Once your pregnancy has been confirmed, you will need to find out about the type of antenatal care that is available to you and decide where you would like to give birth. Here we look at some of the things you’ll need to consider.
Your choice of antenatal care will depend on whether your pregnancy is considered to be high or low risk and the type of antenatal care that is available in your area.
Consultant-led care.If your pregnancy is in any way complicated (high risk), you will be under the care of a consultant obstetrician. This means you will have your appointments at a hospital clinic and see a midwife and the consultant.
Shared care. Some women have the option of shared care between their GP and midwife. You may also see the obstetric consultant in the local maternity unit at the beginning and end of your pregnancy or if there are complications.
If your pregnancy is considered to be low risk you may be offered a choice of options, but if your pregnancy is high risk your midwife or GP will recommend that you give birth in hospital, as this is the safest place for you and your baby.
Most women still give birth in a hospital obstetric unit. You are looked after by doctors and nurses and help is on hand when needed.
You can find out what birthplace options are available in your area by asking your midwife. It helps if you have a good reason – such as wanting a hospital with a birthing pool. You should consider the distance you’ll have to travel when making your choice.
Most antenatal classes arrange a visit to the labour ward at your local hospital, or the midwife led unit so that you and your birth partner are familiar with the facilities that are available. It’s a good opportunity to ask any questions. You can also see what birthing aids they have (birthing balls and chairs or birthing pools, etc).
Your midwife will book you (and your birth partner) into some free antenatal classes in the last eight weeks before your baby is due – don’t miss them, they are very informative and it’s a great way to meet other couples preparing for their first baby. Refresher groups for second- and third-time mums are also sometimes available.