Your booking appointment: what to expect

Your booking appointment is your first official antenatal (pregnancy) appointment. It provides your midwife with valuable information about you that will be useful in planning your ongoing care. The booking appointment books you in for maternity care with your midwife / hospital / obstetrician. When does the booking appointment take place?

Each hospital, midwife and obstetrician will have its own policy. Typically, private midwives and private obstetricians book women sooner than a public hospital would. It’s not uncommon for a public hospital to not book a woman until say 14 or even 20 weeks of pregnancy, whereas your private midwife or obstetrician will generally like to see you between 4 and 8 weeks of pregnancy.  Ideally, your booking appointment should take place by 10 weeks of pregnancy, so there's time to arrange any screening tests you might wish to have, and to have these explained to you by the person who will be providing your care.

As soon as you find out that you are pregnant, it’s best to start making appointments with midwives and obstetricians to decide who you wold like to care for you in your pregnancy, and then to arrange your booking appointment.

At your booking appointment, your midwife may ask you:

Date of your last period and the length of your cycles. This will help your midwife work out your due date.  Don’t be surprised to find that the estimated due date that your midwife gives you, is different to the one you might have found online: this is because your midwife will be taking into account many more factors than just the date of your past period.  Your midwife or obstetrician may also offer you a dating scan, even if you’re certain of the date of your past period.  Research has shown that when we use a due date generated by an early pregnancy scan, we tend to see fewer inductions for pregnancies that have progressed beyond 41 weeks, compared to if we used menstrual dating.

Previous miscarriages, terminations and births. This is to establish your obstetric history and plan your ongoing care.

Your health history.  This is to help your midwife to identify any health issues that may cause a problem in your pregnancy, or any health issues that your pregnancy may impact.

Your family history. This is because certain screening tests are available for genetic conditions and you may wish to avail yourself of these.

Personal questions.  Your midwife will be interested in you holistically, and this includes emotional and psychological health issues.  Your midwife will ask you about a history of abuse, previous negative medical / hospital experienced, depression, anxiety and so on.  She will also ask if there is any history of domestic violence.

Your occupation: your midwife will ask what type of work you do in order to identify any work factors that may create a risk in your pregnancy.

Where you want to have your baby: private midwives generally offer a choice of birth place, including home and hospital.  It’s perfectly ok to be undecided in the booking appointment.

Tests: your midwife will arrange for you to have some blood tests at the start of your pregnancy to test for rubella, your blood group, hepatitis B, full blood count, a urine test, syphilis and perhaps some other tests if they are needed.  Your midwife will explain each test to you and seek your consent before ordering them.

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