clinics you can buy refreshments. If not, take a snack with you if you're likely to get hungry.

Find out about your schedule of antenatal appointments and what to expect at each one.

Page last reviewed: 08/01/2015

Next review due: 08/01/2017


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The 55 comments posted are personal views. Any information they give has not been checked and may not be accurate.

Mummybee14 said on 20 October 2015

I have just found out I am 6 weeks 4 days pregnant (by LMP dates) and I suffered from a missed miscarriage earlier in the year which I received terrible medical care for. I am now really concerned about booking an appointment with the midwife too early just in case anything goes wrong in the early stages as I don't want to get my hopes up. I spoke to the midwife over the phone who told me that I need to book it now as they are really busy and if I don't then I may not be able to have a booking appointment before 10 weeks and then may not be offered a dating scan at 12 weeks...... I don't understand how my care can be varied by this and if I do have another miscarriage after my appointment they want to make me go through the emotional pain of handing in all the paperwork not to mention trying to hide it from other people in case of the worst! It seems silly not to offer an appointment if I don't book it at less than 7 weeks when my last miscarriage was at 7 and a half weeks but every time I told the doctors there was something not right I was told I was pregnant that's all yet at my 12 week 5 day scan I was told my baby had died 5 weeks previous. I understand it all comes down to financial reasons but I can't help but feel it could be a lot better than it is.

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sharonhants82 said on 27 May 2015

The first appointment here does not seem to exist at my surgery. As a first time mum to be I had to wait until the booking in appointment before my pregnancy was confirmed and my concerns were listened to. They certainly haven't offered a first appointment this time round either, and I am no less nervous!
I think it would be wonderful if they did offer an earlier service, it does feel a bit lonely and nerve wracking being in limbo with only the Internet for information and your test to go by.

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Paula888 said on 12 May 2015

I am really disappointed with the NHS and pregnancy care.
I have conflicting information from Midwives/ Consultants and I don't know which way to turn.
I have been told I have short/funnelling cervix. The consultant is refusing to do anything - when I was given the news the nurse at the Antenatal clinic said I was to try and "make it to 24 weeks" and "not to do anything I would regret... "What is this supposed to mean NHS? I mentioned this to my consultant who is refusing to give me a stitch saying what little I have of my cervix left should be ok....? I am worried sick and am unable to enjoy the pregnancy or really lead a normal life with fear of the cervix shortening. The sad reality is these people are targeted on getting you in and out of the doors without having to perform much treatment and keeping costs down and I certainly feel that way... I now am anxiously waiting to see if my baby can hold in with what I have left of my cervix / funnelling ... really sorry sad state this country is in. Feel cheated after dedicating myself to a working life and contributing to this so called service as I am sure a lot of us are...

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misspatterson said on 07 May 2015

I just moved to skemlersdale 6 months ago from Durham and have found out that the care system down hear is rubbish after finding out I was pregnant witch I would been 8 weeks at the time
I told my GPS rite away to then be told 3 different thing from the des staff 3 different things first I was told I had to fill a form out then I was to be told to take the sample in then after that I was told no GPS where available to do the test for me so it would havre to be sent to the hospital to be tested fort this is very strange but okay . So I waited a couple of days rang back to be told I had to ring back at 3 or 4 to get the results back yet one more strange thing but okay . After that I at last got the test results and I was definitely pregnant to be told I had to ring back every morning to get an appointment with the go this went on for 3 weeks until I got and appointment for a weeks time making me 12 weeks at the to then have the go have a go at me for not seeing him sooner is rather a upsetting really consider that I wasn't the one in the wrong . Fast forward a bit am not 16 weeks pregnant and have yet to see a midwife or have my first scan this is just well how to I put it discussing and total neglect of mother and baby . Just the worst ever treatment I have had on the nhs . Plus given this is my 9th pregnancy 4 of witch I lost early on in pregnancy I should of had an early scan .

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Critter1973 said on 09 April 2015

"Your first visit with your midwife or GP is the appointment when you tell them that you're pregnant...."

As others have pointed out, it doesn't always happen like this.
My GP's surgery uses 'telephone triage' before they'll let you have an in-person appt, so my 'visit' was merely a verbal one. I had to make all the running in terms of drawing the Dr's attention to all aspects of my medical history. I had to know about and push for the fact that I have risk factors and would need specialist care: my GP would have only put me in for midwife-led otherwise. Oh, and I was told with no hint of apology that I wouldn't get the drugs pursuant to conditions diagnosed privately, that are quite likely responsible for the viability of this pregnancy (fortunately, I can afford to pay for them myself).

The idea that the GP would have offered info about folic acid, lifestyle factors etc. is pretty laughable, given that they showed no interest in more major issues such as monitoring my thrombophilia.

