Your pregnancy and baby guide

Your NHS pregnancy journey

You should see a midwife or GP as soon as you find out you're pregnant. This is so they can organise your NHS pregnancy care (also called antenatal care).

Your first appointment with a midwife should happen before you're 10 weeks pregnant.

If you're more than 10 weeks pregnant and haven't seen a GP or midwife, contact a GP or midwife as soon as possible. They'll see you quickly and help you start your NHS pregnancy care.

What is pregnancy (antenatal) care?

This is the care you have while you're pregnant to make sure you and your baby are as well as possible.

The NHS offers all pregnant women in England:

  • 10 pregnancy appointments (7 if you've had a child before) to check the health and development of you and your baby
  • screening tests to find out the chance of your baby having certain conditions, such as Down's syndrome
  • blood tests to check for syphilis, HIV and hepatitis B
  • screening for inherited blood disorders (sickle cell and thalassaemia)

You'll be offered more appointments if you or your baby need them.

Depending on your health and where you live, you may see:

  • a midwife for all your appointments
  • a midwife for some appointments and a GP for others

Find out more about pregnancy (antenatal) care.

How do I start my pregnancy care?

As soon as you find out you're pregnant you can book an appointment with:

  • local midwife services (your GP or a Children's Centre can put you in touch with your nearest midwife service – find your nearest Children's Centre)
  • your GP (if you're not registered with a GP you can find local GPs)

Your first midwife appointment

This appointment lasts around an hour.

Your midwife will ask questions to make sure you get the care that's right for you.

They will ask about:

  • where you live and who you live with
  • your partner, if you have one
  • the baby's father
  • any other pregnancies or children
  • smoking, alcohol and drug use
  • your physical and mental health, and any issues or treatment you've had in the past
  • any health issues in your family
  • your job, if you have one

Find out more about what happens at your first midwife appointment.

When and where will my appointments be?

Find out more about when you'll have your antenatal appointments.

Your appointments can take place at:

  • your home
  • a Children's Centre
  • a GP surgery
  • a hospital

You'll usually go to the hospital for your pregnancy scans.

What can I do now for me and my baby?

It's important not to miss any of your antenatal appointments. Some of the tests and measurements that can find possible problems have to be done at specific times.

There are also things you can do to keep you and your baby as healthy as possible in pregnancy, including:

What if I have a health condition?

If you have a health condition, for example diabetes or asthma, these can affect your pregnancy. Pregnancy can also affect any conditions you have.

Information:

Don't stop taking your medicine until you've talked with your doctor.

Find out more about:

Page last reviewed: 10/10/2018
Next review due: 10/10/2021