Antenatal care is the care you receive from healthcare professionals during your pregnancy. The purpose of antenatal care is to monitor your health, your baby’s health and support you to make plans which are right for you.
Antenatal care in the community
Most of your antenatal care will be provided by community
midwives at local clinics throughout the area. Many are
situated in Sure
Start Children's Centres where other family services are also
provided. In addition a midwives' antenatal clinic is held on
a regular basis at Southend Hospital for women who live out of the
area. You will be offered a series of appointments with a midwife,
or sometimes an obstetrician (a doctor specialising in pregnancy
It's best to see us as early as possible. Please let
your midwife know if you have a disability that means you have
special requirements for your antenatal appointments or for labour.
If you do not speak English, ask someone to call your midwife to
arrange for interpreter services to be available during your
During each antenatal visit, we will check that your pregnancy
is progressing normally and provide you with useful information
about being pregnant as well as answering any questions you may
An important part of antenatal care is getting information that
will help you to make informed choices about your pregnancy and
birth. We try to take every opportunity to provide you and
your partner or other relevant family members with the information
and support you need, therefore you will also be offered antenatal
classes. Each area runs antenatal classes at varying times,
dates and venues so please feel free to ask.
Frequently asked questions
Q. I am experiencing pregnancy sickness
A. Nausea and vomiting is a symptom of pregnancy that affects
most women. It begins in early pregnancy most commonly between
and usually settles by 12-14 weeks, although in some women it
may last longer. Although often referred to as morning sickness it
can occur at any time of the day and night.
The Royal College of Obstetricians &
Gynaecologists provides information here on
what you can do to help and when to seek advice if the symptoms do
There is also information here from Pregnancy Sickness
support, a UK charity that supports sufferers of both
Hyperemesis Gravidarum and nausea and vomiting in pregnancy.
In addition to the above, your hand held notes contain
information on how to obtain assistance and advice.
Q. When should I feel my baby moving?
A. You will begin to feel some movements between 18 and 22
weeks. Later in pregnancy it is important to be aware of the
baby's activity. A change in the movements could indicate that the
baby is not doing well and needs checking. The Royal college
of Obstetricians & Gynecologists provides information here regarding
your baby's movements.
The Kicks Count website also
has resources and information leaflets that advise you on your
baby's movements in pregnancy.
Q. What foods should I avoid in pregnancy?
A. There are some foods to avoid or take care
with when you're pregnant, because they might make you ill or
harm your baby. Read more
about foods to avoid on the NHS Choices website.
Q. I have been told I am GBS positive. What does
A. Group B streptococcus (GBS) is a common bacterium found in
the vagina and bowel of about 2 in 10 women in the UK. Being
a carrier is not harmful to you and GBS is not sexually
Many babies come into contact with GBS during labour or
birth. The vast majority of babies will suffer no ill
effects. However, if GBS is passed from you to your baby
around the time of birth, there is a small chance your baby will
develop an infection and become seriously ill.
The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists provide
comperhensive information on current UK recommendations for
preventing GBS in newborn babies here