What can you expect from pregnancy appointments in the first trimester? We take a closer look
Have you just found out that you're pregnant? If so, you might be wondering about the care and appointments you will receive during pregnancy and the first trimester.
The schedule of care and frequency of appointments you receive will vary from person to person and pregnancy to pregnancy. It depends on factors such as whether you have had children before, have pre-existing medical or pregnancy conditions deeming you 'high-risk' or you are under the care from a specialist team.
First time mothers-to-be have a few more appointments than women that have had babies before simply to provide them with the extra support they require. Pregnancies deemed high risk are also likely to require more appointments depending on the risk factors.
Here are the appointments, check-ups and scans you can expect to receive during the first trimester:
- First contact with your doctor
- Who will see you? Your GP
- When should this take place? As soon as you find out you are pregnant
Why do you have this appointment? It's important to get in touch with your GP as soon as you find out you are pregnant. Make sure they know about any health issues or complications you have, and about any medication you are taking which may need to be looked at. There is a list on the NHS website of inherited conditions you should raise with your doctor.
They will be able to give you information about any lifestyle changes you need to make, discuss if you are taking folic acid and let you know about what happens next. Your GP will also be able to arrange to book you in with the local midwife team and arrange any appointments with specialists that you might require during pregnancy.
There are some tests - such as screening for sickle cell and thalassaemia - that need to take place before you are ten weeks pregnant, so make sure you contact your GP as soon as possible.
- Your booking-in appointment
- Who will you see? Your midwife
- When will it take place? Eight to 12 weeks
Why do you have this appointment? Your booking appointment is the initial meeting with your midwife, where your history (personal, social, mental, medical and obstetric) will be obtained enabling your midwife to set out your schedule care and make appropriate referrals. Checks at this appointment include blood tests, a blood pressure check and urine screen. You can self refer to a hospital of your choice for this appointment or see your GP as soon as you know that you are pregnant and they will refer you to the hospital instead, the hospital will then contact you with a booking date and time.
Your midwife will start your pregnancy notes, the folder of information related to your health during pregnancy that you should take with you to every appointment.
- Dating scan
- Who will see you? Sonographer or scanning department
- When will it take place? Usually at around eight to 14 weeks: dating scan
This is the ultrasound scan to estimate when your baby is due, check the physical development of your baby, and screen for possible abnormalities including Down's syndrome.
Make sure you also read our posts on early signs of pregnancy and five things to do when you find out you are pregnant