Accessing Antenatal Care
When you find out that you are pregnant, it’s important to contact an NHS professional as soon as possible.
You can book an appointment directly with a midwife. Your GP surgery will be able to put you in touch with your nearest midwife service.
If you have special health needs, your midwife, GP or other doctors may take shared responsibility for your maternity care.
Your first or second meeting with your midwife is the booking appointment. This will last for up to two hours and could take place at a hospital, in a clinic or a Children’s Centre, in a GP surgery or at home. Your midwife will ask you many questions about your health, the health of your family and your preferences in order to develop your own plan of care. Your midwife will order a number of blood tests and scans, 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 for any other help or social care support you may have or need – for example, support from social workers or family liaison officers.
Finding Out That You Are Pregnant
When you find out that you are pregnant, you may feel happy and excited or even shocked, confused and upset. Everybody is different and you should not worry if you are not feeling as happy as you might have expected. Even if you have been trying to get pregnant, your feelings may take you by surprise.
Some of these feelings may be caused by changes in your hormone levels, which can make you feel more emotional.
Even if you feel anxious and uncertain now, your feelings may change. Talk to your midwife, GP or family planning clinic, who will try to help you to adjust or will give you advice if you don’t want to continue with your pregnancy.
Men may also have mixed feelings when they find out that their partner is pregnant. They may find it hard to talk about these feelings because they don’t want to upset their partner. Both partners should encourage each other to talk about their feelings and any worries or concerns that they have at this stage.
However you are feeling, you should contact an NHS professional (see Chapter 4) so that you can start to receive antenatal care. This is the care that you will receive leading up to the birth of your baby.
You may want to tell your family and friends immediately or wait a while until you have sorted out how you feel. Many women wait until they have had their first scan before they tell people that they are pregnant.
Members of your family/extended family may have mixed feelings or react in unexpected ways to your news. You may wish to discuss this with your midwife.