What are antenatal clinics?
The majority of your pregnancy care (antenatal care) will be provided in a location outside the hospital, however we hold a number of specialist clinics in our hospital where women can be seen by a specialist doctor or midwife if this is required.
If, like the majority of women, you do not have a complication in your pregnancy you will only need to be seen by a midwife and GP.
In order to enable easy access we also provide an antenatal clinic based at the hospital for women who live outside our geographical area.
All clinics are by appointment only and are held Monday-Saturday, 9am-5pm. All appointments will be arranged by your midwife who will advise you regarding the details of your appointment and why a referral to a specialist clinic has been made.
Where will my antenatal appointments be held?
Once we receive your referral letter, an appointment with a midwife is arranged for you along with your first scan. Both appointments are sent in the post to you with details of the location. It is important that we have the correct address and contact number for you.
Your first appointment with your midwife is known as the 'booking' appointment. The location of your pregnancy care is determined by where you live and is planned to be in a convenient place. The majority (85%) of pregnancy care takes place in the community with easy access, such as in your GP surgery, health centre or a children's centre. Scan appointments are always at the hospital. Read more about scans and tests.
Changing or cancelling your appointment
We really appreciate it when you let us know as soon as possible if you can not attend your booking appointment so that we can offer this appointment to someone else.
Changing your booking appointment
We aim to see you for your booking appointment before you reach 10 weeks gestation to allow for screening tests to be completed. Where this is not possible we see you before 13 weeks gestation and it is important that you attend your booking appointment. We understand that sometimes it is not possible to attend the appointment we have given you. If you need to cancel or change your booking appointment, please call the clinic on 020 7188 2300. We will do our best to give you a time and date that is convenient for you.
Changing your follow up appointment
To change your follow up appointment, please refer to the front of your pregnancy book to contact your midwife where your pregnancy care is held.
Before your appointment
We advise that you read more about screening and tests so that you are well prepared for when you attend for your first midwife appointment. There is a useful publication in several languages on Gov.uk about screening tests. You will be able to ask any questions you may have, before deciding which screening tests you wish to have.
If your first language is not English, we can arrange an interpreter for you - read more about language support. Friends or family members cannot be used to interpret for you.
Please bring with you:
- scan reports if you have already had any ultrasound scans
- a copy of your maternity records, blood results or ultrasound scan reports if you are transferring your care from another hospital.
At your appointment
Your 'booking' appointment will take about an hour. Please arrive 15 minutes before your appointment time so you can fill out any forms or other documentation needed.
The midwife will give you your maternity records. They will also need to ask you some questions to help plan your care and appointments. This will include questions about the medical history of you and your family and any previous pregnancies. You will also be asked for your consent to take some blood samples for screening tests. This is explained in the 'Screening tests for your and your baby' booklet. If you haven't received this booklet, please ask us for one.
If there is anything that you do not understand and would like to ask more questions about please feel free to speak to your midwife or your GP.
How often will I be seen by my midwife/GP?
We follow the National Guideline (NICE 2008) for best practice for routine antenatal care. This is included in the first few pages of your maternity records ('orange book') suggesting how many times during your pregnancy you should be seen by the midwife or other health professional.
Your midwife is the person who will coordinate your appointments and will advise regarding your follow up appointments. They will also arrange for you to be referred to any other professional if you need medical review, so you may be offered additional appointments during your pregnancy.
Your GP will share your antenatal care with your midwife and is likely to see you three times in your pregnancy.
After your appointment
Once your booking appointment is complete, your midwife will let you know the plan for future appointments, including their location, and give you contact details in case you have any concerns.
You will get your own set of maternity records (the 'orange book') that has useful information to help you during your pregnancy. It is your responsibility to look after these records and carry them to all your subsequent appointments.
If you have either missed or not been told about an appointment, please contact your midwife as soon as possible.
Types of antenatal clinics
There are a number of antenatal clinics set up at various locations to suit the individual need of every pregnant woman. Once your antenatal care starts with us we will clarify the exact location of the clinic that you would be asked to attend.
- Community midwifery clinics: held in a number of locations (including GP surgeries and health centres) throughout Lambeth, Southwark and Lewisham. Generally for local women.
- Community based obstetric clinics: held in three health centres for women local to the area who have been referred to an obstetrician (doctor who specialises in pregnancy care). These are based at Clapham Manor, Waldron and Gracefield Gardens.
- Hospital based obstetric clinics: suitable for women who need to be seen by a specialist doctor during pregnancy. This could be a one-off or you may be asked to see the doctor on a number of occasions. This is often to monitor an existing medical condition or a complication that has arisen during your pregnancy. We aim to keep a close eye on the well being of you and your baby and reduce any potential risks.
- Hospital-based midwifery clinics: generally for women who live outside our geographical area that live far from any of the community clinics.
- Hospital-based specialised midwifery teams: our Thames team and Tower team provide care for women whose pregnancies are complicated by a known medical or psychological condition.
- Antenatal education workshops: we strongly encourage you to attend antenatal/parenting classes to help you prepare for birth and for when your baby arrives. This will be discussed at booking. You must ensure you have a date to attend for one of these classes ideally to commence around 34-36 weeks. Please ask your midwife at your booking appointment.