Pregnancy - 8-12 weeks
What is happening to mother
Your booking appointment with your midwife at 8-10 weeks (see below) is a good opportunity to focus on the importance of looking after yourself both physically and emotionally during pregnancy, if you have not already started to do so. If you are suffering from nausea or vomiting, do ask your midwife for suggestions on natural ways of helping you get through this often trying time.
At your 12 week antenatal check your midwife and/or doctor will record your blood pressure, height and weight, test your urine for possible protein and sugar, and discuss any risk factors that may have been noted from your booking visit. If you are Rhesus negative, the implications of this for you and your baby will be explained and Anti-D offered. If you have had a caesarean birth previously, you will be invited to discuss any wishes and concerns you may have around giving birth to your baby vaginally this time.
You may be offered an ultrasound scan (USS) at this visit to confirm that the size of your baby matches your dates if you wish, but more so if you are not sure when your baby was conceived.
What is happening to baby
During this time your baby's fingers and toes become well formed, her taste buds develop and her ear canals become visible. Her body becomes rounder and some of her bones begin to grow, she can move. By the 12th week of pregnancy your baby's gender will be established (until this time all babies appear female) and her kidneys and bladder begin to function. She measures around 5cms long, weighs 20g and now appears recognisably human.
Things to think about
You (and your partner) will be invited to meet with your midwife, either at home or at the clinic, for your booking appointment when you are around 8-10 weeks pregnant. She will ask you where you would like to give birth to your baby - at home, in hospital or in a birthing centre (if one is available locally) - and she will take your medical history to check for any previous illnesses.
She will explain the routine blood tests offered to you through pregnancy to check, for example, your rhesus factor, haemoglobin (iron) and blood sugar levels, as well as the alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) test and detailed anomaly scan available for screening your baby for Spina Bifida and Down's Syndrome. It is entirely up to you (and your partner) whether you choose to accept these tests or not, your midwife will record and support your wishes.
You may also receive leaflets covering issues such as car safety, domestic abuse, diet, smoking, alcohol, toxoplasmosis, exercise, cot death and real nappies. If you are on state benefits, you will be advised about your entitlement to free vouchers for milk, fruit, vegetables and vitamins.
This is the time that your midwife may explore your choices for feeding your baby, offering you literature about the benefits of breastfeeding and details of your local breastfeeding support network.