Your baby is now the size of an apple seed. The first steps of your baby’s development is the development of the circulatory system, along with the heart. Another key development is the growth of your baby’s neural tube which will ultimately become your baby’s brain and spinal cord.
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Okay, well if this is your first pregnancy you will typically have around 10 antenatal visits in your pregnancy, if it is your second or third or fourth baby you will have 7 antenatal visits. In your first visit it will usually happen or ideally between 12 and 14 weeks and at this visit you will meet the midwife. She will do a booking history and in this history she will take your social and medical history. You will then get booking bloods taken. These bloods are standard in all hospitals in Ireland and they will be explained to you before they are taken. You will also, very excitingly, get your first scan, and on this scan you won’t be able to see much of baby but it will give you an accurate date of when your baby is due. During each antenatal visit your blood pressure will be taken and this is very important and always make sure it is taken. Your urine will be checked for any signs of infection or any sugar and also the doctor or midwife will palpate your tummy to make sure baby is growing as they would expect. They will also, by palpating your tummy, give them an idea of which way you baby is lying so if baby is head up or head down, which is also very important at these visits. Antenatal classes are important to help you prepare for the birth of your baby. These classes will impart you with the knowledge to make informed decisions during your pregnancy and labour. Your antenatal teacher will go through important information such as pain relief and labour, breathing techniques to help you cope with labour and they will also go through postnatal advice with you such as how to bath your baby, how to feed your baby and very importantly how to care for your own body postnatally. Antenatal classes will take place in your maternity hospital that you’re attending and there are also private antenatal classes. Antenatal classes book up very quickly and particularly in the public service with the maternity hospitals, so it is important to early in pregnancy to book them. Ideally you want to attend your antenatal classes between 30 and 34 weeks. Too early and you may forget some of the information that’s been imparted to you or too late and you may just be too uncomfortable to sit through the class. Antenatal classes are available widely throughout the country, in both your maternity units and privately. Public classes do book up quite quickly so my advice is that you book in early. Ideally you would like to attend your classes between 30 and 34 weeks because before this you may forget some of the information and afterwards it may be too uncomfortable for you to sit through a long class. Private classes are covered by your insurance provider but it is always worthwhile checking this out before you book them. Antenatal classes are very important when your’re pregnant. They will teach you about pregnancy, they will also teach you about the birth of your baby and very importantly, they will teach you how to look after your baby when it is born.