As soon as you find out you’re pregnant, make an appointment with your midwife.
That’s the message NHS Western Isles is sending out to women across the Western Isles.
All pregnant women are being reminded to book into their local maternity services before 12 weeks to ensure they are aware of and understand the full range of screening options available and have their individual health needs met.
The first midwife appointment aims to ensure the best long-term care is provided for each woman and her baby.
Women’s health needs can be different, so support may be given around things like eating well, exercise, dental care, smoking, drinking, money and housing.
NHS Western Isles Senior Midwifery Manager Catherine Macdonald said: “We want to make sure women across the Western Isles are aware that you can make your first midwife appointment as soon as you know you’re pregnant.
Pregnancy tests are so accurate now that a positive result is enough to book you directly into maternity services – you don’t usually need to see a GP to confirm it.
“If you’re pregnant, seeing your midwife early is the best way to support you and your baby’s wellbeing. Just call your local Maternity Unit or contact your GP surgery and ask to make an appointment with the midwife.”
One local mum commented: “Even though I’d been pregnant before, it was very reassuring to speak with the midwife early on in my second pregnancy.
“It’s important, not only to get a lot of information that I’d not remembered well since my first pregnancy, to go over new screening options, and to speak through any concerns I had.
“My pathway of care is different with my second pregnancy, so it was comforting to talk about and understand how things would be different the second time around.”
While women are being offered the option of a midwife as first professional contact, the choice of seeing a GP at any point in the woman’s pregnancy remains available.