Today I thought I’d share with you how the very first meeting with my Midwife went and what to expect from your first antenatal appointment in Scotland. After taking six, yes six, pregnancy tests I went to make an appointment with my GP. It was the receptionist that said that because I had taken so many home tests I should make an appointment straight with the midwife. I thought this was a little strange at first. What, no ‘official’ pregnancy test with a qualified doctor to confirm my pregnancy? Apparently it’s basically the same test so they don’t bother if you’ve taken so many at home. This made me a little uneasy to be honest, what if the tests were wrong? I wanted to say this but I my shyness got the better of me and I kept my mouth shut.
Your first antenatal appointment is basically an opportunity to meet your midwife for the very first time and for her to collect valuable background information such as the last day of your period, your families medical history (physical and mental health), your measurements and general health. After a week of constant morning sickness I was completely drained and my mind was a little fuzzy so I’m glad Ross was with me. I definitely recommend taking someone with you. I was given information about the importance of folic acid and vitamin supplements, my up-coming antenatal screening tests and advice regarding the effects of alcohol and smoking on the unborn baby, as well as my changing dietary and nutritional needs.
I was given a pack full of reading material which included:
- leaflets (how to quit smoking, domestic violence helplines, information about whooping cough, a guide to flu jags and car safety tips)
- Questionnaires (concerning how many alcohol units I drink and a larger booklet to return at a later date about my medical history which seemed rather repetitive)
- A Guide to Screening Tests
- From Bump to Breastfeeding DVD
- Ready, Steady, Baby! Guide to Pregnancy (downloadable app also availble)
- Off to a Good Start Guide to Breastfeeding
- A bottle of Healthy Start Vitamins for Women containing folic acid
I found the Guide to Screening Tests and the Ready, Steady, Baby book the most helpful items in the pack. The Ready Steady book is basically my pregnancy bible. At over 200 pages long it breaks down your pregnancy into each week, detailing how your body will change and how your baby is developing. The book contains 4 sections; You & Your Pregnancy, Labour & Birth, You & Your Baby’s First Days Together and Your Growing Baby. It contains information about which foods to avoid, healthcare professionals involved throughout each stage of your pregnancy, pain relief, labour positions – you name it. As I’m the first of my friends to have a baby this book has been a major source of comfort and support when I’ve been worried or confused about changes in my body.
I found the Guide to Screening Tests Guide helpful too as it explains the difference between screening (blood tests, ultrasounds and questionnaires) and diagnostic testing (a follow-on test that is carried out if the screening test show any causes for concern) which I had no clue about. It also explains the different blood tests that are offered during pregnancy and more information about ultrasound scans and what they are looking for.
My midwife went out of her way to make us both feel as relaxed and comfortable as possible, which I really appreciated as my anxiety tends to go into overdrive around doctor’s surgeries and hospitals. The next time I saw my midwife was at 11 weeks just before my first scan. She actually came to my house to pick up questionnaires she had given me and to discuss any worries or question I had.
I am now at Week 20 and I am still constantly flicking the pages of my baby book. It’s also great for Ross as it helps give him an idea of how our baby’s developing and what changes I’m going through. Next time I’ll share with you my experience of my first home visit and ultrasound scan and what to expect. I hope this has put a few expecting and first-time mums minds to rest about the initial process!