My 1st midwife appt is at just over 12 weeks. The GP has woken up and arranged an appt to discuss my pregnancy presumably because of the issues I flagged up--but only during my 13th week. Thankfully women are capable of self-help on the nutrition/food safety/lifestyle front--however, what is one supposed to do with diagnosed conditions/risk factors, with no designated responsibility for care, if not seen at all until this stage?

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LocalPatient said on 22 December 2014

It seems that the cuts to the NHS and especially midwifery care is showing. I am 12 weeks pregnant with my 2nd. I told my GP 5 weeks ago and she referred me to the hospital & local midwife team. I just phoned the hopsital today to chase up on when my 12 weeks scan / blood tests will be and had to make the appointment because the paperwork had not been processed. I will also need to chase up with my local midwife team (different team to hospital team) to arrange the booking appointment because they have not yet contacted me.
This is a totally different experience to my first, exactly two years ago, where I was bombarded with various appointments.
My advice is that you need to take the initiative; follow up if you hadn't been given appointments according to the published schedule described in the Web page above.

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David36 said on 18 October 2014

When we found out my partner is pregnant we booked an appointment with our gp surgery she was 4 weeks pregnant at that time. Back then Gp told us that she will inform Croydon hospital and that midwife will write to my partner. And nothing now my partner is 10 weeks pregnant and no any info from anybody. Yesterday I went to gp to ask her and gp said I should myself go to hospital antenatal department and ask there.
That's the health care NHS provide its useless. As usual. On Monday will visit this whole hospital and I won't be very friendly there!

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Laurahc91 said on 06 August 2014

I first read this page when I found out I was pregnant at 4 weeks! I was filled with dread after all the comments as they didn't leave me with high hopes for my pregnancy care! I am currently only 16 weeks but so far have had a fab experience! I was booked straight in to see the doctor, who confirmed I was pregnant and told me to go to reception and book a midwife appointment for as soon as I could get one. I had one 2 weeks later and they made me feel so reassured with all the questions, checks and advice they gave! A few days later I started being violently sick, upto 20 times a day. I spent the next 2/3 weeks in and out of hospital and diagnosed with HP. My midwife was brilliant, texting me daily to see how I was. She arranged for me to have an emergency scan to ease my worries and make sure everything was ok, which it was. I then had my 12 week scan including Down syndrome screening, when I got there, baby was not quite measuring what it should be for the screening, so immediately booked me another appointment for a weeks time for a another scan.
Fingers crossed it stays like this throughout my pregnancy :)

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Missy Boop said on 15 July 2014

Today I had my third appointment with midwife (at 27 weeks) and I left in tears. I'm so upset and I still can't believe the way she treated me, where does NHS gets its staff, this woman is more suitable to work in a prison!
Every appointment so far I had a different midwife and they were half an hour to an hour late. For my 12-week scan at St Thomas' I waited over 2 hours.
However, today I was a few minutes late for my appointment and all the hell broke lose. The midwife refused to see me and let me wait there for half an hour although she didn't have another patient. When she finally came out and realised the next appointment didn't turn up she told me to go in. Once I was in she verbally abused me, yelled and screamed at me saying I was late and have now lost my appointment and that they are busy and she has to see other people (but none of this was true as I was the only one waiting in the waiting room and the next appointment did not turn up). I really did not expect to get yelled at and I started to cry and I ran out of the door. Then I went to the reception to tell them what happened but the reception said they don't even know who the midwife is as she is replacing someone and didn't even introduced herself. I stood around the reception for half an hour and saw the midwife getting out, hanging around the reception with nothing to do as she didn't have any patients.
I really do not know what to do now. I couldn't get an appointment for the compulsory 25 week check-up, to get checked for diabetes and the progress and the last time I saw a midwife was almost 2 months ago.
What to do now? Try to find private care? Does anyone know of cheap and kind ante-natal care I can get? I am not going back there because even after I told the reception what happened they didn't book me for another appointment with someone else, they looked like they don't really care although I was really upset and crying. Any suggestions what to do now, please?

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NJB76 said on 14 July 2014

Has anyone else used Elastolabo Perineal Gel, to help prevent/reduce tearing in pregnancy?

It is meant to be available on the NHS, as advertised by their site and various other sites and has proven results in clinical trials. It also reduces the cost to the NHS in stitching etc and is a better experience for the mother. However, i am going round in circles between my GP and midwife.
No one wants to prescribe it as it is new to them!
Anyone else has any similar experiences?

Many thanks!

