How often will I have Pregnancy Checks?

In a normal pregnancy, you will have pregnancy checks (antenatal appointments) with your Lead Maternity Carer (LMC) every 4-6 weeks until about 30 weeks of pregnancy. From 30 weeks to 36 weeks, you will meet with your LMC every 2 weeks. From 36 weeks on, you will have weekly appointments until your baby is born. After your baby is born, your LMC or another midwife will visit you in your home 1-3 times a week (as needed) until you are discharged around 4-6 weeks postnatal.

Your Booking Appointment

Your first appointment with your LMC is also referred to as your “booking appointment” and this usually happens around 10-14 weeks of pregnancy. At this appointment your LMC will make a thorough medical evaluation. It is important to be as honest as possible, because your midwife or doctor will use this information to help determine the level of care that you and your baby need.

She will ask you about:

Your obstetric history—whether you have had any previous pregnancies, complications, or miscarriages.

Your medical history—any previous history of surgeries or adverse medical conditions, and any medication you may currently be taking.

Your partner’s medical history—any history of genetic disorders or birth defects experienced by close family members.

Your family medical history—including any complications during pregnancy or birth that were experienced by close family members.

Your menstrual cycle—Your last menstrual period (LMP) will help determine the due date of your baby. It is helpful to come with this information handy. It is also advisable to let your LMC know whether you were using contraception when you fell pregnant.

Your lifestyle—your LMC will want to know whether you or your partner currently smoke or drink alcohol. Both are associated with birth defects and complications during pregnancy so your LMC will be able to guide you toward resources and support services to help in stopping those habits. She will probably also ask about your current diet, how much you exercise and how much you sleep a night. She may also ask about family violence, your employment situation, or depression. Although these questions are very personal, it is important to answer openly and honestly. Your LMC is there to help and support you and to be an advocate for your baby.

After the initial consultation, your midwife or doctor will perform a physical exam. She will measure your height and weight, take your blood pressure, and may perform measurements of your pregnant belly (fundus) to help determine how far along you are in pregnancy. She may also examine your breasts for lumps, listen to your lungs and heart and examine your legs for varicose veins.

Your LMC will also order blood tests and you will need to arrange to have blood taken. These are to test for things like anaemia, blood type, and rhesus factor. This will also screen for diseases like HIV, syphilis, hepatitis B, and rubella, which can usually be prevented from transmitting to your baby with early intervention.

Appointments up to 30 weeks

In the appointments following your initial visit, your LMC will likely:

  • Take your weight
  • Measure your blood pressure and screen for pre-eclampsia
  • Ask for a sample of urine to test for protein and sugar
  • Measure your fundus
  • Listen to the baby’s heartbeat (12 weeks and later)
  • Answer any questions or concerns you have had since the last visit
  • Between 18-20 weeks, your doctor or midwife may request an ultrasound scan of your baby

Appointments 30-36 weeks

Your LMC will continue to take your weight, blood pressure, and urine samples. If any irregularities in those screenings are present, you may be required to undergo additional glucose testing (to test for gestational diabetes). Your LMC will also determine the size and position of your baby inside the womb (through external palpation) as your baby prepares to get into the common head-down position of birth.

Appointments 36 weeks +

Nearing the final weeks of your pregnancy, your LMC may perform pelvic exams to check for softening and dilation of your cervix. She will continue to monitor your weight, blood pressure, and fetal growth and position. She will discuss your birth plan in more detail with you, and may suggest you to get your hospital bag ready!

Suggested Essential Gear List for Baby

Postnatal Appointments

A few hours after birth, your baby will have his first postnatal check, where he will be weighed and measured, and have his heart, lungs, eyes, ears, hips, and nerve responses checked. A midwife or lactation consultant will help you begin breastfeeding your baby soon after birth. You may stay in the hospital as little as a few hours, or as long as several days depending on your needs and the advice of your LMC. A midwife will visit you frequently at home for the first 4-6 weeks after your birth. She will offer help and support with the following:

  • Answering any questions you have about meeting the needs of your new baby
  • Finding out how you are feeling and check for depression
  • Breastfeeding and care of sore nipples
  • Checking how you are healing and the episiotomy site (if applicable)
  • Determining if there are any lingering health concerns, post delivery
  • Managing healthy eating, mild recovery exercises, and adequate sleep