Pregnancy & Maternity

Trying for a Baby

When to see a GP: 

  • You have been trying for over 1 year
  • You have a long term condition, such as diabetes, and want advice about pregnancy
  • There is a risk of passing a condition on to your baby, such as sickle cell disease
  • You regulary take medicines - some medicines can affect a pregnancy, including medicine for mental health conditions
  • You are aged 36 or over and want to get pregnant 

Please see the NHS website for further advice.

Please see our LGBTQ+ page for more information about starting a family if you are a member of the LGBTQ+ community. 


Doing a Pregnancy Test

You can carry out most pregnancy tests from the first day of a missed period. If you don't know when your period is due, you can do a test at least 21 days after you last had unprotected sex. 

You can buy a pregnancy testing kit from pharmacists and some supermarkets. The following places provide free pregnancy tests: 

For more information, please see the NHS page


Planning Your Pregnancy

There are a number of steps you can take if you are planning on getting pregnant: 

  • Take a folic acid supplement
  • Stop smoking
  • Cut out alcohol
  • Keep a healthy weight
  • Know which medicines you can take

For detailed information, please refer to the Planning Your Pregnancy NHS page


Continuing with Pregnancy

As soon as you know you are pregnant, it is important you arrange maternity care as soon as possible for you and your baby. 

You can now self-refer to antenatal care at Great Western Hospital or Royal United Hospital. Self-referral forms can be found below alongside a wealth of information and advice. 

GWH Maternity Services

RUH Maternity Services

For help figuring out when you might expect your baby to arrive, you can use the NHS due date calculator.



If You're Not Sure

If you're not sure about continuing with the pregnancy, you can discuss this confidentially with a healthcare professional, such as your GP or a nurse. Your options are: 

  • Continuing with the pregnancy and keeping the baby
  • Having an abortion
  • Continuing with the pregnancy and having the baby adopted

As well as your GP surgery, you can also get confidential information from the following, from the age of 13: 

What To Expect

When you have registered with a hospital maternity service, you will be assigned a midwife who will guide you through your pregnancy journey. 

Find out more information about your NHS pregnancy journey.

The pregnancy period is split into trimesters. 

1st Trimester: 1 - 12 weeks

2nd Trimester: 13 - 27 weeks

3rd Trimester: 27 - 40 weeks

The BSW Partnership have developed a helpful booklet called My Maternity Choices to help you think about your choices and to support you to plan your care. 

There are also a number of resources available at Wiltshire Council.

Pregnancy Care

You'll be offered appointments with a midwife or sometimes a doctor who specialises in pregnancy and birth (an obstetrician). 

The midwife or doctor providing your care will: 

You will be offered:

Labour and Birth

You can be offered antenatal classes by speaking with your midwife to help you prepare for your baby's birth. They're usually informative, fun, free on the NHS and they help you meet other expectant parents. You can learn how to: 

At least 3 weeks before your due date, you will need to get a few things ready. Some things to pack in your bag include: 

  • Your birth plan and hospital notes
  • 3 changes of something loose and comfortable to wear 
  • Your washbag
  • Breast pads and super-absorbent sanitary pads
  • Nappies, clothes, a blanket etc for the baby
  • A car seat for the trip home

Postnatal - The Baby

What happens straight after the birth?

After the birth, a paediatrician, midwife or neonatal nurse will check your baby is well and offer a newborn physical exam within 72 hours of birth. The examination includes screening tests to find out if your baby has any problems with their eyes, heart, hips and, in boys, testicles (testes).

The midwife will check your baby for common post-birth issues, such as: 

  • jaundice
  • infection of the umbilical cord or eyes
  • thrush in the mouth

When your baby is 5 days old, you will be offered a blood spot (heel prick) test, which involves taking a blood sample to find out if your baby has 1 of 9 rare but serious health conditions.

You should be offered a hearing screening test before your baby is 5 weeks old. 

If you have not already contacted the surgery to register your baby, someone will be in touch to arrange the registration and get you booked in for a 6 week check for you and your baby. 


Postnatal - The Mother

Your body after birth.

Skin-to-skin contact after the birth is important, as it helps to keep the baby warm, helps get breastfeeding started and helps with bonding. 

A midwife will help you choose whether you want to breastfeed, feed with formula or combine the two. 

You will likely experience postnatal bleeding (lochia), which typically stops by the time your baby is around 12 weeks old. If you experience any of the following, contact your GP or midwife as you may have an infection:

  • a high temperature over 38C
  • the bleeding smells unusual for you
  • tummy pain that gets worse
  • the bleeding gets heavier or doesn't get any less
  • lumps (clots) in the blood
  • pain between the vagina and anus (perineum) that gets worse

If you experience bleeding that suddenly gets heavier or you feel faint, dizzy, or have a pounding heart, call 999 immediately. This could mean you're having a very heavy bleed (postpartum haemorrhage) and need emergency treatment.

Please follow the link for further information on postnatal early days, including information on feeding, how to cope, sex and contraception, etc.