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BHamel said on 07 July 2014

Hi Angiebelle,
That's completely wrong info you've been given by your GP receptionist. Your first scan needs to be arranged and booked for 12 weeks and if it is delayed then some of the screening tests for Down's Syndrome are less accurate/not possible. How can you have a scan 4 weeks before you see your midwife?!

Don't just wait. If they won't give you an appointment with the midwife then have an appointment with a doctor instead. Unfortunately this will mean 2 appointments in the end but at least things will be started. Hopefully you'll get a better receptionist next time who'll book you in - if they say not til 16 weeks then ask them how you arrange your 12 week dating scan. You also need to tell someone they're giving out the wrong info so that other women don't just wait.

Good luck with everything!

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Angiebelle said on 06 July 2014

I am 9 weeks pregnant and I called my gp to find or about my midwife appointment and they said the first one is at 16 weeks. I'm not sure what to do. Shall I just wait?

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meow1981 said on 02 July 2014

I myself didn't have the best help when I had my children, so I have decided that I want to try midwifery as a career path (access course interview today). My midwife went off sick when I was having my first child and I was left to my own devices (at 18 this was worrying) and with my second he was early...Called the hospital to speak to a midwife about the fact that my contractions had started as I was only 34 weeks and was told not to come in til they were the usual minutes apart! When I arrived at hospital I was then asked why I was only just coming in when he was so early. When discharged, nobody came out and his vit k drops were administered late as a result.

There is more help about nowadays though (depending on your situation). However it isnt publicised enough. If you are a young mother/family, try the family nurse partnership. They work in the community and offer help and advice. Also research some local groups and projects. The doula project (Sheffield) helps with breastfeeding support amongst other support. If you check your council website there may be some information on support groups there

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ph1com said on 15 May 2014

I understand from the above that you are meant to have at least 7 midwife/consultant appointments at least. However my wife, who has had two high risk pregnancies, with two difficult labour's which involved haemorrhages each time and a b-lynch sutre the last time, and is 30.5 weeks into another high risk pregnancy, has only had one midwife appt and one consultant appt. Each time she asks for a midwife appt she is told she has to find one herself or ask her gp - our gp doesn't have any midwives...the hospital seem to make decisions based upon percentages and guess work, and even asked my wife over the phone if the baby was growing ok, well we are not midwives or doctors, surely they should be in a position to tell us that. Finally barnet hospital relented and offered one at 35 weeks. This doesn't seem right that we have to keep chasing the hospital for appts, surely this is the hospital's job...just not good enough

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Jade_P said on 13 May 2014

I'm 20 weeks pregnant and haven't seen or heard anything from my midwife since my first appointment at 9 weeks, is this normal? I'm even more concerned as the midwife I did see originally said she was not the correct midwife as I had moved so she said she would fill in my details but I would be put in a different midwife band so I haven't even got any notes.. I also had complications with a previous pregnancy which ended in a late termination at 6 months so I thought I would be seeing a midwife more often as well as the specialists I'm seeing. Can anyone shed any light on this? Am I just panicking or should I have seen a midwife since my first appointment?

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Ems Mummy said on 29 April 2014

My local midwifery services told my employer (the local council) I was pregnant last year after I'd specifically requested that my details weren't shared with any other agencies apart from the NHS. This caused me a lot of employment problems. I am not going to see any health 'professionals' for my current pregnancy due to this. I have been made to choose between going it alone without any healthcare and having a job, or going to the dr/midwife and risking my livelihood. I hope my baby is okay, but I guess they did this for years before the current system. Wish me luck!

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carne30 said on 24 April 2014

I found out 3 weeks ago I was pregnant with my 2nd child. As we all know one of the first questions we get asked by gp/midwife is the date of your last period and when you answer about 3 years ago and I've taken my contraceptive pills (yes, pills, I took 2 a day) they look most confused! Due to a multitude of health problems my gp put me through to the midwife as an emergency, they rang me the following day gave me an appointment at the next clinic and a list of phone numbers to ring for every eventuality as we just didn't know how far along i am. When I saw the midwife she was lovely, very helpful and once again it was put on my scan referral urgent, ASAP, even a few of the more concerning health problems I suffer with in a vain attempt to hurry along my ultrasound scan to date this pregnancy. I still don't know how many weeks I am, my appointment will be nearly 4 weeks after I initially found out and saw a gp. I only took a test due to unexplained weight gain just to rule out pregnancy.........oopsie. Obviously at first we were a little shocked but we're over the moon. We just want to know when our little bundle of joy is due and if he/she is healthy due to the amount of quite strong medication I am prescribed. To us 4 weeks does seem like it's being urgently dealt with. As you can imagine all this is rather frustrating. In my experience the nhs in my local area is all or nothing, they can't get it just right which I think is what we all deserve. Anyway, rant over! All the best ladies! Xx

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jen65 said on 26 March 2014

Anna10. Your comment has really shocked me. Pregnency is not a condition. Yes, any complications that it can bring can be "controlled", but please never tell anyone again it is a condition. It is a normal, healthy part of life and as far as you can, it should be treated as such, from the beginning, until after your baby is born.

