Routine Antenatal Care – 37 to 42+ Weeks
If you are booked for NHS midwifery care (i.e. you are classed as ‘low risk’) your schedule of antenatal appointments is likely to follow the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (otherwise known as NICE) guidelines. If you have additional medical needs during pregnancy and require consultant care, you may have extra appointments and care than those described below.
If this is the first time you have been pregnant you are known as a “Primigravida” or “Primip”. Mums who have had babies before are often referred to as “multigravida” or “Multips”. Multips who have had a healthy pregnancy and birth previously tend to require fewer antenatal appointment as you will see from the outline appointment schedule shown below. If at any time during the pregnancy a woman needs referral to a consultant or develops complications with her pregnancy, then extra appointments and treatment may be given.
Another routine antenatal check of blood pressure, urine and abdominal palpation. Do make the most of these appointments to ask your Midwife any last minute questions you have relating to labour, your birth plans or any concerns that you might have.
Welcome to your estimated due date.
If this is not your first baby and you are ‘low risk’, this is another appointment that won’t routinely be offered to you. If this is your first baby, the Midwife will offer you a routine antenatal check and will also discuss with you what your local hospital guidance is regarding routine induction of labour for postmaturity.
The Midwife will also offer you a ‘stretch and sweep’, an internal examination of your cervix which is performed with the intention of stimulating your body into labour without the need for full on induction. You do not have to have one of these if you’d prefer not to – discuss your options with your Midwife.
All mums are offered a check at this time, and a plan of care discussed with you should you not go into spontaneous labour. You will be offered a further ‘stretch and sweep’ and again you do not have to have this if you’d prefer not to.
Different hospitals have different guidance relating to what they recommend for timing of routine induction of labour. If you’d prefer to decline induction of labour, then a further plan of care for additional Midwife appointments / consultant appointments will be discussed with you.
If you decide to go ahead with Induction of labour or, as is most likely, you go into labour spontaneously, this will definitely be your last Midwife appointment! Congratulations on the birth of your baby!
By Lorraine Berry, GentleParenting’s Pregnancy and Birth Specialist.