For Mums: When you first learn that you’re pregnant, get in touch with a midwife or GP as soon as possible.
This first appointment is a chance to make sure your maternity healthcare takes into account any special medical needs or vulnerable circumstances and will help you to make informed choices.
At this first visit, you will be given information about keeping healthy, such as nutrition, dietary supplements, hygiene, lifestyle factors (such as smoking, drug use and alcohol) and antenatal screening tests.
You will probably have a lot of questions and it often helps to write down what you want to ask in advance. They should give you information in writing or another form that you can easily understand
The midwife will enter your details in a record book and add to them at each visit, which you should bring to all your antenatal appointments and take with you wherever you go in case you need medical attention. Always ask about anything in the book you don’t understand.
Later in your pregnancy, you should be given information about your birth plan, preparing for labour and birth, how to tell if you’re in labour and induction if your baby is overdue. Your midwife will also start to give advice about after the birth, such as postnatal depression and feeding your baby, healthcare and looking after yourself and your baby.
For Dads: Although maternity care is obviously focused on the mother, dads still have an important role to play and government has introduced measures to make sure you’re fully involved. That means the midwife talking to you personally, offering you specific information, taking you into consideration when drawing up a pregnancy plan, addressing your concerns and inviting you to antenatal classes. A dad who is closely involved so he knows how to provide effective support is better for the health of mother and baby. You should also be offered advice about your lifestyle and health, access to help with any personal or substance-related problems and any local services that you may benefit from.
- Need to find and choose a local GP? Click here to see your options and search services in your area
- NHS guide to the antenatal healthcare team
- NHS guide to antenatal care
- NHS guide to a healthy pregnancy and antenatal care
- Netmums’ advice on the early stages of pregnancy
- NCT guide to pregnancy and antenatal health
- NCT information on midwives and healthcare professionals
- For young mums, pregnancy and parenting support