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Clara181 said on 25 March 2014

I take it Anna telling us all not to worry and "there's no need for all the drama" means she's never experienced miscarriage or errors in her prenatal care before? Of course not, it's her first pregnancy.

I thought this was supposed to be a place for women to support each other and share information. Not for someone who has no experience of the NHS prenatal system to preach at others to stop worrying and that Doctors will sort all our medical concerns. If you can't see one until you're practically at the end of your first trimester because your GPs receptionists are misinformed, then sometimes it's too late.

I speak as someone with recently diagnosed blood clotting condition. I had to loose 3 babies before the cause was found and now I've had to wait 10 weeks into my pregnancy to even see my GP, all my medication had been done via telephone all a to the receptionist and the dosages have been incorrectly prescribed twice. It's also costing me nearly £80 a month in prescription charges which I can't claim back until I see my GP and get my Maternity Exemption.

So before you brand others as worries, and dramatic, think, why are they worrying? Don't pass judgement on what, thankfully you have never had to go through. It's not drama, it is a natural trait of mothers to want the best care for their baby, even in early pregnant.

Let's be supportive and kind not judgemental and patronising.

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Lozza81 said on 10 March 2014

This is my second pregnancy and I have been impressed with the level of care received so far. I was seen by my GP immediately who was brilliant and my booking appointment was made for 8 weeks by the receptionist who also organised my free prescriptions. My appointments si far have been exactly as they should be by the book and at each appointment I've felt very reassured about everything. I know I got impatient with the long waits between appointments during my first pregnancy but in hindsight I don't see what else they could have done. Feel very fortunate to have what has so far been a smooth ride.

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Finsta said on 07 February 2014

I found out I was pregnant just over a week ago. I was told by the receptionist at my surgery that I needed to see the nurse for my first antenatel ap. I arrived only to be told by the nurse that it wasn't her I needed to see but my midwife. So far I've had no info or aps made, no advice on pregnancy at all. I've phoned the doctors to chase up the midwife ap only to be told I won't be seen until 12 weeks...I'm currently 7wks and this is my first pregnancy. Getting quite a few tummy pains which I'm unsure if these are normal...Disappointed isn't the word!

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Adamsj30 said on 24 December 2013

I not very impressed with my midwife so far. My first appointment is when I'm 12 weeks despite my gp arranging me to be managed by the maternal and fetal medicine team due to being high risk < my appointment with them is a week later when I will be 13 weeks. I tried a few weeks ago to bring the booking appointment forward and the midwife was having none of It. I have no idea when my first scan is happening despite me telling the midwife that my baby had to have a tumour removed which was caused by a chromosome abnormality!! The obstetric team in notts is lovely but the community midwifes don't care

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EmmaLou85 said on 03 December 2013

I found out I am pregnant 9 weeks, and was advised by my GP to call the midwife asap as I have severe athsma, major depression taking strong medication for it and I have a historical back injury that has left me with weakened core muscles and have a history of miscarriages. So I called to book an appointment they wanted to know if it was going to be my first baby my name dob and my contact details only (nothing asked about my health) I have now been waiting days to be contacted, I have been getting incredibly anxious about this, I am somewhat calmer now seeing that it has been happening to others, but am still slightly apprehensive as my scan should be over Christmas but I'm sure it won't happen until the new year.

Never the less surely as I am a high risk case I should have been contacted already?! Especially as my miscarriages all occurred in the 7-12 week stages. Does anyone know the current average time to speak to the midwifery services?

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Anna10 said on 30 November 2013

I am shocked to hear such complaints about the NHS antenatal / midwife appointments. I too have recently discovered I'm pregnant (5 weeks) and after reading such clear guidance from this NHS website I know my midwife/GP appointment will not be necessary for a few weeks and is know what questions they will ask and the simple Checks that will be done. This is my first pregnancy.

Please calm down all you worriers.

If any lady has a pre-existing medical condition or serious concern, then your GP will point you in the right direction. Remember pregnancy is a condition, like asthma, diabetes, psoriasis etc and this can be controlled. There's no need for the drama.

