Milestones in your pregnancy countdown
- 20 weeks – MATB1 form: you get this from your employer to fill in so you can receive maternity pay.
- 25 weeks – Health in Pregnancy Grant: this is a new £190 one-off payment that the Government gives to help you through.
- 29 weeks – Maternity leave: many mums-to-be stay longer, but legally you can leave work now.
- 30 weeks – Antenatal classes begin: don’t forget you’re entitled to paid time off from work to attend.
- 40 weeks – Arrival time: your midwife can offer you a stretch and sweep to help kick start labour, if you’re getting impatient.
Subjects to raise with your midwife
- Local maternity units and their birth rates. To help you choose where you’d like to give birth if it’s not at home.
- Antenatal classes. Ask about when and where your nearest are.
- Birthing pools. Find out how many pools are at your hospital and if you’d be suitable for a water birth.
- A home visit. Ask if she’ll visit you to chat through your birth plan with you and your partner.
- When you go into labour. If you’d prefer to be assessed at home rather than go straight to the labour ward, let her know.
Pre-birth questions to ask your midwife
- Which unit in your area has a high rate of straightforward, vaginal births, and what’s the rate of home births?
- How many birthing pools are there available at any one time?
- Is it possible to have a look around the labour unit in advance?
- Will your midwife come and assess you at home when you’re in labour?
- How likely is it that you’ll see your midwife throughout your whole pregnancy and at the birth?
Why you should attend antenatal classes
- To feel reassured you’re not the only one worrying about things like the size of your bump – lots of other women there will be feeling the same way.
- You meet mums-to-be who you can stay in touch with – a great support network for when your baby arrives.
- You learn about what to expect at the birth and what pain relief is available.
- Classes involve your partner and help him understand your wishes on b-day.
- You get time off work as your boss has to let you go in work time.
Birth plan considerations
- Make it easy to read, so if you labour quickly it’ll be faster to understand.
- Staple a copy to the front of your notes and have a spare copy for the doctor in case you need intervention.
- Focus on things that are specifically important to you and your partner, rather than a standard downloaded one.
- If you want a second opinion, ask your community midwife to read it and see what she thinks.
- Think about the tone If it’s open and friendly, people caring for you are more likely to respond in the same way.