Follow the steps of mum's journey, from the early days of pregnancy through to baby's first few days, by clicking the links below.
When you become pregnant, your first contact is with a midwife, who records details of your medical history and assesses how healthy you are. The midwife will find out if your pregnancy is progressing smoothly.
If there are no problems with either your health or that of your unborn baby, you will be able to receive all your care at the Inverclyde CMU all the way through to giving birth. You will be able to do this even if this is your first baby.
If your are expecting twins (or even more babies!), you will receive all your care from midwives up until the time you are due but - purely as a precaution - you will be asked to give birth in a Consultant-led unit, usually the one at the Royal Alexandria Hospital.
If there are any concerns whatsoever about your health, or that of your baby, you will receive your care jointly between the local midwives and consultants at the Royal Alexandra Hospital. You will give birth at the Royal Alexandra Hospital.
However, for most mums this is just a precaution as most births go absolutely smoothly and good planning by staff will mean there is little to worry about.
At 12 weeks you will be offered an ultrasound scan and this will allow midwives to estimate when your baby is due.
During your pregnancy you will be invited to attend a series of workshop sessions which are designed to help you prepare for birth and getting ready to be a mum. These will cover subjects like:
We don't forget about your partner or birth supporter either - they can come to workshop sessions too and find out how they can help you during the birth and beyond.
A blood test is offered at 15 - 16 weeks into the pregnancy in order to screen for any problems. Four or five weeks later, this is followed by a second ultrasound scan, which is intended to provide a more detailed look at the baby - by this time you will be starting to feel the baby's first movements.
At 24 weeks you will have an ante-natal appointment with your midwife, during which she will check the baby's growth and listen to his or her heartbeat. If you are a first-time mum, you will have another appointment with the midwife at 32 weeks.
At 34 weeks, you are getting close to the time of the birth. You will be offered more blood tests to find out if you need extra iron and you will be given a chance to look around the CMU's birthing suite. At 38 weeks first-time mums will have another appointment with their midwife.
When the time comes to give birth to your baby, it is important that you feel relaxed in your surroundings.
Labour and birth
Inverclyde CMU's birthing suite, along with the rest of the unit, was completely refurbished and is state of the art.
In particular, we have installed a new birthing pool, which you can use to help you stay comfortable during labour and give birth in if you choose. We also provide birth mats, birthing balls and birthing stools. You can bring in your own CDs, or choose from a selection we provide, and have the lights dimmed in order make the birth as peaceful and private as possible.
It is these kinds of things that can help you in controlling pain. Before giving birth, your midwife will have spend some time discussing this with you and will help you to overcome your worries and fears.
Massage, relaxing music, breathing techniques and the birthing pool can make all the difference - but if these are not enough, you can have Entonox (gas and air) and, if appropriate, the drug pethidine to help make contractions less pain. Like every drug, this has drawbacks and these will have been explained to you by your midwife.