Pregnancy or Antenatal
Pregnancy can be daunting time for some incumbent mothers, especially if it is their first pregnancy.
We have developed some advice to assist you in the transition to motherhood:
1. Remember this is a natural process and most pregnancies are without complications.
2. You can do an over the counter pregnancy test to confirm your pregnancy. We do not do blood testing to confirm that someone is pregnant. If your urine strip shows an unclear result, it is likely that it is too early, please leave up to a week and repeat the test.
3. You do not need to see the GP to be referred to a midwife/hospital. All the local hospitals provide online regstration for their antenatal clinics . Think about which hospital you would like to have your care. Most women tend to go to either the local Royal Free or University College London Hospitals, some prefer going St Mary’s or the Whittington Hospital and few go even farther afield to Chelsea and Westminster or Queen Charlotte’s. The latter three are accessible only via self-referral.
If you have medical conditions that may impact on your pregnancy, such as Diabetes, Epilepsy, an underactive Thyroid gland (Hypothyroidism) then do mention these on your registration for antenatal services as you will be seen at a specialist clinic. You can also contact us if you need help, are not sure about anything or find it difficult to navigate the online system.
- Royal Free Hospital
- St Mary’s Hospital
- Whittington Hospital
- University College London Hospital Self Referral Form
Some like the Royal Free Hospital operate a tour of their labour ward
All hospitals operate classes, known as antenatal classes which cover various aspects of pregnancy and labour. We encourage all newly incumbent parents to attend.
we advise you to register for antenatal services once you know you are at 6 weeks after the first day of your last menstruation, to allow for plenty of time for your first appointment, which should ideally occur from weeks 8-11. This is your booking appointment where the midwife will talk you through the process and what to expect as well as some blood tests (see the schedule below).
You will receive your first scan a few weeks after your booking appointment. This is mainly a dating scan to check how far the pregnancy has progressed. The second scan takes place around week 18 and is a more detailed check.
You will be monitored by the midwives and if necessary a consultant and they will assist you with issues relating to your pregnancy.You can access services such as physiotherapy and psychology through the antenatal clinic as well as by direct self referral -see the links on our self referral pages.
Towards the middle to end of your pregnancy you may be offered some of the antenatal appointments with your GP. This is different to the Royal Free Midwives who also do a weekly clinic at our surgery. We do not encourage you have your antenatal care with anyone other than your antenatal clinic (midwife/hospital). The reason for this is that we will not have your full history or all your results, but more importantly we do not have the same experience and skill set as they do nor the rapid direct access to additional services, if required.
For all non routine pregnacy queries or medical problems that come up during your pregnancy please do speak to one of our clinicians.
We recommend that all women take folic acid and vitamin D supplements 3 months prior to trying to conceive, which is available in pre-pregnancy multivitamins.
Once you become pregnant, we encourage all women to switch to the slightly different pregnancy multivitamins.
There is a healthy start programme available in many supermarkets and various pharmacies and community centres intended for those in receipt of certain benefits so they can obtainthese multivitamins for free from week 10. Please refer to the following link to see if you qualify and you can also search via your post code to find where your local centre is
The don'ts during pregnancy:
Avoid smoking, drinking and non prescribed drugs prior and during pregnancy.
- For the first 12 weeks (called first trimester) avoid prolonged exposure to heat ie sauna’s/steam rooms. You can continue exercising, just do not push yourself too hard!
- Do not consume more than 2 portions of fish a week – this is due to mercury content in seawater.
- Avoid any uncooked meats or unpasteurised cheeses ie mouldy cheeses.
- Limit your daily caffeine intake to less than 200mg ie no more than 2 cups of tea/coffee or use decaffeinated drinks. Remember chocolate and fizzy drinks can also contain caffeine.
- Take care handling cats (especially cat litter) and undomesticated animals – due to the risk of toxoplasmosis.
- If you are experiencing morning sickness try to have smaller meals that are less fatty, not late at night, with less spice. Ginger and peppermint can help.
- Please try to avoid travelling to any Zika or Malaria regions-check the advice posted on the foreign office website.
- Avoid contact with children with infectious rashes such as chickenpox and see a doctor straightway if you think you may have developed chickenpox.
When to see a GP
We are here to help and support you during your pregnancy, so if you have any concerns or issues you wish to discuss then we invite you to book an appointment to see us.
If you are experiencing any problems such as infections, reflux, indigestion, vomiting more than a few times a day then please book to see a doctor.
It is normal to sometimes experience light spotting and mild period cramping in the first 10 weeks. We encourage women with slight bleeding or non-severe abdominal pain to see a doctor. If this on the weekday you can book an urgent appointment to see us and we can arrange for a scan at the hospital usually by the next day. If this occurs on the weekend then please go to your local emergency department and they will book this scan for you.
When to see the hospital
If you experience any severe abdominal pains, cramping or bleeding then please immediately go to your hospital/emergency department. If you have not felt any movements (after movements become established and noticeable) for more than 24 hours please contact a doctor or your antenatal clinic directly as soon as possible.
Similarly if you have any other severe symptoms including chest pain, shortness of breath, severe vomiting, feeling extremely faint or fainting, extreme headaches or sudden severe weakness in a limb, or problems with speech or swallowing or visual loss please contact 999.
Please be aware that you are at increased risks of developing clots, so please take additional precautions on long haul flights (keep moving, wear stockings, drink plenty of water). If you develop unexplained sudden calf pain in one leg which is persistent ie not short lived for few minutes or hours, with or without leg swelling please see a doctor urgently for a scan of your leg.
What to expect
Do read Emma’s diaries which gives a week by week account of what to expect and has been approved by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.
The following are other useful links/sites include:
It is normal for your body to go through some substantial changes during pregnancy to adapt to your developing baby. But if you are concerned please speak to your midwife or book to see a doctor.
Above all else enjoy your pregnancy. Remember that we are here to help!
We wish you all the best
in for your pregnancy and birth!
The following is the routine antenatal schedule for uncomplicated pregnancies
- Clinics & Services
- Test Results
- Blood Taking Services
- Cryotherapy & Verrucas
- e-Referral Service
- Electronic Prescription Service
- Flu Vaccination
- Pregnancy or Antenatal
- Private Fees
- Screening Services
- Summary Care Record
- Travel Vaccination
- Urgent Walk-In Wound Care Services
- Unplanned / Termination of Pregnancy
- Ear Wax Removal
- Palliative Care
- Sexual Health
- Mental Health & Wellbeing