What is antenatal care?
You’re pregnant, congratulations! This is why you need special care, also known as antenatal care, or maternity care. This simply means your doctor will check that you and your baby are well, and monitor you throughout your pregnancy, while providing useful information and answering any questions.
In Ireland, all mothers are entitled to free maternity care under the Maternity and Infant Care
Scheme, which is a system of combined care split between your doctor and maternity unit. You will also register with a hospital antennal clinic or midwife-led clinic as either a public, semi-private or private patient.
What should I do next?
If you are pregnant, make an appointment with your GP to confirm your test result, and to ensure you receive maternity healthcare that takes into account all your needs and preferences. Your doctor will calculate the due date, and provide you with a referral letter to present at the maternity hospital of your choice.
You will be given information about folic acid and vitamin D supplements, nutrition, diet, food hygiene, and lifestyle factors that may affect your health or that of your baby, such as smoking, alcohol and drug use.
Your condition will then be carefully monitored throughout, including blood pressure and urine checks for signs of infection and pre-eclampsia. As pregnancy progresses, we will keep a close eye on your baby too, including growth, positioning, foetal heart rate readings, and patterns of foetal activity.