Routine antenatal care

Your first pregnancy appointment (booking appointment)

At your first pregnancy appointment, which is also known as your ‘booking’ appointment, the midwife will ask you about your obstetric, medical and social history and discuss with you the type of care you want during pregnancy and birth. This appointment is a good opportunity for you to ask any questions and normally takes about an hour. Anything you say to the midwife will be discussed in confidence. Your GP should listen to your heart and lungs as part of your fitness assessment.

The midwife will provide health information to you on a number of topics to help you have a healthy pregnancy and prepare yourself for childbirth. 

Routine blood screening tests

We will ask your permission to take a blood sample for routine screening. This is so that we can check your blood group and also test for a variety of conditions including anaemia, HIV, sickle cell and thalassaemia disease, diabetes, hepatitis B, syphilis and HIV testing.

We strongly advise an antenatal HIV test as part of your routine booking blood tests. Please read the information leaflet about HIV testing.  Your midwife will discuss this in greater detail at your first appointment.

Cervical screening

The Department of Health recommends that all women should have a cervical smear every three years. If your smear is due it is normally recommended to have one very early on in your pregnancy or at your 6–8 week postnatal check-up.

Ultrasound scans

You will be offered two scans, one early in pregnancy between approximately 11–13 weeks and another at 18–21 weeks (anomaly scan) to check the growth and development of your baby. You are welcome to bring someone with you when you come for your scan.  Further scans are only arranged if there is a clinical need, and the doctor or midwife will explain when this occurs.

The Ultrasound Department is based adjacent to the Antenatal Clinic, 1st Floor, Lift Bank B, at the top of the escalators.

Antenatal screening for Down’s Syndrome

Screening for Down’s syndrome is offered to all pregnant women of all ages. The screening tests provide information about the chance of a baby having Down’s syndrome. These tests use blood samples taken from the mother, measurements taken from ultrasound scans, or both, to work out this chance. The test you will be offered depends on how many weeks pregnant you are. This will either be a combined screening test or a quadruple test.

If you do receive a higher risk result from a screening test, your midwife or doctor will give you further information and support. You will be offered a diagnostic test which can tell you definitely whether your baby has Down's syndrome or not.

There are two diagnostic tests available—Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS) and Amniocentesis. CVS is usually performed between 12 and 14 weeks. Amniocentesis is usually carried out from 16 weeks.

Further information us available from the ‘Screening tests for you and your baby’ leaflet. It is important that you read this leaflet and discuss these screening tests with your midwife, GP or obstetrician.

Further appointments (follow-up appointments)

After your first ‘booking’ visit, you will be asked to make future antenatal appointments.  If for any reason you cannot make an appointment or want to change the time, it is very important that you telephone the antenatal clinic or your midwifery team to let them know so that the appointment can be offered to someone else and you can rearrange your appointment.

Schedule of care

When a pregnancy is uncomplicated, there is good evidence to suggest that there is no need for you to see your midwife or GP very often. If everything is normal during your pregnancy, we will see you at the following times.

Weeks PregnantMidwifeGPUltrasound Scan
Pre 13 weeks Booking Visit (blood test)
11–13 Nuchal Translucency Scan
16 Visit (discuss your blood results)
18–22 Visit Anomaly Scan
28 Visit (Blood Tests)
31 Visit
34 Visit (discuss breastfeeding) Visit
36 Visit (discuss your birth plan)
38 Visit
40 Visit
41 Visit (Sweep and Induction date)

Women who have had a baby previously will be seen less frequently. If you have a complication with your pregnancy you will be seen more often.

Your midwives will also see you at their antenatal classes. Routine blood tests will be repeated at 28 weeks to check for anaemia and also for antibodies. Very few women develop antibodies in pregnancy and if you are rhesus (Rh D) negative you will require anti-D at certain times. Your midwife will discuss this with you during your early appointments and plan your care with you.

At 36 weeks you should have thought about your options for labour.  Please make use of the ‘Birth Plan’ section of your notes and discuss your preferences with your midwife at this appointment.

Antenatal Clinic
T: 020 315 6000, option 3

Maternity notes

You will be given these at your booking appointment to keep with you during your pregnancy. You should always take them with you when you go to see your midwife, GP or attend the hospital for any reason. Midwives and doctors will write about each visit you have and ensure your test results are available to you.

Your notes are a confidential record of your care but we are more than happy for you to write in them and to comment on aspects of your pregnancy and treatment. After your baby is born, your notes will be retained by Chelsea and Westminster Hospital. A photocopy of your maternity records can be obtained for a small administrative fee.  If you would like this service, please contact the Medical Records Department by writing to:

Medical Records Officer
Chelsea and Westminster Hospital
369 Fulham Road
London
SW10 9NH

Antenatal classes

Antenatal classes for hospital midwifery teams are generally held in the hospital and take place in the hospital restaurant on the Lower Ground Floor between lift banks C and D. Other classes are held in the community by your community midwife. The schedule and location of antenatal classes will be discussed at your booking appointment.

Each midwifery team runs a set of antenatal classes over a 3–4 week period. We recommend that you attend if this is your first pregnancy. The sessions will give you practical information and support to help you with the birth of your baby. These are not exercise classes. You are welcome to bring your partner or a friend with you to the sessions which last about around 2 hours. Contact 020 3315 7850 to arrange your antenatal classes if you are booked with a hospital midwifery team.

Tours of the Maternity Unit

We hold tours of the Maternity unit to allow you to view the unit and ask any questions you may have regarding the birth of your baby. If you would like to join a tour please call 020 3315 5371 to make a booking.

Contact information

Antenatal Clinic
T:
020 3315 6000, option 3

Antenatal Classes
T:
020 3315 7850

Tours
T:
020 3315 5371

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