My pregnancy experience in the UK

By ani - December 05, 2017

It’s only been 5 months since I gave birth to my little baby girl, Victoria, but it feels like it’s been ages. It’s amazing how quickly you forget certain things in life and how the human brain can filter out negative experiences and thoughts to focus on a single memory or piece of information. It is true when women say that you tend to forget all the pain and bad experience you’ve had during labour and delivery the minute you see your little one.

In this post, I have decided to share my personal experience of being pregnant and giving birth in the UK, and I hope that it would be useful to all of you who are expecting and new to the UK antenatal care system.

Even though it was planned, I was still caught by surprise when I saw the two lines – (as many would probably say) I didn’t expect it to happen so quickly 🙂 . But after a couple of tests, it was 99.9% sure that I was pregnant. Then I had two options, to either go to the GP and get a referral for the local maternity unit or choose a preferred unit and self-refer myself. I opted for the latter. To select a unit, I looked at 4 key factors: location, reputation, facilities and service quality, and I chose UCLH. Once I had selected the hospital, I had to complete their online self-referral form and they contacted me a couple of days later to book my first appointment, which to my surprise was at 8 weeks. I was expecting to be seen by doctor or midwife right away, but apparently this wasn’t the case. So at 8 weeks, I was very much looking forward to my first midwife appointment and the opportunity to see my little one on screen. I was expecting to have a scan to confirm the pregnancy and check if everything was ok, but yet another surprise – apparently, through NHS (the UK national healthcare service) you only get 2 scans during the entire pregnancy and the first one is at 12 weeks. So in addition to the scans provided by the NHS, I decided to have 3 more private check-ups towards the end of the pregnancy.

My overall experience of the NHS antenatal care was quite positive – you do get regular midwife check-ups and a couple of antenatal classes which were very useful – however, I think that there should be an extra scan provided in the 3rd trimester along with a group B strep (GBS) test, which is currently not covered.

For those of you who are considering private antenatal care, in the UK this type of care is very expensive – it would cost you on average between £10,000-£15,000, depending on the practice and service.

In my next post I will talk about my delivery experience. In the meantime, I would love to hear about your personal experience, so please feel free to drop me a line in the comments below or message me.

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