The First Antenatal Visit or Booking Visit

Antenatal Advice: Your Booking Visit

Sitting here writing about the first antenatal visit or booking visit brings me right back to the happy memories and nervous excitement I felt having my own booking visits. (9 and 6 years ago…Wowzer, how time flies!!)

Tip number one is to expect your booking visit to take some time, (more than likely 2-3 hours so ‘keep calm and enjoy the wait’). It’s a good idea to bring somebody with you. They will keep you entertained, and they will also feel so privileged to be part of such a special day-this lucky person might be your partner, a relative or a close friend.

There will be some amazing parts of this visit, like the ultrasound scan-seeing your little baby bouncing around in your womb and hearing their little heartbeat for the first time is unbelievably magical. And… there will be some not so amazing parts of this visit… like the routine blood tests for example. However please remember that every test performed at this check-up is to ensure the wellbeing of both you and your baby and to gain the important information needed to ensure that you are given the most appropriate antenatal care plan.

After checking in with clerical staff you will meet a midwife who, together with you, will make an antenatal care plan for the next few months. So let me run through the drill of what to expect:

History Taking

The midwife will ask you questions such as:

  1. The first day of your last period? (This will help the midwife work out when your baby is due)
  2. Are you taking any medication?
  3. Have you ever had an operation or needed a blood transfusion?
  4. Your general heath and the health of those in your (and your partners) immediate family?
  5. Your blood pressure, your height, your weight (be prepared to gain about 12-16kgs during your pregnancy) and your urine will also all be checked.

Top tip: Maybe think about these questions before the big day and write down anything that you feel the midwife needs to know… as sometimes the excitement (or the baby brain) gets the better of us and we can forget something important

Advice Giving

Health issues such as smoking, alcohol, the importance of a healthy diet and the benefits of breastfeeding will all be discussed. (See previous blog post on Healthy Eating).

Top Tip: This is an opportunity for you to seek any additional support you feel might be of benefit to you and your unborn baby, for example: giving up smoking or healthy eating. Please don’t be shy about asking the midwife for support where needed-they are always only too happy help!!

Blood Tests

Some routine blood tests will be taken at your booking visit, these include:

  1. Your iron level
  2. Your blood group
  3. Your immunity to Rubella and Chicken-pox
  4. An STI check (Syphilis, Hep B, Hep C, HIV)
  5. And if you are African or Mediterranean, we will also check for sickle cell or thalassaemia trait

Top Tip: warm hands and warm arms will always make it easier for the midwife to take a blood sample (making this test much more comfortable for you)… so a warm cardigan or a comfy zip-up are a nice way to snuggle up and keep those arms nice and warm while at the same time giving easy access to take the blood sample.

Ultrasound Scan

This is the part of the booking visit that we all look forward to. the ultrasound scan will measure your baby’s size and confirm that your due date is accurate. It will check how many babies you are expecting, and it will show you their little heart (or hearts) beating. This scan also gives your little one an opportunity to do some showing off with a little bit of bouncing and summersaulting. The midwife, obstetrician or sonographer will happily print you off a few scan pictures for you to take home as a little keepsake.

Top Tip: If you are less than 15 weeks pregnant it is best to have a full bladder for the scan to help the sonographer, midwife or obstetrician achieve the best possible view of your baby.

Hope this info helps prepare you for such an exciting day… or might be of help someone you know so please feel free to share.