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Combined Antenatal Care

Antenatal Care

Antenatal care is the care you receive from our healthcare professionals during your pregnancy. We will check that you and your baby are well, give you useful information to help you have a healthy pregnancy, including healthy eating and exercise advice and answer any questions you may have.

Starting your antenatal care:

  • When you find out you are pregnant, make an appointment with your GP to confirm your test result and start your antenatal care.
  • This will also help to ensure you receive maternity healthcare that takes into account all your health needs and preferences. Your doctor will calculate an estimated due date and also provide you with a referral letter to present at the maternity hospital of your choice.

In Ireland, all mothers are entitled to free maternity care. You may opt to obtain these services under the Maternity and Infant Care Scheme, which is a system of combined care split between your doctor and maternity unit. Alternatively, you can choose to visit a hospital antenatal clinic as either a Public, Semi-Private or Private patient.

Shared Care Programme

  • Antenatal Care is shared for most patients between their GPs and the maternity antenatal clinic
  • Your first attendance is usually with your GP and you will then attend either your GP or the maternity every 4-5 weeks or so up until 32 weeks, then every 2 weeks to 36 weeks and then weekly after that. 
  • Your booking visit (first attendance) in the maternity is usually in the 12-14 week gestation window. You will have your bloods and a foetal ultrasound scan done. If all is well you may then not need to go back to the maternity until about 28 weeks gestation. You will attend here in the GP surgery every 4-5 weeks

What happens at your first visit?

  • At your first visit you will be given information about folic acid supplements, nutrition, diet and food hygiene, along with information on lifestyle factors that may affect your health or the health of your baby such as smoking, recreational drug use and drinking alcohol.
  • Your pregnancy will then be carefully monitored including your blood pressure and regular urine checks. We will monitor the health and positioning of your baby as pregnancy progresses including readings of the foetal heart rate and the pattern of foetal activity


  • Pregnancy is an immunosuppressed state so vaccination is important both for pregnant mothers and their unborn baby. The influenza vaccine is safe during pregnancy and can be given at any time during the pregnancy (Is available from September to April each year). A whooping cough vaccine (Boostrix) is given usually at the start of the third trimester (27-30 week gestation) to provide protection for the baby when they're born against this disease
  • Covid vaccination is also currently recommended for expectant mothers to protect both themselves and the baby

For further information on Antenatal Care please click on this link:

HSE Information on Shared Pregnancy Care