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question for UK expectant moms

(32 Posts)
nyldn Tue 10-Dec-13 21:52:01

Hi there!
Living in the UK having moved over from the States a couple of years ago. this is my first pregnancy and I'm 7 weeks from the first day of my last period this thursday.

Ive been given dates for my nhs booking appt in mid Jan. This seems very far away to me. Is it normal to not see a dr at all until 12 weeks? It feels weird to be basically a third of the way through a pregnancy without seeing anyone.

I see on other boards that american women are getting their blood tested for HCG levels four and five times before the first sonogram to make sure the pregnancy is progressing well. Does that not happen here? Or does it and I need to be requesting it?

Would love some feedback, I'm just a little confused about how this all works. I haven't been able to talk to friends over here about it because my husband really doesn't want to tell anyone yet....

Thanks!

midnight1983 Tue 10-Dec-13 22:01:53

Hi, I think it all depends on where you live, but I had booking in at 11 weeks, which I think is normal - anyone else had same experience? TBH, everything in the NHS that's non-emergent will stop over Christmas and NYE, so mid-Jan seems about right. If you have worries before then you can always call NHS direct/go straight to A and E. Congratulations on your pregnancy!

midnight1983 Tue 10-Dec-13 22:05:31

Sorry, forgot to add I think they just test HCG levels after your first GP appt if you present to A and E or an early pregnancy unit with pain, bleeding etc...might be different if you have private healthcare? Anyone more informed?

eurochick Tue 10-Dec-13 22:05:39

HCG testing is not normal here unless it is suspected you are miscarrying (in order to confirm it). In a healthy pregnancy it won't give you any info and if it does show falling levels there is absolutely nothing they can do anyway.

PacifistDingDong Tue 10-Dec-13 22:07:09

Hi, I think you'll be in for a shock how much less 'medicalised' a normal healthy pregnancy is managed in the UK compared to the States smile.

You may not see a dr at all - your care could be entirely midwife led. Yes, normal time for a scan is around the 12 week mark as all foetuses are the same size at that time (whether they turn out to grow in to 6 lbs or 12 lbs babies wink), you are also likely to have a detailed scan at 20 weeks.
Your 'booking appointment' with the midwife will entail a detailed history and some blood tests. You'll get some information about screening tests for Down's and similar.
Most first timers will be seen approx monthly from about 30 weeks, and more frequently towards the end.

Do you have any concerns specifically? No doctor or any professional can do anything about a pregnancy this early on, no tests are necessary and you simply have to let time pass - easier said than done, I know.

You can pay for private scans etc if you wish.
Take folic acid and vitamin D (or a decent pregnancy multivitamin), don't drink, don't smoke, stay active if you can.

nyldn Tue 10-Dec-13 22:07:13

Thanks Midnight! It's very exciting, but when you have no answers from doctors google and webmd become very very dangerous!!

That makes sense about the xmas-nye slow down.... tough luck for me!

I think i was just really hoping to fly home for xmas with some positive evidence from the dr. to share with my family - oh well smile

Flisspaps Tue 10-Dec-13 22:07:18

Antenatal care is very hands off for the first 12 weeks. At around 10 weeks there's a booking appt, with blood tests then a dating scan at around 12 weeks. If you want a nuchal scan that is often done with the dating scan.

Then MW appts at 16w, 20w (most MWs listen to the heartbeat at this appointment) and 20w scan, then IIRC antenatal visits at 24 weeks, 28 weeks (more blood tests) 32 weeks, 34 weeks, 36 weeks, 38 weeks, 40 weeks, 41 weeks (you may be offered a sweep at this appointment) and 42 weeks.

All of these are optional.

PacifistDingDong Tue 10-Dec-13 22:08:56

Sorry, I forgot, no, no HCG checking routinely here - the pregnancy is either progressing well, or it isn't and this will become apparent in the fullness of time.

Remember, a lot of these tests are offered in the US because they are billable, not because they are necessary or even desirable hmm.

LittlePeaPod Tue 10-Dec-13 22:09:08

Hi Op

Basically you should get a booking in appointment with a MW anywhere between 8 and 10 week depending on where you are. However you need to speak to your surgery to find out what the process is of booking an appointment with a MW. In the UK you are only offered two scans (12 and 20 weeks). You will also get initial full blood count etc. tests at initial booking in appointment and then again about 28 weeks unless you are high risk or something happens before 28 weeks. With regards MW appointments you normally get booking in appointment, 12 weeks scan, 16 week appointment. 20 week scan, 24/25 week appointment, 28 week appointment and then more frequently after that. All these are with a MW unless you are under an OBGYN.

Every trust is slightly different but anything that's basically the process.

LittlePeaPod Tue 10-Dec-13 22:09:10

Hi Op

Basically you should get a booking in appointment with a MW anywhere between 8 and 10 week depending on where you are. However you need to speak to your surgery to find out what the process is of booking an appointment with a MW. In the UK you are only offered two scans (12 and 20 weeks). You will also get initial full blood count etc. tests at initial booking in appointment and then again about 28 weeks unless you are high risk or something happens before 28 weeks. With regards MW appointments you normally get booking in appointment, 12 weeks scan, 16 week appointment. 20 week scan, 24/25 week appointment, 28 week appointment and then more frequently after that. All these are with a MW unless you are under an OBGYN.

