maternity scan

Antenatal care

Antenatal care is the care you get from health professionals during your pregnancy. It's sometimes called pregnancy care or maternity care.

You'll be offered appointments with a midwife, or sometimes a doctor who specialises in pregnancy and birth (an obstetrician).

You should start your antenatal care as soon as possible once you know you're pregnant. You can do this by contacting us via our self-referral form.

On this page:

Coronavirus information

To help us look after you and your baby, it's really important to tell your midwife or maternity team if you test positive for Coronavirus.

If you have no symptoms, or mild symptoms, you will be advised to recover at home. If you have more severe symptoms, you might be treated in a hospital setting.

We are reminding everyone that only one partner can attend the scans and appointments. Two support people can attend the birth and one can be on the postnatal/antenatal ward 24/7.

Any partner displaying any symptoms of COVID-19 is asked to not attend the hospital.

Birth partners and visitors

In labour we welcome birth partners to stay with you throughout your labour. In order to maintain privacy for you in labour, we recommend no more than two birth partners.

Folkestone and Kingsgate Wards

New extended visiting for partners/significant other (one person only) - 24hrs
4pm - 7pm general visiting and own children only

Please note: no other children are permitted in the ward areas and we respectfully request only two visitors for each woman at general visiting.

Blood tests

Blood tests are now by appointment only for all patients. Unfortunately, we are no longer able to offer a walk-in service.

To book an appointment please click on the following link to access the booking portal.

If you are unable to book via this portal please call 01227 206739. Please note this number is only to book blood test appointments if you are unable to use the above link.

Antenatal appointments

How many appointments will I have?

Your antenatal appointments will be made up of ultrasound scans, screening tests and midwife appointments, which will all check the health of you and your baby.

If you're expecting your first child, you'll have up to 10 antenatal appointments.

If you have had a baby before, you'll have around 7 appointments, but sometimes you may have more – for example, if you develop a medical condition.

Early in your pregnancy, your midwife or doctor will give you written information about how many appointments you're likely to have and when they'll happen. You should have a chance to discuss the schedule of antenatal appointments with them.

These appointments will also give you the opportunity to raise any concerns or worries you may have and to get the support you need.

At your booking appointment, your midwife will put your details in a record book and add to them at each appointment. These are your maternity notes, sometimes called handheld notes.

You'll take your maternity notes home and be asked to bring them to all your antenatal appointments. Take your notes with you wherever you go in case you need medical attention while you're away from home.

To find out more about the care you will receive throughout your pregnancy, and what to expect at your antenatal appointments head to the NHS Choices website.

Where will I have my antenatal appointments?

Your appointments can take place at:

  • your home
  • a Children's Centre
  • a GP surgery
  • a hospital
  • you'll usually go to the hospital for your pregnancy scans.

Antenatal appointments should take place in a setting where you feel able to discuss sensitive issues, such as domestic abuse, sexual abuse, mental health problems or drugs.

To make sure you get the best pregnancy care, your midwife will ask you many questions about your and your family's health, and your preferences.

Your midwife will carry out some checks and tests, some of which will be done throughout your pregnancy, such as urine tests and blood pressure checks.

The results may affect your choices later in pregnancy, so it's important not to miss them.

Your midwife will also ask about any other social care support you may have or need, such as support from social workers or family liaison officers.

Questions you might be asked

The midwife or doctor might ask about:

  • the date of the first day of your last period
  • your health
  • any previous illnesses and operations you have had
  • any previous pregnancies and miscarriages
  • the ethnic origins of you and your partner to find out whether your baby may be at risk of certain inherited conditions
  • whether your family has a history of twins
  • your job, your partner's job and what kind of accommodation you live in to see whether your circumstances might affect your pregnancy
  • how you're feeling and whether you have been depressed or have ever suffered from a mental health conditio.

Your antenatal appointments are an opportunity to tell your midwife or doctor if you're in a vulnerable situation or if you need extra support.

To find out more about the care you will receive when you’re pregnant, visit the antenatal care information on the NHS website.

Antenatal classes

Antenatal classes can help you to prepare for your baby’s birth and give you confidence and information. They're usually informative and fun, and they're free on the NHS.

The kinds of topics covered by antenatal classes are:

  • health in pregnancy, including a healthy diet
  • exercises to keep you fit and active during pregnancy
  • what happens during labour and birth
  • coping with labour and information about different types of pain relief
  • how to help yourself during labour and birth
  • relaxation techniques
  • information about different kinds of birth and interventions, such as forceps or vacuum delivery
  • caring for your baby, including feeding
  • your health after the birth
  • refresher classes for those who've already had a baby
  • emotions and feelings during pregnancy, birth and after.

To find out about classes near you, ask your midwife, health visitor or GP. Speak to your community midwife if you cannot go to classes.