You’ve taken the test, you’ve seen the two lines, and you’re pretty confident that you are in fact pregnant. So now what do you do?! The next step is usually a booking appointment. Read on to find out what happens at a booking appointment and what a booking appointment actually is.
So what is a booking appointment anyway?
First things first, what is a booking appointment?
A booking appointment is basically an appointment with your midwife that allows them to book you onto their system. You may not have heard of it before, or you may have heard it called something else. but don’t worry, you’ll get used to the pregnancy lingo in no time.
You’ll probably be around 4 weeks when you first find out you’re pregnant, so it’s a good idea to book the appointment as soon as you can. It needs to be done around 8 weeks, so you don’t want to miss your spot.
What happens at a booking appointment
The booking appointment, especially if it’s your first baby is probably the most in depth appointment that you’ll have with your midwife. It usually lasts about an hour and it involves some checks on you, and some questions about your medical history.
What happens at a booking appointment can vary slightly from area to area, but the basic checks and questions are pretty much the same.
Here are some things that you can expect from your appointment:
The midwife will want to test your urine, so you’re going to need to pee in a pot! I can tell you from experience that’s it’s best to have a full bladder for this!! It just makes the whole process so much easier.
Before you go to your booking appointment, it’s a good idea to drink a couple of glasses of water. Or failing that, take a bottle of water with you.
Blood test and blood pressure
You will also have a blood test, and your blood pressure checked at your booking appointment. If you don’t like needles, or if you have any problems with blood tests, then be sure you let your midwife know when you get there. The same with your blood pressure – if you know that you get worked up, then let them know so that you won’t have a false reading.
On the day of your appointment, it’s a good idea to drink water regularly throughout the day, especially if your appointment is first thing in the morning. I’ve been told at various blood test appointments, that it’s easier to get blood from you when you’re more hydrated. And we obviously want the process to be as quick and easy as possible don’t we?
Questions for you
It’s worth having a look at the NHS website before your appointment to see what sort of questions you might be asked. They will probably range from questions about who you live with, your family’s medical history and some questions about your partner.
I find it’s always a good idea to write things down in a notebook before you go to your appointment so that you have everything you might need with you.
Things you need to think about are:
- Any operations you’ve had in the past
- Medications that you’re on
- Illnesses or diseases that you’ve had, or that anyone in your family has had
I always find that my mind goes blank when I’m put on the spot. Writing everything down will help you to make sure that you’ve got all of the information correct.
You can also take pill packets of medications you’re on, or previous medical notes if it helps you too.
Questions for the midwife
If you have any questions for the midwife, write these down in your notebook too.
The booking appointment is a great opportunity to get out any worries or concerns that you might have. It’s also a great time to ask about anything you should or shouldn’t be doing now that you’re pregnant, especially if you’re a first time Mama.
It may be useful to write the answers from the midwife in your notebook too so that you don’t forget them when you get home. You’ll be taking in so much information that you’re bound to forget something!
Have a think about things like:
- Excercise – What do they recommend, can you carry on with your current routine etc
- Food/drink – If there’s anything you’re not sure if you’re allowed to have or not
- What appointments you’re going to have and when
- Information on the 12 week scan
- Any concerns you have with your job – How physical it is, if you work with any substances etc
Your maternity folder
When your booking appointment is done, you will be given your maternity folder with all of your notes inside it. You might also have some leaflets and/or coupons in there too.
Your maternity folder will go to every appointment with you, and is especially important if you need to go to the hospital for any reason. It will hold all of your information, and will allow a medical professional to quickly see whats going on in your pregnancy without having to ask you a million questions each time.
One thing worth noting is that some maternity folders are very obviously pregnancy related. Both of mine have been bright colours with the words ‘baby’ and ‘pregnancy’ written on them in big letters!
If you’re likely to be in a busy area, or bump into someone you know after your appointment, take a bag with you to put your maternity folder in.
I once saw a girl carry hers out of the doctors under her arm. She then bumped into a couple she knew and had to swear them to secrecy as she hadn’t told anyone that she was pregnant yet! The last thing you want to do is to bump into your boss before you’ve been able to do a proper announcement.
Things to remember
By now, you should have a good understanding of what will happen at your booking appointment. Of course, every area and every midwife is different, but the general content of the appointment should stay pretty much the same.
As long as you remember these key points, you should be ok:
- Drink lots and try to go in with a full bladder
- Make sure you’ve eaten, as you will be having a blood test
- Make some notes if you need to, and take a notebook in with you
- Take a bag to put your maternity notes folder in if you don’t want anyone to see it
- Make sure you know when your next appointment or scan is, as you may need to book it yourself