Starting your pregnancy

Your antenatal care should start as soon as you know that you are pregnant. Ideally you need to have made contact with a midwife as soon as possible and ideally before week 10 of your pregnancy. If for any reason you have not managed to do this it is important that you contact the maternity services as soon as possible to ensure you have an early health and well-being assessment and offer of antenatal screening, which need to happen at particular points of your pregnancy (see below).

Antenatal and newborn screening timeline (PDF)

At UCLH, we encourage self-referral to our antenatal service, but you also have the choice to go via your GP who will make the referral for you. You can self-refer by completing our online self-referral form.

Your midwife will make an appointment to see you at the start of your pregnancy. This is for your initial health and well-being assessment and is known as the ‘booking’ appointment. At this appointment you will be asked about your pregnancy and birth choices.

Your midwife will ask you about your medical and social history and previous pregnancy history. This is so we can build up a picture of you and your pregnancy to ensure you are given the support you need. We want to ensure that any risks are spotted early and a plan for the management of your pregnancy and birth is put in place for you. You will also be offered information on the variety of antenatal screening tests available to you.

This first visit will last approximately 1.5 - 2 hours and should allow you plenty of time to ask questions and discuss ideas about your baby’s birth. If you are worried about the possibility of miscarriage or any other problems, do not hesitate to share your concerns.

If you are at low risk of complications, you will be mainly cared for by your midwife and you will have a wide choice of where to go for your pregnancy care. Most women receive their care locally from a midwife either at a health clinic, a Children’s Centre, GP’s surgery or at home.

If you have complications that might put you or your baby at risk for your pregnancy, your main carer will be an obstetrician in collaboration with your midwife. You may need to receive your pregnancy care at our hospital clinic. Your doctor and midwife will advise if this is required and talk to you about the appointments.