Having regular check-ups is important for you and your baby.
- Your return visits during the pregnancy will be shorter than the first visit and, although you may find some of the visits a chore, it is very important to attend them.
- At each antenatal visit you will have your blood pressure and urine checked.
- Your healthcare professional will look for obvious signs of fluid retention in your hands and legs.
- They will also feel your tummy to check the growth of your baby and to see that it is in the correct position for birth.
- The baby’s heartbeat will be checked and you will be asked about the baby’s movements.
- All these findings will help to manage your pregnancy and can determine the type of birth that is best for you and your baby.
At around 28 weeks
You may have your haemoglobin (iron level) rechecked. If you are rhesus negative, you will already have received information in the post about your blood group and your antibody level will be assessed and you will be given an injection of Anti-D. It may be necessary to do other specialist blood tests at this stage of the pregnancy, for example, if you develop high blood pressure or a body itch. Always talk to your midwife or doctor if you have any worries. They will be able to advise you and keep you informed of your progress.
If your due date arrives and you have not gone into labour, your pregnancy is now termed ‘post mature’ or simply, overdue. Nearly half of all pregnant women are still pregnant at 40 weeks but most will go into labour in the coming week. You will be seen again in the antenatal clinic at 41 weeks if you still haven’t gone into labour.
The doctor will discuss your care plan with you. If by any chance you can’t make it to an antenatal appointment, please telephone your clinic so that another appointment can be scheduled.
Towards the end of the pregnancy, your appointments will be more frequent. In the last few weeks, your GP, midwife or hospital doctor will probably see you on a weekly basis.
Generally, you will start feeling the baby move between 18 – 22 weeks. In the beginning, the movements are very gentle and will become stronger as the baby grows. Towards the end of pregnancy, many people will say the baby will stop moving as it runs out of space. This is not correct. You should be able to feel your baby kick every day right up to the day of birth.
If, in the late stages of pregnancy, you are feeling less than 10 movements during the day (a 12-hour period) you should come into the hospital, as the baby may require further monitoring. Please phone the assessment and emergency unit for advice – 01 817 1700.