Antenatal care

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 and birth). 

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 appointment.  

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 have. 

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 4th and 7th week 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 not settle.

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 this mean?

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 transmitted.

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