CALL the midwife – as soon as possible in your pregnancy – is the advice to mums-to-be in the district.

West Yorkshire and Harrogate Local Maternity and Neonatal System is urging women to speak to a midwife as soon as they discover they’re pregnant.

The organisation – which has launched an awareness-raising campaign – says that by receiving antenatal care early, women can access the information and support they need for a healthy pregnancy at the outset.

National guidance recommends that women should be offered a first appointment with a midwife by ten weeks of pregnancy.

A spokesperson says: "Booking an appointment sooner in the pregnancy journey ensures an approach that’s right for the individual and means they’ll get important information about things such as folic acid supplements, access to screening or stopping smoking, all of which will help ensure a healthy pregnancy.

"It also means those with specific needs or risk factors can be identified early."

Sara Hollins is a director of midwifery and chair of the West Yorkshire and Harrogate Local Maternity and Neonatal System inequalities steering group.

She says: "A positive pregnancy test can mean different things for different women, depending on their circumstances. They may be excited, surprised, nervous or confused or experience a mix of emotions. But however they feel, it’s important that they speak to a midwife as soon as possible.

"We know from local data that early booking rates differ in some parts of the region and are much lower in some groups than in others. This can affect the health of both mothers and babies, so we want to make sure that we’re addressing this inequality. That’s why we’re working with our healthcare colleagues and maternity partnerships to increase awareness of the importance of early booking.

"We’ve worked with local women, representative of our diverse communities, to create a campaign that is meaningful, representative and non-judgmental. We’ll be using it to share vital information."

Jenny Roddy, a consultant midwife, says: "Every pregnancy journey is different, but seeing a midwife early is proven to deliver better outcomes for both mum and baby.

"Once you’ve found out that you’re pregnant the most important thing is to make contact and start a conversation. Midwives are here to help, even if you are unsure of whether to continue with the pregnancy.

"Appointments are safe, confidential and accessible to everyone. Find one that suits you at"