As soon as you find out you are pregnant, contact a GP or midwife and they will help you book your first appointment.
Your first midwife appointment (also called the booking appointment) should happen before you're 10 weeks pregnant. This is because you'll be offered some tests that should be done before 10 weeks.
If you're more than 10 weeks pregnant and have not seen a GP or midwife, contact a GP or midwife as soon as possible.
You'll still have your first midwife appointment and start your NHS pregnancy journey.
If you're well, it’s really important you go to all your appointments and scans for the health of you and your baby.
Hospitals and clinics are making sure it's safe for pregnant women to go to appointments.
If you get symptoms of coronavirus, or you’re unwell with something other than coronavirus, speak to your midwife or maternity team. They will advise you about what to do.
Where the first appointment happens
Your first appointment may take place in:
- your home
- a hospital
- a GP surgery
- a Children's Centre
Where the appointment happens depends on the pregnancy services in your area.
How long the appointment lasts
The appointment usually takes around an hour.
What your midwife may ask
Your midwife will ask some questions to help find out what care you need.
They may ask about:
- where you live and who you live with
- 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
- any health issues in your family
- domestic abuse
- female genital mutilation (FGM)
- your job, if you have one
- whether you have people around to help and support you, for example a partner or family members
The first appointment is a chance to tell your midwife if you need help or are worried about anything that might affect your pregnancy. This could include domestic abuse or violence, sexual abuse, or female genital mutilation (FGM).
FGM can cause problems during labour and birth. It's important you tell your midwife or doctor if this has happened to you.
Tests at your first appointment
Your midwife will ask if they can:
- measure your height and weight, and work out your body mass index (BMI)
- measure your blood pressure and test your urine for signs of pre-eclampsia
- take a blood test to see if you have HIV, syphilis or hepatitis B
They'll also offer you a blood test for sickle cell and thalassaemia (blood disorders that can be passed on to the baby) if they think there's a high chance you might have them. They'll work out your chance by asking some questions.
Things your midwife may discuss with you
Your midwife may give you information about:
- how the baby develops during pregnancy
- a healthy pregnancy diet and foods to avoid in pregnancy
- pregnancy exercise and pelvic floor exercises
- your NHS pregnancy (antenatal) care
- antenatal classes
- benefits you can get when you're pregnant, such as free prescriptions and free dental care
- your options for where to have your baby
- the tests and scans you'll be offered in pregnancy
Ask questions if you want to know more or do not understand something.
Your maternity notes
At the end of the first appointment, your midwife will give you your maternity notes in a book or a folder.
These notes are a record of your health, appointments and test results in pregnancy. They also have useful phone numbers, for example your maternity unit or midwife team.
You should carry these notes with you all the time until you have your baby. This is so health care staff can read about your pregnancy health if you need urgent medical care.