Your antenatal appointments

You'll have a number of antenatal appointments during your pregnancy, and you'll see a midwife or sometimes an obstetrician (doctor specialising in pregnancy).

They'll check the health of you and your baby, give you useful information and answer any questions.

Pregnant employees have the right to paid time off for antenatal care.

This page lists the appointments you'll be offered and when you should have them.

If you're pregnant with your first baby, you'll have more appointments than those already with children.

First contact with midwife or doctor

Contact a GP or midwife as soon as possible after you find out that you're pregnant.

They should give you information about:

You should be told about the risks, benefits and limits of these tests.

Screening for sickle cell disease and thalassaemia should be offered before 10 weeks.

This is so you can find out about all your options and make an informed decision if your baby has a chance of inheriting these conditions.

It's important to tell your midwife or doctor if: 

8 to 12 weeks: booking appointment

It's best to see your midwife or doctor as early as possible to get the information you need to have a healthy pregnancy.

Some tests, such as screening for sickle cell and thalassaemia, should be done before you're 10 weeks pregnant.

Your midwife or doctor should give you information about: 

Your midwife or doctor should:

This appointment is an opportunity to tell your midwife or doctor if you're in a vulnerable situation or if you need extra support.

This could be because of domestic abuse or violence, sexual abuse or female genital mutilation (FGM).

FGM can cause problems during labour and childbirth, which can be life threatening for you and your baby.

It's important you tell your midwife or doctor if this has happened to you.

8 to 14 weeks: dating scan

This is the ultrasound scan to estimate when your baby is due, check the physical development of your baby, and screen for possible conditions, including Down's syndrome.

16 weeks pregnant

Your midwife or doctor will give you information about the ultrasound scan you'll be offered at 18 to 20 weeks.

They'll also help with any concerns or questions you have.

Your midwife or doctor should: 

18 to 20 weeks

You'll be offered an ultrasound scan to check the physical development of your baby. This is also known as the 20-week scan.

Screening for HIV, syphilis and hepatitis B will be offered again by a specialist midwife if you opted not to have it earlier in pregnancy.

These tests are recommended as they greatly reduce the risk of passing infection from you to your baby.

From 16 weeks, you'll be offered the whooping cough vaccine. The best time to have this vaccine is after your scan, up to 32 weeks. 

But if for any reason you miss the vaccine, you can still have it up until you go into labour.

25 weeks pregnant

You'll have an appointment at 25 weeks if this is your first baby.

Your midwife or doctor should:

28 weeks

Your midwife or doctor should: 

31 weeks

You'll have an appointment at 31 weeks if this is your first baby.

Your midwife or doctor should:

34 weeks

Your midwife or doctor should give you information about preparing for labour and birth, including how to recognise active labour, ways of coping with pain in labour, and your birth plan.

Your midwife or doctor should: 

Your midwife or doctor should give you information about caesarean section. This discussion may take place at the 34 week appointment, or at another time during your pregnancy.

They'll discuss with you the reasons why a caesarean might be offered, what the procedure involves, the risks and benefits, and the implications for future pregnancies and births.

36 weeks

Your midwife or doctor should give you information about:

Your midwife or doctor will also:

38 weeks

Your midwife or doctor will discuss the options and choices about what happens if your pregnancy lasts longer than 41 weeks.

Your midwife or doctor should: 

40 weeks

You'll have an appointment at 40 weeks if this is your first baby.

Your midwife or doctor should give you more information about what happens if your pregnancy lasts longer than 41 weeks.

Your midwife or doctor should:

41 weeks

Your midwife or doctor should:

42 weeks

If you have not had your baby by 42 weeks and have chosen not to have an induction, you should be offered increased monitoring of the baby.

Time off for antenatal appointments

Find out more about rights to time off for antenatal appointments at the GOV.UK page on working when pregnant: your rights.