Antenatal care is the care you receive from our healthcare professionals during your pregnancy. We will check that you and your baby are well, give you useful information to help you have a healthy pregnancy, including healthy eating and exercise advice and answer any questions you may have.
Starting your antenatal care:
- The initial step is to have a healthy lifestyle and take a folic acid supplementation prior to conception.
- When you find out you are pregnant, the first thing to do is make an appointment with your GP to confirm your test result and start your antenatal care.
- This will also help to make sure you receive maternity healthcare that takes into account all your health needs and preferences. Your doctor will calculate an estimate due date and also provide you with a referral letter to present at the maternity hospital of your choice.
In Ireland all mothers are entitled to free maternity care. You may opt to obtain these services under the Maternity and Infant Care Scheme, which is a system of combined care split between your doctor and maternity unit. Alternatively you can choose to visit a hospital antenatal clinic as either a Public, Semi-private or Private patient.
What happens at your first visit?
- At your first visit you will be given information about folic acid and vitamin D supplements, nutrition, diet and food hygiene, along with information on lifestyle factors that may affect your health or the health of your baby such as smoking, recreational drug use and drinking alcohol.
- Your pregnancy will then be carefully monitored including your blood pressure, sugar, iron levels, blood count and regular urine checks. The combined care approach will monitor the health and positioning of your baby as pregnancy progresses including readings of the foetal heart rate and the pattern of foetal activity as you notice it.