Congratulations! Finding out that you are pregnant is life changing. However, many people immediately start to worry. How do you know what to do when you get a positive pregnancy test? How do you know what checks and tests you need? Who can you ask?
You do not need to see your GP. You do not need them to “confirm” your pregnancy – the test has done that! Remember that sadly not every fertilised egg will continue to become an established pregnancy. One of the downsides of very sensitive pregnancy tests is that you may briefly get a positive test but the process of development doesn’t continue and your period starts. This is what we term a chemical pregnancy. I suggest doing a pregnancy test at around 6 weeks (counting from the start of your last period), even if you have already done one.
Here is a quick summary of what to do when you get a positive pregnancy test and the choices you have:
Contact a private midwife. If you are normally fit & well and your pregnancy proceeds normally, a UK qualified midwife is the right professional to provide your care. We are the most appropriately qualified professionals to deal with the normal processes of pregnancy, labour and birth. If there are unusual issues, or complications arise, it can be appropriate to involve doctors in your care.
Choosing private midwifery care means that you can select the individual midwife. For me this is fundamental to good care. We need to feel comfortable together. You need to feel that you can trust me and rely on me. If it turns out that I am not “the one” for you, I can often introduce you to a colleague. Positive relationships are crucial. Give me a call, we can have a chat to see if I am the right midwife for you.
Having a private midwife isn’t just for those who want to birth at home. I am happy to provide continuity of care through your pregnancy (and afterwards) and to liaise with your local NHS or private maternity unit to enable you to birth in hospital (vaginal birth or c/section). If you are eligible for NHS care, that doesn’t change if you opt to have your antenatal care privately. You can access scans and blood tests through the NHS whilst having private midwifery care – we always discuss what is available and what feels right for you.
Many of my clients have particular issues which may affect their experience of pregnancy. I strive to provide a very personalised service and have broad experience with issues relating to trauma, disability, and non-traditional families.
After an initial long consultation to make sure that I know all the important information about you, I make a plan for future appointments. On average I see people twice as often as the NHS schedule suggests. Each appointment lasts around 1.5-2 hours, so we have plenty of time to discuss things. Appointments take place in your home, at a time that works for you and anyone else you choose to involve.
Registering for NHS care. In Sussex and Surrey, what to do when you get a positive pregnancy test is to complete an on-line referral form, accessed through the hospital website. This triggers a contact from a midwife and an appointment for a scan. Although continuity of midwifery care has been a goal in the NHS for several years, in reality staffing levels make true continuity almost impossible. You will usually have little choice about when & where your appointments take place. You have a legal right to take time off from work for pregnancy care, but timing and location of appointments can present practical problems. At present Covid19 restrictions in hospitals and GP surgeries may mean that you are asked to attend appointments alone.
You can use this calculator to estimate when baby is likely to be born.
If you are not already taking folic acid supplements, I suggest you start immediately. Folic acid is particularly important in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. For most people a dose of 400mcg is appropriate, but if you have a raised BMI, or have diabetes or coeliac disease , or you take medication for epilepsy, a higher dose may be prescribed by your GP. More information about diet and supplements is available here.
Many people want early scans in pregnancy. Whilst this can be helpful, please do consider careful what you expect from a scan and where you have it done. This is an issue I discuss with all my clients. There is very little regulation about who can offer scans. There are excellent clinics with highly trained and experienced sonographers, but others are operated by people with minimal training who lack the ability to identify significant issues or knowledge about what to do in such cases. Until you are around 10-12 weeks pregnant there is little predictive value in scans. I suggest discussing your specific situation with a midwife.
A package of private pregnancy care, commencing as soon as you know you are pregnant, costs around £2,000-£3,500 depending on your circumstances and location. This includes a personalised preparation programme for birth and life with your baby. Birth care and postnatal care are also available.
I cover all of Sussex as well as parts of Surrey. In cases of particular need I am sometimes able to provide care for clients further away.