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The Pregnancy Journey – Part 1 – The First Steps  

New Born Baby CareCongratulations!! You’ve just found out that you’re pregnant! Whether you have been planning this pregnancy for months or it’s a surprise I’m sure that there are lots of different questions running through your mind. As its still early days you may want to keep your pregnancy a secret from friends and family; but there are so many questions you want to ask! The first 12-14 weeks (1st trimester) of your pregnancy passes by so quickly. But it’s still a time that many women become anxious regarding different aspects of their pregnancy. So I have preformed a search within the Rollercoaster forums; to see what the most are frequently asked questions during the first trimester for women. I hope that as you read these monthly ezine articles they will help you gain an understanding of your body, how it changes during pregnancy and allay any anxieties you may have. 

By now many of you have preformed a pregnancy test and gotten a positive result! But what now?  You may choose to visit their GP so you can confirm your pregnancy and write a letter to the Maternity Hospital that you will be attending for yourr pregnancy. A lot of women assume that this visit to the GP is covered under the Mother & Child Scheme (M&CS) and they won’t have to pay. However you will have to pay your GP for this visit. The M&CS entitles all women who are pregnant, to free antenatal care and postnatal care if they choose it. If you choose semi-private or private care, this is not covered and you will have to pay. 

Many women make the mistake of not making an early appointment for their 1st visit to the hospital – believe it or not you should ring your maternity hospital and book in as soon as possible! Due to the increasing birth rate many women don’t get a scheduled 1st visit until they are 14-16 weeks pregnant. The first booking appointment should be done ideally at about 10 weeks (NICE Guidelines 2008). At your first appointment you should expect to answer a series of questions without your partner present ( to ensure complete privacy) regarding your health, any medical conditions/surgeries, smoking /alcohol consumption/drug misuse/ previous pregnancies. This ‘interview’ can take 30-40 minutes to complete so make sure your partner has sufficient reading material with him and knows where the coffee shop is! At this stage you will also be expected to have blood tests taken. These blood tests are routine and test for ; your blood type/group, HIV, Syphilis, Chlamydia, Your level of immunity to rubella( german measles) and Varicella (chicken pox). The reason you are tested routinely for these diseases and your level of immunity to them is because you may need some form of treatment to protect your baby and pregnancy. Some hospitals also do a dating scan at this stage. This may be done in the scanning department or in the out-patient dept. Some maternity hospitals then ask you to return in 2-3 weeks after this (when all your blood tests are back) to see the doctor on your first visit. In other hospitals you may see the doctor after your blood tests and interview with the midwife. Generally you should expect approx 10 visits between the GP/Hospital during your 1st pregnancy and fewer visits on your 2nd and subsequent pregnancies. 

Often, women are disappointed after their 1st visit. They feel that the midwife or the doctor weren’t as excited as they are about their pregnancy; or maybe they feel the whole visit was a rush and they forgot to ask all the questions they’ve had.  You may feel that it’s a long time to wait for a scan to confirm your pregnancy and when you do have a scan you may find i difficult to see their baby on the monitor.  If you wish, you can schedule private scans, this can be arranged through the hospital or some of the private scanning clinics. You will have to pay for a private scan and prices will vary so check in advance with the scanning facility you choose. There is no medical reason to have an early scan, but you may find it a reassuring way to confirm your pregnancy and enjoy seeing your little baby at this stage.

Next article I’ll discuss early signs and symptoms of pregnancy and other frequently asked questions on bowels, bleeding and cramps.  Click Here for Part 2

Gráinne Grundy- Midwife
Help Me 2 Parent / Mama & Me