Your health:


Kate Richards
My first NHS encounter in this pregnancy was a GP's appointment at around six weeks. I've since discovered that it's fine to bypass this stage and go straight to the local midwives, but my GP was welcoming and helpful.

She filled in a maternity exemption form for my prescriptions (lasting for a year after my due date) and gave me the first of my now epic collection of leaflets.

I rang the midwives and saw them a fortnight later. At each visit they check your blood pressure and do a urine test for protein and glucose. They took some blood at this first visit and sent it off to be tested for everything they can think of - you're not told the results for a while, lucky I'm not a hypochondriac!

At 12 weeks I had an "Oscar" scan which calculates the risk of Down's syndrome and two other genetic conditions. I'm low risk, but if not, further tests such as amniocentesis can be done. These do bring a small risk of miscarriage, so it's not an easy decision.

It was fantastic to finally see my little bean, and hear its heartbeat. Without any symptoms, I must admit I had been concerned. Luckily I didn't burst into tears (quite possible) and my husband was fascinated to see its arms, legs, and especially its jaw moving. We were on cloud nine afterwards.

Since then I've had another midwife appointment and they found the heartbeat when I asked (yes I had been worried again!) Now, at 17 and a half weeks, my bump is obvious so I'm much more relaxed. Any day now I should start feeling it move. I can't wait, although I expect it'll get a bit wearing after the 20th kick to the bladder.

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