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This may cover details such as why you need folic acid and information about healthy eating.

However, you may have another booking appointment as a result. It may help to jot down in advance anything you want to know.

You'll have a lot to take in at this first visit.

Your booking appointment is your first official antenatal appointment.

It provides your midwife with valuable background information about you.

Your blood will be sent off to the local lab to check: Screening tests Your midwife may also ask if you want a blood sample taken to be screened for your baby's risk of Down's syndrome and spina bifida. You can change your mind and withdraw your permission at any time.

However, the types of screening tests on offer, and when and where they are done may vary according to where you live. Different countries may have different data-protection rules than your own.

You'll find out whether you'll have to go to different places for your appointments. [pdf file, accessed July 2011] Lynn F, Mc Neill J, Alderdice F. Current trends in antenatal screening services: results from a regional survey. National Collaborating Centre for Women's and Children's Health, Clinical guideline.

She'll also give you your maternity notes to keep with you between appointments.

Your midwife or GP won't book your booking appointment before eight weeks, because, sadly, the chance of miscarriage is highest before this time.

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