When you are pregnant, it is important for you to have regular check-ups with a midwife or doctor. These check-ups are called antenatal care or antenatal visits. Antenatal means before birth. A midwife specialises in caring for women during pregnancy, birth and after the birth.
About antenatal visits
For most women, pregnancy is a straightforward, happy and healthy time.
Having regular antenatal check-ups is an important part of staying healthy and making sure your baby is healthy. Regular checks during your pregnancy can assist in identifying and reducing risks to either you or your baby.
Although you may be feeling well, it is still important to go to all your antenatal check-ups.
Antenatal visits also give you a chance to ask any questions and to talk about any issues that you are unsure about, such as aches and pains, the birth, feeding your baby or any other concerns. Before each visit, it is a good idea to think about the things you want to talk about and then write them down so that you don't forget them.
When should you start having antenatal care?
It is a good idea to go to your own doctor (GP) as soon as you think you may be pregnant. At this visit, you and your GP can discuss what type of care you would like to have, and when and where you should have your next visit. Your GP will also be able to arrange for some tests (blood tests, scans) that can be done before your first antenatal visit.
A normal pregnancy lasts 38–42 weeks.
After your first antenatal visit (booking visit) you may have your next visit around 19-20 weeks, then again at 28 weeks gestation, every 2-4 weeks until later in your pregnancy, when visits become more frequent as you get closer to your due date.
You may need to have antenatal visits more often if there are any problems with you or your baby.
You can also make appointments to see your doctor or midwife at any time during your pregnancy if you are worried about how your pregnancy is progressing.
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