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Wills_it_is said on 27 November 2013

Hi! I found out i was pregnant at around 5 weeks - i rang the local midwife centre and the receptionist said the midwife would ring me back which took them 5 days to do so! She went over a couple of things on the phone, take folic acid, what not to eat and made an appointment for my dating scan when i'm around 12-13 weeks. She said i'd receive a pack in the post and my midwife will be in touch - i'm now 8-9 weeks and still haven't received a pack in the post or heard from my midwife. Should i hear from her before my dating scan? I have no idea what's going on as it's my first and just thought i'd be seen before the dating scan? I'd like to see someone just to talk about things but i feel like i'm moithering! Quite confused!

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Lizzy86 said on 31 October 2013

Disappointing as it is, I feel slightly reassured(strange feeling given the circumstances) that it isn't just me being left to my own devices in the first trimester.
I am a first time mother and found out I was pregnant at (I think) 6 weeks. I got an appointment with a midwife the week later which I was very impressed with. Lovely as she was, she only focused on my worry of something being wrong with my baby due to family history. She rang a genetics specialist to start things with them although she didn't think there was anything they could do at this early stage. I wasn't given any information or advice as described above. I was given a booking appointment for around 11 weeks in which I was told I will get to discuss things then, blood test, urine test. I did feel as though I was wasting their time as I kept being told, "it's early days there's not much to do now but wait."
My advice, in hindsight, is if you are on any medications; push for them to look it up. I am on Lamotrigine (a drug used to treat epilepsy and bipolar disorder) which I informed the midwife, who just wrote it down. I looked it up myself(good job I did too!) afterwards and found this medication can deplete the folic acid in your body, which is pretty essential stuff in the first trimester. Studies show(shown on epilepsy uk org)that women should take 5mg folic acid as apposed to the usual 400mcg.
All I can say is thank goodness for the internet! It would be helpful however, if the midwives touch on at least some of the topics on this website or direct women & partners to this as the information is very good!

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dsouza546 said on 31 October 2013

I did a digital pregnancy test which was positive +3weeks from conception. Made an appointment for 1 week later at my G.P- Made to sign a maternity form to get free prescription.........- no other information given apart from being told that there will be a long wait- minimum of 1 month to get my first antenatal appointment. It has been 1 month now- and still haven't received anything in the post.

Local hospital- North Middlesex/ Barnet Hospital?
Chase Farm is closing down- how can you make a decision if you are not provided with information?

I was expecting my guidance and information

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KimMcD said on 15 October 2013

I'm 8 weeks and called docs at 4 weeks knowing absolutely nothing about pregnancy. I was told they don't do appointments for pregnancies 'unless you really want one' which made me feel like I was waiting their time. She said I should pop in and fill in a form, which I did. While there i asked if they had an official leaflet or something i could take as (and I quote " I know nothing about what I'm supposed to do", after a lot of rummaging I got a photocopied piece of A4 with foods you are not to eat. It took another 2 weeks for me to hear anything, but I've got my appointment with the midwife next week. Am a bit disappointed with the NHS really, as I am still a bit clueless, I'm getting by with the good old Internet but it would be lovely to talk to someone professional! Roll on next week, fingers crossed things pick up!!

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Annieee_Xx said on 05 September 2013

I am pregnant with my 2nd child round about 6-7weeks pregnant, went to see my doctor at 4weeks pregnant as soon as I found out I was pregnant, was given folic acid & was told midwife will contact me soon as, but still haven't heard anything? Is this normal?

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amybean31 said on 31 August 2013

I found out i was pregnant on 24/08/2013 . I finally made a doctors appointment on the Thursday (29/08/2013) (at 5+5) where i took a digital clearblue test with me to prove my pregnancy. He prescribed me some folic acid tablets and he made me an appointment to see my local community midwifes the day after (30/08/2013). I saw the midwife the day after, where she gave me my green pregnancy notes, and some leaflets on healthy eating/smoking and drinking in pregnancy and went through the notes with me and my partner so we knew what they meant. She also asked me which hospital i planned to give birth in, and where i wanted to have my scans (in Wigan, the hospital dont do scans unless its an emergency). The midwife then made my booking appointment for two and a half weeks later (16/09/2013). I cannot fault the service i have had so far, everyone has been brilliant!

Ps. This is in Wigan, so i cant say this will be the same for everywhere else!

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Mummy Maz said on 05 August 2013

I recently found out I was pregnant for the 2nd time and called my local GP surgery the same day who said I should contact the midwife at my local hospital and that if I got no joy from them to call back and they would book me in for an appointment with a GP. I rang the hospital and the midwife I spoke to was lovely she took my details and said that she would send me out a pack and that my local midwife would contact me when I'm about 10wks for my booking in appointment. That was on a Thurs and my pack arrived in the post on the Sat followed by an appointment for my first scan a few days later. So far so good will have to see how the rest of it goes.

