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Initial antenatal assessment

Extracted from Survival Guide to Midwifery, 2nd Edition (2012) Diane M. Fraser and Margaret A. Cooper, Oxford; Churchill Livingstone: 2012. Courtesy Elsevier

The purpose of the initial antenatal assessment (otherwise known as the booking* visit) is to:

  • Introduce the woman to the maternity service
  • Share information in order to discuss, plan and implement care for the duration of the pregnancy, the birth and postnatally.

The earlier first contact is made with the midwife, the more appropriate and valuable the advice given relating to nutrition and care of the developing fetal organs. Medical conditions, infections, smoking, alcohol and drug taking may all have a profound and detrimental effect on the fetus at this time. Among the topics to be covered are

  • Social history
  • General health
  • Menstrual history
  • Obstetric history
  • Medical history
  • Family history

In addition to general observations, the midwife should undertake a physical examination, blood pressure, urinalysis and blood tests. See Antenatal care, Antenatal Examination and Antenatal Screening.

*The term 'booking' visit or interview, although still used in practice, was originally used to describe the pregnant woman 'booking' with her choice of maternity provider and 'booking' in for her birth. This reflects the funding stream rather than the care required.

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