During your first antenatal meeting, your midwife will give you a booklet, which she will refer to as your notes or hand-held antenatal notes. You will need to keep these notes with you throughout your pregnancy and you will need to take them to every meeting with your midwife and appointment with a health professional. You should also keep them with you during your routine day-to-day activities as if you have an accident or require medical attention, your notes will have all the information you need about you and your pregnancy. You should also take them with you if you go on a trip or on holiday. If you have not got them with you, make sure that somebody else knows where they are kept so that they can be collected easily in an emergency.
Your antenatal notes should have the contact numbers and details for your midwife, the hospital, the labour ward and may also have space for you to write your birth-plan and preferences for labour. Some antenatal notes booklets also have information for you on areas such as breastfeeding, healthy eating or exercise during pregnancy.
Each clinic will use their own style of antenatal notes but in all of them there will be some areas for you to fill in such as:
- Hospital number
- Next of Kin
- Person to be contacted in emergency
- Birthing partner
- Past health
- Present health
- Medicines that are currently being taken
- Health issues for close family members
- Information about ALL past pregnancies
At each antenatal visit, your midwife will fill in various sections. These may include:
- Dates of antenatal meetings
- Baby’s due date
- The results of the checks that are carried out in a routine antenatal check-up, including blood pressure, urine results, measurement of bump and how baby is lying.
- Blood test results
- Problems you are having e.g slight bleed, Nausea, vomiting
What does it all mean?
You midwife is likely to use abbreviations when she writes in your notes and you may not understand what they mean. Here is our quick guide to what the main abbreviations used mean. However, if you feel you need more information, always ask your midwife who will be happy to explain what they mean to you.
|12+4/26+1||This is the length of your pregnancy. The first number is the total of weeks you are pregnant and the second number is the total of days. 12+4 means twelve weeks and four days.|
|EDD||Estimated Due Date|
|LMP||Last menstrual Period: this is the first day you last period started|
|Primigravida||A woman who is in her first pregnancy|
|Multigravida||A woman who has been pregnant before – includes miscarriage|
|BP – 120/70||This stands for Blood Pressure. Two numbers will be given. The bottom number should never be higher than 90.|
|MSU||The urine sample is taken from mid-stream|
|NAD||Nothing abnormal detected in the urine|
|Nil||Nothing abnormal found|
|PGO||The urine contains protein, glucose or other|
|TRACE||A tiny amount of protein or glucose has been found. If more than a trace has been found, your midwife will put a +|
|Ketones||These may be found if you have not eaten or been very sick. They are marked by +++ depending on how many have been found. One is okay but two or three may require rehydration.|
|Fundus Height||The fundus is the top of the uterus. Your midwife will measure how high your fundus is as your bump and baby grows. This is written down in centimetres and often corresponds with the number of weeks pregnant you are.|
|FH||Fetal Heart. Your midwife may listen to the baby’s heartbeat. Fetal means ‘of the baby’|
|FHH||Fetal Heart heard: sometimes just a H will be used|
|FHHR||Fetal heart heard regular|
|FHNH||Fetal heart not heard: probably because baby is lying awkwardly|
|FMF||Fetal movement felt: the midwife felt the baby move|
|Oed||Oedema: this is swelling. This is normal although your midwife will record it as it may be a sign of pre-eclampsia|
|TCA||To come again: you need to return for another appointment|
During the later weeks, your midwife will feel what position your baby is in. These are the terms that she may use:
|Ceph||Cephalic: this means baby is head down|
|Vx||Vertex: this is the same as Ceph|
|Tr||Transverse: baby is lying across your abdomen|
|BR||This stands for Breech which means bottom down|
|LOA||The back of baby’s head is on your left side and towards the front of your tummy|
|ROA||The back of baby’s head is on your right side and towards the front of your tummy|
|LOP||The back of baby’s head is on your left side and towards the back of your tummy|
|ROP||The back of baby’s head is on your right side and towards the back of you tummy|
Your midwife will also check the ‘relation to brim’: this is how far engaged baby is. You midwife will ‘divide’ baby’s head into fifths and describe how far down baby is by feeling how many fifths they can feel above the brim. Your baby is classed as being ‘engaged’ when 2/5 can be felt. 5/5 means that your baby is still ‘free’ to move around. For some pregnant women, the baby does not engage until active labour, especially in a second or subsequent pregnancy.
As always, your midwife, is there to help you and to give you advice. Always ask her any questions that you may have about anything that is worrying you.
by Jenny, mum to William and James