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ljt91 said on 19 July 2013

Hi historygeek01, I found out I was pregnant at around 5 weeks but suspected I was further along. I called my GP who just told me to call the surgery back and ask for a midwife, so I did that and I was booked in for an appointment when the midwife thought I was about 12 weeks (this was an estimation as I was unsure on my last period, so all seems normal there.) :)

Overall, I am very disappointed with the service provided by the NHS, as when I called my GP, there was no support given surrounding an illness I suffer from, ME, and no advice given about the medication I was taking. I have since found out that one of the tablets can be harmful to the baby and no alternatives have been discussed! Also, I suffer from a sever peanut allergy and asked the midwife about what procedure to take if I suffered an allergy to which she replied she did not know. Reassuring. Similarly to others on here, my midwife does not respond to calls, texts and has a general disinterest in my health. I am also concerned about the lack of urine tests done and I am pretty sure I now have a UTI. But, the local hospital has been great (every cloud and all that) and they do test urine on each visit so that should get checked next week at my 20 week scan.

I think most people are unimpressed with the service they have received and the midwives need to realise although they deal with the same case and questions 20 times a day, it is a scary and new experience for most people and our maternal side has already kicked in so we are going to ask questions and worry.

Anyway, good luck everyone :)

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historygeek01 said on 15 July 2013

My wife and I suspect have only just found out we are pregnant and think it is around 8 weeks but we can not get an appointment to see the doctor until she is around 13 weeks. Does this sound ok?

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Rachie2013 said on 27 June 2013

I live in nottinghamshire/bassetlaw area. I found out i was pregnant with the confirmation of three home pregnancy tests. I got into my gp practice on the same day. The doctor didn't do a test but looked at my pregnancy tests i took and said they couldnt be wrong coupled with missed period, the tests and my signs and symptoms. Doctor said I was probably 2 weeks pregnant. Doctor gave me info leaflet. Unplanned i needed time for it to sink in. Today I called my GP practice and they gave me the number for my local midwifes. I now have my first appointment with the midwife in 12 days. All in all it hasn't been a bad experience so far...

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Amman said on 14 June 2013

Hi I've just found out that I'm pregnant. I've been to see my GP and she offered me no advice just referred me to a Hospital to which I've got an appointment in about 2 months time. It would be lovely if the NHS worked to it's own guidelines! As a first time expectant mother I'm not sure whether I have got to make the blood tests for screening myself or if I will be given an appointment. Help!

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19emmalou90 said on 01 June 2013

im 22 weeks pregnant and i too am dissapointed with my so called ante-natal care. i feel extremely let down by the the woman who is supposed to be my midwife and my obstetrician (who keeps changing appointment dates) my midwife NEVER aswers her phone and doesnt speak to me much when i do have an appointment with her. all shes bothered about is a urine sample and taking my blood pressure, she doesnt seem interested in my general well being in the slightest. i have epilepsy and i have a seizure once every few months so i thought i might get extra appointments or be a bit more closely monitored but so far me and my partner have been left to do everything ourselves. when i last had a fit my partner called the paramedics and they said i should call my midwife to tell her whats happened and i did, but as usual i was put through to an answering machine. we feel completely deserted by the NHS. if it wernt for my friends who have been through this before i dont know what id do. they have been the ones who have given me advice and support. my step-father has actually taken action against my midwife and is planning on reporting her because my whole family feel she is not doing what she is supposed to be doing, i dont expect her to be on call 24/7 but when she first gave me her number and said ''ring me anytime if you have any questions'' i expect her to be true to her word. the NHS need to look into the care they give pregnant woman because the majority of mums that i know have been unhappy with service they have received.

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mattalia said on 21 May 2013


how long does it take the midwife to contact you once your GP send off the paperwork?

how long did it take you?

thank you

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becsbe said on 08 May 2013

I read a lot of negative experiences on here and I feel that a lot of women are being let down. I must however give the other side of the story (so as to not totally dishearten any newly pregnant girls).
I am currently 24 weeks with my first, and so far my care has been excellent.
I first saw my GP at 6 week and he confirmed the pregnancy with a urine test. He was really lovely and even wrote "midwife appointment in 2 weeks" on a post-it-note so I could hand it into reception to make my booking appoint without having to announce to the whole waiting room what I needed! The two midwives who cover my local practice are great, very helpful and always at the end of the phone if needed. The ultrasound department at the hospital wasgood and they explained everything being looked at on the both my 12 and 20 week scans, really putting my mind at ease.
I live in a rural community and we sometimes feel forgotten about as our services are very spread out, but having read the stories on here from others, I feel very lucky and confident myself and my baby are getting the best care and attention.

