If you’ve recently found out that you’re pregnant, you’re probably thinking about the path that lies ahead during the course of the next nine months. A huge part of any pregnancy is antenatal care, which can get very scary. But don’t be afraid, as there are some simple ways to ensure your antenatal experiences are anything but scary.
Share the experience with someone you love
The love and support of a partner, friend or relative simply can’t be underestimated during pregnancy. Antenatal appointments have the potential to be scary at the best of times, as they involve tests and scans designed to check on your health, and the health of your unborn child. Someone to talk to, hold hands with or simply to provide you with a reassuring smile when it’s needed most can ensure your antenatal appointments are relaxing and momentous.
Book your antenatal appointments in advance
Antenatal care is an ongoing process throughout the course of a pregnancy. This care is designed to monitor the health and development of your baby, and to ensure that your health is as it should be. Make a note of the appointments you’re given by your doctor, and ensure that you attend them all. If you believe that additional appointments are necessary - perhaps due to an underlying health issue - speak to your doctor, midwife or health visitor as soon as possible.
Most mothers are offered two scans: a dating scan and an ‘anomaly’ scan. However, in order to put your mind at ease, you might also be able to undergo a 3D scan, a growth scan during the third trimester and a combined screening test. Depending on your family and medical history, you may be advised to undergo other tests, including an amniocentesis and chorionic villus sampling of your placenta.
You can take a lot of the scariness out of antenatal visits by booking appointments at The Portland Hospital. You can choose the dates and times that suit you, and take advantage of state-of-the-art screening equipment that leaves nothing to chance. Consultant and midwifery-led services give you options, and relaxing, comfortable surroundings put you at your ease from the moment your antenatal care begins. And if you ever need to stay in hospital overnight, there are first class accommodation options that provide everything you might expect from a top hotel. The Portland antenatal care facilities are amongst the most advanced and comprehensive in Europe.
Book time off work as soon as possible
One of the things that makes antenatal care so scary is the fact that most appointments take place during normal working hours. Leaving arrangements for your antenatal care until the last minute will only increase your stress levels, so as soon as you have the date and time of your antenatal appointments, inform your employers and request the time off. According to the law in the UK, pregnant employees have four rights:
- Protection against discrimination
- Maternity pay
- Maternity leave
- Paid time off for antenatal care
Your employer is legally obliged to give you time off for antenatal appointments - and to pay you as normal. If you run into problems when requesting time off, speak to a union representative or your local Citizen’s Advice Bureau.
Record your antenatal visits for posterity
It is only natural to be nervous before and during antenatal assessments. So, in order to focus your mind on the positive aspects of antenatal care, record your experiences in journals, on video and in a pregnancy scrapbook. Share your experiences on social media, or invite your most trusted friends and family to a small gathering at your home after your major appointments. This will give you a chance to show them photos, scan pictures and anything else that might mark the occasion.
Embrace the full range of antenatal classes available
Antenatal care isn’t just about important scans and checks; it is also about well-being and savouring the experience of being pregnant. You can take the scariness out of your own antenatal care by booking yourself (and sometimes your partner) on antenatal yoga and Pilates classes. There are also classes available to help you prepare for the rigours of childbirth and breastfeeding.
Attending antenatal appointments is an intimidating and scary experience for many mums-to-be. But with the right support network and a team of specialist maternity clinicians around you, there is absolutely no need to be frightened.