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Antenatal and maternity care appointments

You will have a number of appointments during your pregnancy.

Appointments will be with your GP, hospital, or a midwife.

You’ll have more appointments if you’re:

Additional appointments for pregnancy-related conditions are covered by the Maternity and Infant Care Scheme.

The scheme does not cover appointments for illnesses that are not related to your pregnancy. For example, a urinary tract infection or chest infection.

Your appointments may be changed by your GP, maternity unit, or hospital depending on your situation.

Appointments with your GP

If you register for the Maternity and Infant Care Scheme, your first appointment is with your GP. You'll see your GP at least 5 times during your pregnancy. 

Your GP will do antenatal checks and give you information on how to have a healthy pregnancy. They might discuss folic acid, exercise, healthy eating and vaccines with you.

Your GP will offer you a free flu vaccine during one of your appointments. The flu season begins in October and finishes at the end of April.

Your GP will also offer you a vaccination to protect your baby from whooping cough (pertussis) between 16 to 36 weeks.

Read more about vaccines needed during pregnancy

If you do not have a GP, contact your local maternity unit for an appointment.

Appointments at your maternity unit or hospital

You will have appointments at your maternity unit or hospital under the Maternity and Infant Care Scheme. The number of appointments depends on your needs.

Your blood pressure and urine will usually be checked during these appointments.

The booking visit (between 8 to 12 weeks)

Your first appointment at the maternity unit or hospital is called the 'booking visit' and is with a midwife. This usually takes place between 8 to 12 weeks of your pregnancy.

You will be asked about your medical and family history and any previous pregnancies.

A sample of your blood will be taken. The blood test results will be reviewed at your next appointment. You will also be offered a dating scan.

You may get information about antenatal classes and breastfeeding.

You may be referred for other appointments if needed.

These may be with:

  • physiotherapists
  • dietitians
  • smoking or alcohol cessation specialists
  • social workers if needed

Between 20 to 22 weeks

You will be offered a fetal anatomy scan (anomaly scan) at the hospital.

If an anomaly is detected, you will be referred to an obstetrician who specialises in fetal anomalies.

From 28 weeks on

Your hospital appointments from 28 weeks onward will continue to check:

  • your baby's growth and development and position in the womb
  • if you have signs of high blood pressure or other complications

The height of your womb (uterus) might be measured and your baby’s heart rate will be checked. You may also be asked about your baby's movements.

It may not be necessary to have another scan after your anomaly scan at 20 weeks.

Your midwife or obstetrician will also talk to you about:

During the birth

During birth, you’ll be cared for by a midwife. If the midwife identifies a problem during your labour, they will ask a doctor to help if needed.

If you need an epidural, this will be done by an anaesthetist (a doctor who specialises in pain relief medicine).

After the birth

You will be supported by midwives after the birth. They will help you with breastfeeding and caring for your baby.

Most women and babies are discharged from hospital within 3 days of the birth. If you choose a 'domino scheme', you may be able to go home earlier. This means a midwife will be visiting you at home.

Some hospitals also have ‘early transfer home’ schemes which means you can leave the hospital as soon as possible after the birth (usually 12 to 36 hours).

When you return home, a public health nurse (PHN) will visit you within 72 hours of leaving hospital.

Your GP or your GP practice nurse will examine your baby at 2 weeks old. Your GP will examine both you and your baby when your baby is 6 weeks old.

Page last reviewed: 14 June 2023
Next review due: 14 June 2026

This project has received funding from the Government of Ireland’s Sláintecare Integration Fund 2019 under Grant Agreement Number 123.