Antenatal care

Pregnancy is measured in weeks so we have referred to your pregnancy in weeks (and days where appropriate).

About antenatal care

Antenatal care is the care that you receive from healthcare professionals during your pregnancy. It includes information on services that are available and support to help you make choices. Your antenatal services should be readily and easily accessible and sensitive to your needs.

During your pregnancy you should be offered a series of antenatal appointments to check on your health and the health of your baby. During these appointments you should be given information and clear explanations about your care. You should be given the opportunity to discuss any issues and to ask questions. You should also be offered antenatal classes, including breastfeeding workshops.

Information you should expect

Your midwife or doctor should give you information in writing or some other form that you can easily use and understand. If you have a physical, learning or sensory disability, or if you do not speak or read English, your midwife or doctor should provide you with information in an appropriate format.

Your midwife or doctor should support you by respecting your views and decisions and by making sure you have access to antenatal classes, workshops and information that is based on the best research evidence available.

Questions to ask your healthcare team

  • Can I check that I've understood what you've said?

  • Can you explain it again? I still don't understand.

  • Is there a leaflet that I can take home?

While you are pregnant you should normally see a small number of healthcare professionals, led by your midwife and/or doctor, on a regular basis. They should be people with whom you feel comfortable. You should be given information about where you will be seen and who will be looking after you.

Your maternity notes should record the care you receive. You should be asked to keep your maternity notes at home with you and to bring them along to all your antenatal appointments.