Every trust is slightly different but anything that's basically the process.

peeapod Tue 10-Dec-13 22:10:34

stay off google and web md and stick to uk based sites like the nhs direct one. that will give you a clear idea of what to expect from the uk system. other stuff is optional but you'l have to pay...

nyldn Tue 10-Dec-13 22:12:10

thanks everyone - sets my mind at ease!

sunflowered Tue 10-Dec-13 22:30:56

If you want reassurance and something to show your family back home at Christmas it might be worth booking a private scan in a week or so if that's an option - iirc the chances of a successful pregnancy are very high if there's a heartbeat on a scan at 8/9 weeks smile Congratulations and hope everything goes smoothly for you

RubyrooUK Tue 10-Dec-13 22:42:39

Oh just to add that my hospital in London also had a 34 week scan as well as the 12 and 20 week one as standard. So some places have three scans.

wispaxmas Tue 10-Dec-13 23:00:55

I'm in a similar situation, having my first baby in the uk and I'm from Canada and been very surprised at the different system here. Not bad, just different!

I went to my GP at 5 weeks to get referred to the midwife, and he said blood tests aren't done anymore since HPTs are so accurate, good enough for me!

Then I worried because I didn't hear from anyone for weeks, then finally had a booking in appt at 11 weeks when I was told it should be before 10wks!

zebdee Tue 10-Dec-13 23:06:47

You can pay for an early reassurance scan at lots of places that do 3d and 4d scans if you want something to take home for Christmas and confirmation that all is fine

whereisshe Tue 10-Dec-13 23:08:33

I think the pp have covered the most important stuff, just wanted to say that if you can afford it get a private dating scan before 12 weeks (ideally about 9-10 weeks) - the NHS are notorious for leaving your dating scan late due to resource constraints (to 14 weeks sometimes) which reduces the accuracy of the dating.

Xmasbaby11 Tue 10-Dec-13 23:10:00

Massive difference in healthcare because it's NHS here, not private, and you don't have many appointments unless you have problems.

You also won't see doctors or consultants at all unless problems. Just midwives and 2 sonographers.

whereisshe Tue 10-Dec-13 23:10:03

Oh, and if you're worried about Downs at all (age related risk factors etc), perhaps also look into a private Harmony test.

stickysausages Tue 10-Dec-13 23:21:09

Nope, all sounds normal. Scan & booking in appt around 12 weeks is usually first time you enter the 'system' no need before unless problems are suspected.

The UK tends to be less medicalised than the UK when it comes to birth, so don't be surprised if natural labour & birth are promoted... have you thought that far ahead?

Please trust your midwife... they'll keep you right smile

annielosthergun Wed 11-Dec-13 05:14:35

Even privately I didn't have HCG levels monitored but I did have iron levels checked at the same time as an early (8 week scan) - apart from that nothing till 13 weeks. Your GP would probably check your iron though so if you are feeling extremely run down it might be worth asking

Get a good book that covers early pregnancy advice (good / exercise) and be aware (as it sounds like you're going back to the US soon) that the guidance on what you should / shouldn't eat differs in the US vs UK - I think you're advised to avoid deli meats at home but not in the UK for e.g.

Julietee Wed 11-Dec-13 07:49:22

Hey OP,
The only thing I would suggest is checking that you will be able to get a timely nuchal (12 week) scan if your booking date is so late (mine was at 8 weeks but I had to ring and ask them to change it because it would have been at 12 weeks otherwise and I considered that too late).
This is because mostly the midwife you see at your booking will then send paperwork off to secure your scan date - which could make it too late if your booking appt is around 12 weeks.

I was also really alarmed that they would leave you pretty much be for the first third of pregnancy! Not least because I had so many questions and worries. It was only later that I realised there wouldn't have been much they could have done about things going wrong so early anyway, but that's really hard to hear when your newly preg and anxious.

What I would recommend is a) buying the book 'expecting better' by Emily Oster (would have saved me soooo much anxiety if I had it early!) and b) having a private scan around 8 weeks. They don't cost the earth and can reassure you stuff is actually happening in there much earlier (especially since a month seems like forever when you're waiting for the 12 week scan). Also, c) ringing the Tommy's Pregnancy Line (google it) if you have questions before you get a way to contact your midwife (if you do - the system round here is shite).

Spaghettinetti Wed 11-Dec-13 07:55:05

I had my booking in appointment on the same day as my 12 week scan- that's how they do it where I live! It is very strange that in the first three months, the most crucial time in the baby's development, that you have very little or no support, but that's the way it is in the UK!

Rowboat Wed 11-Dec-13 08:27:26

Hi Op. Just to echo above pp, but remember there is support pre-12w at local Early pregnancy units. These are for emergency support, such as suspected mc (heaven forbid). But if you have concerns before your mw app, these are the people to speak to, they can scan and do tests. It's worth remembering. Congratulations and good luck. smile

Norfolknway Wed 11-Dec-13 08:33:41

This thread just made me realise I didn't see a doctor throughout the whole of my last pregnancy. Delivered in a MLU. Crackers!

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