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Daisy_28 said on 06 April 2013

I had a telephone consultation with my doctor at 5 weeks pregnant and he briefly talked about supplements to take etc. I couldn't actually get an appointment with him.

Do I assume that now my pregnancy is on the system, that my doctor will contact me for my booking appointment or do I need to organise this? I am now 7 weeks pregnant.

Unsure what to do next. I have read that my first antenatal appointment should be at 8-12 weeks but not sure how Cambridgeshire deal with pregnancy etc.

Any advice would be great :)

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dippybird32 said on 23 March 2013

new_mum I booked an appointment at 5 weeks; didn't tell the receptionist what it was for and my doctor was brilliant!

She told me to book an appointment at receptionist with the local midwife for when I'm 8 weeks for the first 2 hour session.

I never tell the receptionist why I want an appointment, they're not doctors!

Ring up and book an appointment regardless, it will put your mind at peace.

Good luck :)

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new_mum said on 20 March 2013

I agree snobored75

I am now into my 9th week and I have not been seen by anyone nor have a definitive appointment booked as I am currently waiting for an appointment confirmation from the hospital. Not ideal. My GP did not even perform a urine test on me to confirm the pregnancy - he just took my word!

I am really worried and not sure what to do - first pregnancy and all... not sure what to expect!

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Snobored75 said on 19 March 2013

I had my first appointment with my first child at 8 weeks but I was disappointed with the GP receptionist's reaction at the time. When I rang to say I had a positive pregnancy test, I was told to call back when I had missed two periods. I was so excited at the time and then felt really disheartened as the receptionist just didn't want to know. At my first appointment, I really expected the midwife to do her own pregnancy test on me to confirm I actually was pregnant, but they really do only rely on the ones you do yourself! I know it sounds silly, but I felt I didn't really have that confirmation I actually was pregnant until I had my first scan at 12 weeks.
I am now almost 8 weeks pregnant with my second child (hoping all will be ok) and have my first appointment with the midwife this week and I was told it would take an hour (and yes, I need to bring a urine sample).
I gather that the antenatal care varies across the country but I really don't think anyone should be left without any contact until they are 12 weeks pregnant. It's a worrying time and you should insist on seeing someone before then. Mainly because they give you info on health, nutrition, exercise etc etc. I know much of that is common sense and you can find out stuff on the internet, but this is not the case for everyone.

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new_mum said on 18 March 2013

Hi Tibby 1979

I am also waiting for my first check. I went to my local GP about 2 weeks ago and ended up with a referral to my local hospital. I called the local hospital today and was told that my first scan is not going to be until 12 weeks. This is my first pregnancy too and I feel I am being left in the dark.

Are you still waiting for your first appointment? Maybe call your GP again and see if you are able to get a referral to another hospital?

If anyone has any suggestion(s) on what Tibby and I should do, please let us know. Thanks!

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Tibby1979 said on 22 February 2013

I went to GP after finding out I was pregnant, he told me to fill in a couple of forms, 1 would be sent to the hospital to arrang the scan and the 2nd would be for the midwife to call me and arrange to see me from about week 8.
I'm 8 weeks on Monday and hadn't heard anything so the doctors have called me back and said that I won't be seeing anyone until 12 weeks. When I explained what I was told they basically made me feel silly for asking and said it was "still early days anyway", alluding the fact I could still miscarry at any time, so it would be pointless getting anything booked in anyway.
This is my first baby, I'm nervous, I'm wondering if everything I'm feeling is "normal", I thought this is what the 1st appointment would be for, to reassure. I also have a history of twins in the family.
If it is standard practice to only have 1st appointment at 12 weeks then I should have been told this, I'm doubting it is as my scan letter states I'll only be there about 15 minutes, all being well of course.
Does anyone else have a similar experience or can reassure me that my doctors surgery is yet again proving incompetent? I seem to have endless problems with them and will change surgery if I'm being fobbed off unnecessarily.

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suzyol said on 18 February 2013

The article above clearly states 'When you first learn that you're pregnant, get in touch with a midwife or GP as soon as possible so that you can start your antenatal (pregnancy) care' though when I tried phoning my doctors surgery at 6 weeks, I was told I can't book in until I'm at least 9 weeks, and they weren't very helpful or friendly. Please could someone clarify when your first appointment should be?

