This is your first appointment in the hospital so it will be longer than other appointments. It can take up to 3 to 5 hours as the hospital needs to get your information and do some tests to make sure you and the baby are healthy.
You may want to take some water and snacks with you to keep your energy up. There is usually a shop or canteen at the maternity hospital so you can buy things to eat there too.
You will be asked lots of questions at your booking appointment. If you don’t understand the questions, ask them to break it down for you.
Every woman is asked the same questions at the book appointment. These answers are confidential and will not be shared or used with anyone else. They are being asked to make sure that you get the best supports for your needs and to help you need during the pregnancy.
The questions you can expect include: Personal Information – name, date or birth, phone number, address, PPS number
Ethnicity or cultural background – it is important that you self-identify as a Traveller
Family medical history – family history and your partners of illnesses that could be inherited, e.g. diabetes, blood pressure and heart problems, PKU, SKIDS, Galactosemia, Brittle Bones disease
The hospital will ask you about your ethnicity or cultural background.
It is important to tell them that you are an Irish Traveller as they will test the baby for Galactosaemia once they are born. This is because Galactosaemia is more common for Travellers. If they don’t have this information it could be harmful for your baby.
This condition is common for Travellers, even if it isn’t common in your family. It means that the baby can’t process the milk properly and needs to go on a special (soy) feed. All Traveller babies are put on this feed right away when they are born until the tests come back clear.
At 20 weeks, you will have another appointment at the hospital where you will be given your ‘big scan’ (fetal anatomy scan). This makes sure the baby is healthy and developing okay. You might be able to find out the sex of the baby from this scan. If the scan shows a problem, you and your partner will be informed and the hospital will arrange for a specialist to meet and talk with you. A copy of this report will be sent to your maternity hospital, GP/ midwife to make sure they also know.
It is important to attend all of your appointments. If you cannot attend, you need to call the hospital or the health centre as you can be struck off the list. Contact your Community Health Worker if you need help.