Your booking appointment
Most women have their ‘booking appointment’ with a midwife between week eight and week 12 of their pregnancy.
Covid-19 guidance for pregnant women and information on what is happening in their regional unit can be found on NI Maternity
About your booking appointment
The appointment can take a couple of hours and will usually take place in the community, though it may be necessary for you to go to hospital for your scan or if you need to see a doctor.
At this appointment you will be given a scan to confirm that you are pregnant and when you are due. You will also be given information about:
- how the baby develops during pregnancy
- nutrition and diet
- exercise and pelvic floor exercises
- antenatal screening tests
- your antenatal care, including group care and education
- vaccines to protect you and your baby, including flu and whooping cough
- antenatal education
- your options for where to have your baby
- your green maternity hand held record (MHHR) should be given to you at this visit
Questions at the booking appointment
At your booking appointment you will be asked a lot of questions to build up a picture of you and your pregnancy. This is to make sure you are given the right care and support during your pregnancy and to make sure any risks are spotted early.
You may be asked about:
- your health and any health issues in your family, including inherited disorders
- previous illnesses or operations
- details of previous pregnancies or miscarriages
- information about you and the baby’s father – this is to find out if your baby is at risk from certain inherited conditions, or if there is a history of multiple pregnancies
- how you are feeling and if you are depressed
By the end of your booking appointment, you should understand the plan of care for your pregnancy and have received your hand held notes, which you should keep with you at all times.
Your booking appointment is also an opportunity for you to tell your midwife or doctor if you are in a vulnerable situation or if you need extra support. This could be because of issues including domestic violence, sexual abuse or female genital mutilation.
You should also let your midwife know if you have a disability that means you will have special requirements for your antenatal appointments or labour. If you don’t speak English as your first language and feel that you need an interpreter, let your midwife know and they arrangements can be made.
Decisions about your care during pregnancy
At your booking appointment, the type of care you will receive during your pregnancy will be decided. Your care can be:
- mostly provided in the community, close to where you live, if all is well with your pregnancy
- mostly provided at a maternity hospital if there are complications in your pregnancy or if you have had complications in a previous pregnancy
Sometimes the type of care you need to receive might change during the course of your pregnancy. For example, if your obstetrician is happy for you to receive care in the community or if your midwife discovers a problem which needs to be seen by a doctor.