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Pregnancy Antenatal Care

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					Pregnancy Antenatal Care - Your Health Care Team and Appointments

During pregnancy, yours and your baby's health is monitored closely, but
who should you see? When do you need to see them? And what are all the
pregnancy tests and scans for? Finding out what antenatal care you should
expect when you're pregnant can be confusing, so here's our guide to help
you through this exciting time.Your Pregnancy Health Care TeamYour team
of health care professionals during pregnancy can be quite varied.
Initially you should see your GP (family doctor) when you think you're
pregnant and they will help you plan your antenatal care.Your doctor
should tell you how to arrange your first appointment with your midwife
(otherwise known as your 'booking in appointment') and from there the
midwife will look after you and your baby throughout your pregnancy and
for the first few weeks after your baby is born.You may also have routine
appointments with an Obstetrician at the beginning and end of your
pregnancy. They specialise in pregnancy and birth and will see you more
regularly if you are carrying multiple births, have any complications
with your pregnancy or are having a planned cesarean.When your baby is a
few months old, your Health Visitor will take over the care of you and
your baby from your midwife. They are likely to visit you to see how
you're getting on and are available for any worries or concerns you may
have as your baby grows.Pregnancy check upsDuring your first pregnancy
you are likely to have up to 10 appointments to attend to. This reduces
to around 7 in subsequent pregnancies.The number of check ups you have
when pregnant depends on many things:
Your risk factors
Any complications
Elected labour options
The number of babies you are carrying
The area in which you live.
All pregnant women will be given their medical records to keep hold of
during pregnancy. Don't forget to bring them to all of your appointments
so that whichever doctor or midwife is treating you will have your notes
to hand.Booking in appointmentThe first meeting with your midwife will
happen when you are around 8-10 weeks pregnant and is referred to as the
'booking in' appointment.This is when your midwife will discuss your
family history (and your partner's), give you advice about your diet,
lifestyle and staying healthy whilst you're pregnant.The midwife will
also carry out some tests such as urine and blood tests, you'll have your
blood pressure checked and some details about your body recorded such as
height, weight and tummy measurement. This is all for your midwife to
monitor the health of you and your baby.Dating 12 week scanMany clinics
offer a scan at between 10 and 14 weeks. This is your pregnancy dating
scan (also called the 12 week scan) and is used to date the pregnancy
more accurately than the estimated due date your midwife may have given
you. The dating scan is also used to check the number of babies you are
carrying.Sometimes you may be able to take a picture of the baby home
with you (often hospitals charge for this) to keep as a momentum of your
12 week scan. For most women this is the first time they will have seen
the baby.The dating scan isn't offered in all parts of the country so if
this isn't available to you in your area, you'll need to wait for the 20-
week anomaly scan which is the next scheduled pregnancy scan.Pregnancy
blood testsYou should have a range of blood tests in your 2nd trimester,
usually between the 14th and 20th week of your pregnancy. These are
routine and are offered to all pregnant women:
Blood group tests identify whether you are Rhesus Negative (RhD). This
can cause complications in later pregnancies, but simple injections
during your first pregnancy will prevent this.
You'll have what's called a full blood count test (repeated again at 28
weeks) which helps to monitor you for deficiency anaemia, a common
complaint during pregnancy.
You'll also be screened for infections and viruses such as Hepatitis B,
syphilis and HIV. This is a precautionary measure and just means they can
look after your baby to prevent you passing the infection on during
The 20 week anomaly scanAround your 20th week of pregnancy, you will have
an anomaly scan. This is a detailed check on your baby using ultrasound
and examines the baby's body, measurements and growth. They'll also check
on your placenta and you may even have the option of finding out the sex
of your baby, although not all places offer this and no hospital
guarantees the sex from the ultrasound.You can usually ask for a picture
from this pregnancy scan, but again expect to pay a charge. Some places
even offer a video.Additional tests and scansOther than the standard
pregnancy scans and tests you may be offered additional checks, either as
optional tests if you are at risk of any complications, or as extra
monitoring of your baby. The important thing to remember is to discuss
any concerns you have with your midwife or doctor, they are there to help
make your pregnancy as healthy, safe and enjoyable as possible.

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