Tuesday, 11 October 2011 | By: The One Woman


The first Midwife appointment (8-10 weeks)

At this point I was around 9-10 weeks pregnant, still none the wiser and not feeling remotely pregnant at all. My appointment was set in a bustling child care centre where I sat down in a tiny brown furry chair watching newborns being carried in and out amongst the kiddie art plastered hallways, cries and coos pierced my ears. It was all just so daunting to me and I cant explain why, I felt like I really didn't belong there and I never wanted or thought I'd be there. I heard my name being called though the door next to me and was so glad to see the midwife sat there, it was a relief, I was like…heres someone who can tell me what the hell to do now. 

The first stage was a lot of questions asked by the midwife, this takes well over an hour and a half, as a full breakdown of my medical and family history needed to be assessed and recorded. Please note that all questions and answers are kept strictly confidential so you don't need to worry about what you say to the midwife. 

The following standard questions were asked:
  • What was the date of your last period?- To work out when the baby is due and how far along you are
  • Have you experienced a previous miscarriage, abortion or other births?- So the midwife can assess whether the pregnancy is high risk and refer you for further care 
  • Do you or a family member suffer or have suffered from mental illness?- To refer you to a mental health specialist that can provide treatment & support during and after pregnancy
  • Have you or do you suffer from any form of eating disorder?- To offer you access to a nutritionist and (or) a mental health worker who specialises in eating disorders 
  • What is you family genetic history?- To offer testing during the 12 week scan for any high risk genetic abnormalities that have occurred within your family. I also requested the downs syndrome test which is called a nuchal scan for my first anti natal screening, please note this is completely optional, here is a link to what the test involves www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Downs-syndrome this link explains what down syndrome is and also fully explains the test procedure.
  • Do you drink, smoke or do drugs?- To schedule appointments with a healthcare worker in order to quit
  • Where do you want to give birth?- To check if all the facilities needed are in that area. I.e if you want a water birth 
  • How do you intend to feed your baby?- Breast feeding is better for the baby's health and development, so this encouraged during your midwifery appointments (link to breastfeeding benefits www.nhs.uk/Planners/breastfeeding)
The second stage involved a range of tests:
  • Urine tests- For STI/D screening (sexually transmitted infection/disease). The STI/D test results came through about a week after my appointment via text (all clear). It's very important to take these tests as STI/D's can seriously damage the foetal development and cause major problems for you both.
  • Blood tests- To test Iron levels and check your blood group
  • Blood pressure, weight and height- To test the risk of diabetes and high blood pressure
All of this information is then recorded into a pregnancy assessment record book that I have to take with me to every appointment. This ensures that who ever sees me will know everything and I will also know whats going on.
Before leaving, I made sure that the midwife signed my healthy start application form so that I can send away for my weekly milk, fruit and vegetable vouchers (information www.healthystart.nhs.uk) I was then booked for my first scan and given a pregnancy manual and a folder full of coupons, pamphlets and advice sites recommended by the NHS.

The first Anti natal screening (12 weeks)

This scan is to determine that the baby's heart is beating, it has formed normally and there are no early signs of deformity. Please note that the sex cannot be determined at this point and at 12 weeks, the baby only measures between 5cm & 6cm.  
I had to arrive at the hospital with a full bladder of water to show a clearer picture and eat something sugary to prepare for the blood tests. You can take someone in the room with you and also buy pictures at the end of the scan. All in all the procedure takes around 20 minutes. 

I asked my parents to wait outside because if anything went wrong I just wanted to deal with it alone, yet there was a part of me that wanted someone there. A cold gel was squirted onto my stomach and as the sonographer swept the scan stick across the gloop, I met my baby. This was the first time that it all became so real, I saw the little heart beating away, legs kicking up and down, mouth opening into a yawn and the baby even sucked on its thumb. I felt so amazed that this little person was alive, inside me….moving! I felt instant inexplicable love.
 After going through all of this emotional upset and upheaval in my life, it was all so worth it, just to see that tiny little heart beating.

In my next post I will be exploring education and employment opportunities during pregnancy 

Links (please click the underlined web addresses)
*For Downs Syndrome testing www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Downs-syndrome
*For healthy start vouchers www.healthystart.nhs.uk
*For breastfeeding advice www.nhs.uk/Planners/breastfeeding


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