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Call the midwife

Once the pregnancy test comes back positive, you’ll need to get in touch with a midwife. Your GP can help you with this. You’ll need to make an appointment within the first eight to ten weeks of your pregnancy.

Midwives are specially trained nurses who look after and support mothers and their babies. Throughout your pregnancy, you’ll have regular appointments with your midwife, and he or she will continue to care for you during the period immediately after you’ve given birth.

For most new mums, the midwife is the main point of contact during pregnancy, birth and aftercare, and the person who helps them make informed choices about their care. If there are any concerns or complications during your pregnancy, your midwife (or your GP) will refer you to a doctor who specialises in childbirth, known as an ‘obstetrician’.

Other professionals who may care for you and your unborn baby:

Sonographers are professionals who are specially trained to carry out ultrasound scans. In most cases, women will have a dating scan at 12 weeks which confirms how far along in your pregnancy you are and is an opportunity to check the baby’s development. You’ll also be offered another scan at 20 weeks. Sometimes your doctor or midwife will ask for additional scans at other times as well, and where these are needed, they’ll discuss it with you.

Hospital midwives are based either within a hospital maternity unit or a midwifery led birthing centre. They work in antenatal clinics, on labour wards and in postnatal units.

Community midwifery teams come to see you in your own home or at local clinics. It’s the community midwifery team who will support you through a home birth if you request one. Once your baby arrives, it will be the community midwifery team looking after you both..

Independent midwives don’t work for the NHS, and will charge for any services they provide.

Doulas and birth companions are not midwives, but are trained to support mums before, during and after the birth.  They do not work for the NHS and will charge for any services they provide.

Hypnobirthing consultants are trained professionals –not always midwives.  Hypnobirthing can provide strategies to help keep calm and relaxed throughout the birthing process. Many women find hypnobirthing helps them to have a positive birthing experience. Hypnobirthing consultants charge for their services.

Page last reviewed: 28-06-2023

Next review due: 28-06-2026