Below is some helpful information for you concerning your pregnancy. If you have any questions you can contact your Midwife (contact details below).

  • 1. If you are pregnant reception will book you in as soon as possible to see a doctor who can refer you for your antenatal care.
  • 2. In Tower Hamlets you have a choice about where to have your baby – either at the Royal London Hospital, the Barkantine Birth Centre or at home. If you wish to be referred to a different hospital to have your baby then they will take over all of your antenatal care and you will not be offered routine appointments with the GP or Midwives here at Island Health or at the Barkantine.
  • 3. After your first visit to see the GP you will then be sent an appointment to see a midwife at the Royal London Hospital to talk about your pregnancy, your medical history and to plan appropriate care. The 12 week scan will also be done at this appointment. At this appointment you will receive more information about what to expect during your pregnancy and the schedule of appointments. You will also be able to ask any questions that you might have.
  • 4. If you have any questions or would like more information before your first appointment at 12 weeks, there is a weekly midwife drop in information session at the Barkantine Birth Centre on Mondays 18:00 – 18:30 and Sundays 13:30 – 14:00. Other sessions are available elsewhere too; please ask at Reception for details.
  • 5. A further scan is offered at 20 weeks to look at the baby in more detail.
  • 6. Your due date (also called expected date of delivery) is calculated 9 months and 7 days (40 weeks) from the first day of your last normal period. This calculation works if your menstrual cycle is regular and your periods are every 28 days.
  • 7. Some blood tests will be arranged by your Midwife at your first appointment. The results will be given to you at your next appointment with the GP.
  • 8. Information about how to book antenatal classes will be given to you and your first Midwife appointment.
  • 9. Please bring a midstream urine test to your appointments with the GP (reception can give you a sample pot).This helps to use the time in your appointment effectively.


If you have any abdominal pain and bleeding during your pregnancy then contact the GP/Out-of-hours doctors to be seen urgently. For any non-urgent queries please contact your Midwife.


Recommended in pregnancy……

  • Taking folic acid (400 micrograms a day) during the first 12 weeks of your pregnancy.
  • Taking a vitamin D supplement (colecalciferol 400 international units a day) during the whole of your pregnancy to prevent neonatal rickets.
  • Healthy start vitamins contain both folic acid and vitamin D and can be prescribed by your midwife. If you prefer you can buy your own over-the-counter preparation after discussion with a pharmacist.
  • Eat a healthy diet. Include foods rich in iron, calcium and folic acid. Also some oily fish.
  • Gentle exercise is beneficial in pregnancy.
  • Strict food hygiene. Wash your hands after handling raw meat and fish, handling cats/kittens and before your prepare food.
  • Wear gloves when you are gardening

Things you should avoid in pregnancy……

  • Smoking –we strongly advise you to give up smoking as it harms both you and your baby. Ask your Midwife or GP for more information and support about giving up.
  • Alcohol – you are advised not to drink any alcohol during your pregnancy
  • Too much vitamin A – don’t eat liver or liver products, or take vitamin A supplements.
  • Listeriosis – don’t eat undercooked meat or eggs, soft cheese, paté, shellfish, raw fish or unpasteurised milk.
  • Fish which contains a lot of mercury – shark, Marlin, swordfish or excess tuna.
  • Sheep, lambs, cat’s faeces and cat litter.
  • Too much caffeine – try and limit yourself to one or two cups of tea or coffee a day


Contact details
Riverside Midwives / Barkantine Birth Centre – 0207 791 8300

Island Health (GP) – 0207 363 1111 during surgery hours. After this time you will be re-routed to the Out-of-hours service.

Out-of-hours service 0207 377 7151

In case of emergency related to your pregnancy call Labour ward at the Royal London – 0207 377 7170

Bengali maternity advocates – 0207 377 7402


Other sources of information – for pregnancy information. Emma’s diary has medical information for you. It also has advice about maternity leave and benefits. – under the women’s health section.

What do I do if I am pregnant?