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New mum to be said on 13 February 2013

I've had a really bad experience at my doctors recently. The receptionists basically spoke so loudly the whole of the waiting room heard my private circumstances - this has left me feeling a bit scared to approach my local doctors to ask about getting a midwife. Are there any other ways of having a midwife appointed without having to speak to the very loud insensitive receptionists at my local doctors? I've just finished ivf treatment, I'm now nearly 8wks
Many thanks

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bumblebee3 said on 12 February 2013

loupylou4u, your granddaughter should get regular antenatal care although this may not necessarily be with the midwife. If this is her first baby and it is a normal pregnancy, she should be seeing the midwife at 21 weeks to talk through the results of the scan, then GP at 24 weeks, midwife at 28 weeks, GP at 31 weeks, midwife at 34 weeks, GP at 36 weeks then midwife at 38 weeks and 40 weeks etc if I remember rightly. If she is under consultant care however, she may not be required to see a midwife or gp at all! If she is a low risk pregnancy and she is expecting no antenatal care after her 20 week scan, get her to ring the community midwives office. No woman should receive no antenatal care.

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loopylou4u said on 28 January 2013

hi my daughter in law is having my 1st grandchild its due july 6th she had a midwife appointment today all went well but was told that she wont have another appointment with the midwife till after the baby is born she hs a 20 week scan coming up but surely she should be having regular checks until the birth with the midwife my son and his partner are very worried i have had 4 kids and with 1st 2 had 21 and 19yrs ago saw midwife laods i know since things have changed have 2 girls 6 and 5 but still saw midwife regular to test blood pressure heartbeat the size and postiton of baby also the pee tests lol .
i would like some help as to where they find out what to do etc. thank you x

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bradain said on 21 January 2013

Im 7 weeks pregnant and have my first midwife appointment on Wednesday. Its my 2nd child but im a little confused on whether this is my booking in appointment ir first child was born in Ireland so its done a little differently over there.thanks:)

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MrsHutchy said on 18 January 2013

I am pregnant for the first time. I live in Warwickshire and my GP told me my first meeting with the antenatal team will be at 12 weeks.

I cannot establish from the pages here or Warwickshire PCT if this is correct.

Reading the article above it suggests 12 weeks should be a second meeting. Any help will be greatly received....


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Susie said on 04 January 2013

Hi, you can find out more about your antenatal appointments and what's involved via this link:

Your booking appointment should take place from 8-12 weeks, and the dating ultrasound scan from 8-14 weeks.

Susie at NHS Choices

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mabsbabs said on 20 September 2012

Can anyone confirm at how many weeks you should have your first midwife appointment. I have made a self referral online to the community midwives and my GP is aware and has also made referral for antenatal services. I was told by the my surgery receptionist that i wont be contacted by the midwives until im 10 weeks pregnant. I am a little concerned as I am an older mother and will require antenatal screening and do not want to leave this too late. I am 8 weeks 2 days at present. I would be grateful for advice thankyou

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valentineselmani said on 11 July 2012

Hi. I am approx 9 weeks pregnant and have my booking appointment at lewisham hospital on 12th July. I have been looking online for some information but have been unable to find this.

Do you have your first scan at your booking appointment?

And if not when will i have my first scan?

I am going on holiday for 4 weeks on 26th July and wanted to know that everything was ok before I left.


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Susie said on 13 June 2012

Hi user 235714,
A woman's pregnancy is dated from the first day of her last period. In women with a regular menstrual cycle, the last period usually happens around two weeks before she actually gets pregnant (at the time of ovulation). So when we talk about a woman being eight weeks pregnant, she actually conceived six weeks ago. I hope this helps.
Susie at NHS Choices

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User235714 said on 02 June 2012

i was at my friends scan monday it said she was 10weeks 2days. 17thmarch due 22nd december. she is now claiming since then her dr says she didnt concieve until 31st march and her midwife apparently has infact told her she concieved between march 29th and april 5th. this would make the scan out by 12-19 days making her now 7 weeks 2days-9weeks 2days instead of 10weeks 5days. But she says her due date hasnt changed and infact even though the midwife says she concieved so long after her scan reading she is still over 10weeks. apparently pregnancy only lasts 38weeks and the first 2weeks womenn arent usually pregnant(i have this in text from my friend) so she is still infact due the 22nd december. even though ive had 2 kids both born at pricesly 40weeks. both due dates changed after the dating scan as completely different to lmp first day. ive asked my own gp ive asked a midwife. ive asked other moms. none of us have heard of this before. infact isn't a 10week old feotus twice the size of an 8week old one? arent the differences to extreme to be that mistaken. if any dr midwife sonographer reads this,is what her midwifes told her true is her dating scan of over 10weeks possible when theyve told her she concieved only 8ish weeks ago? im sorry i may sound stupid but my period made my sone 20th march-25th december my scan showed 10th march to 15th december which was spot on. my daughter my period said 14th august due 14th may scan showed 29th august due 29th again spot on but well if my friend n her midwifes wreckoning is anything to go by i should have only been pregnant 38weeks and infact my daughter pregnancy dates should have been spot on. its all very messed up

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