Simple steps to a healthy and happy pregnancy.
Maintaining a healthy, balanced diet.
Common concerns in pregnancy.
Every mum-to-be wants to know that she and her unborn baby are doing well. Antenatal care is designed to provide health support and advice throughout your pregnancy, as well as testing for any potential problems.
Once you've had a positive pregnancy test and been “booked in” with your local midwife or GP, you will be offered regular antenatal appointments to make sure you and your baby are healthy. For a first baby, expect to have up to 10 standard appointments over the course of your pregnancy, which usually take place at your GP’s surgery or local healthcare centre. If there are any concerns during your pregnancy you will be offered additional checks and consultations.
During the course of your antenatal care you will receive the following:
Urine tests - you'll be asked to provide a urine sample at every antenatal appointment to check for infections and pre-eclampsia, which affects 10% of pregnancies.
Blood Pressure tests - during the second trimester your blood pressure may be lower than normal; a rise in blood pressure later in pregnancy could be a sign of pre-eclampsia.
Blood tests – blood tests are normal during pregnancy, and additional tests may be offered if you are at risk of a particular infection or inherited condition. Standard blood tests check the following:
In addition to your antenatal appointments, most NHS hospitals offer pregnant women at least two ultrasound scans:
Down's syndrome is caused by an abnormal number of chromosomes and affects around one in every 1,000 babies. Although the risk increases with a woman’s age, anyone can have a baby with Down’s syndrome and screening for this, and other genetic disorders, is offered to all pregnant women.
Screening tests can’t tell if your baby definitely has Down’s syndrome but these two tests will tell you how likely it is:
If you are at an increased risk you will be offered counselling and then diagnostic tests:
For more information on pregnancy concerns, take a look at the following sites: