The University of Nottingham Health Service
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Maternity careMaternity services

Planning a pregnancy

If you are planning to have a baby then please consider the following:

  • Eat a healthy balanced diet with at least five portions of fresh fruit and vegetables per day
  • Quit smoking if you smoke
  • Avoid alcohol
  • Start a folic acid supplement of 400mcg/day available at all pharmacies ─ this tablet needs to be continued until you are 12 weeks pregnant and is to help the normal development of your baby’s brain and spinal cord
  • Visit your GP. They can check your general health and make sure you are not taking any medication that could harm an unborn child. They will also check that you are immune to Rubella and can arrange vaccination prior to you becoming pregnant if you are found to be susceptible. 

Antenatal care

Our midwives have special training in the care of pregnant women and their newborn babies. They will provide antenatal care throughout pregnancy until around 10 days after the birth of your baby. Clinics are held each week at the Health Centre on Wednesdays.

If you think you may be pregnant please arrange to see a GP for a routine appointment. The Doctor will confirm the pregnancy and discuss the next step in your care. Usually this will mean asking you to arrange a booking appointment with the midwife. This will take around an hour and will involve a detailed health review and an explanation of your antenatal care including what future appointments will be required.

For problem-free pregnancies most of your antenatal care will be provided at the Health Centre by the midwife and your GP.

As a guide we suggest you are seen every four weeks by either the GP or the midwife until you are around 36 weeks (eight months) pregnant and every two weeks until 40 weeks ie when the pregnancy is at term.

Ultrasound scans

You will be offered two ultrasound scans of your baby at the hospital. The first is at around 14 weeks and is to accurately date the pregnancy. The second is at 21 weeks and is a longer, detailed scan, which looks at the development of your baby very closely. Your midwife will go through these tests carefully with you to ensure you understand why they are being done.


For some pregnancies you will need to see the obstetricians at the hospital for some of your care, for example if you:

  • have had a problem in a previous pregnancy
  • have a medical condition such as Diabetes Mellitus

Your GP or midwife will assess whether you need to see an obstetrician and will arrange this for you.