FINDING out you are pregnant for the first time can be a very overwhelming experience, in fact even experienced mothers can find it to be a very daunting prospect.

But as far back in time as Ancient Egypt there has been a band of woman helping welcome the next generation into the world.

Midwives have played the main role in ensuring newborns and mothers are safe, cared for and healthy in both body and spirit for hundreds of years.

With the founding of the NHS in 1948 there was increased interest in maternal health, with a push towards more births in hospital.

Over the years, though, doctors and general practitioners have stepped more to the forefront of people's minds but a new initiative is hoping to change all that.

Midwives have launched a campaign to let the women in Bolton of the importance of booking their first appointment with them as soon as possible when they believe they are pregnant.

Coming straight to the midwife team early means the mum-to-be can benefit from the necessary health checks, help identify any issues as soon as possible and get the care needed.

Jane Coyne, midwifery matron at Bolton NHS Foundation Trust, has been a midwife for 20 years and a team leader at the Bolton community team for 10 years.

She said: "As community midwives it's important to have women visit us as soon as possible.

"We can put a plan in place to care for her and her family.

"Some women like to go through a GP or a doctor, but midwives are the experts in pregnancy, we help put a plan in place and do the health checks. Even in your first few weeks we are there to provide the support.

"Maybe if it is your first pregnancy you're not quite sure who to go to, but you can ring us direct and we are out there in the community.

"Midwives are the first point of contact after finding out you are pregnant and you can build a relationship early with members of the team and that is really important.

"In the women's community they know us, remember us from previous pregnancies, and we have been there from the start right through to birth and visit them and their baby afterwards."

There are three teams of community midwives operating in Bolton, with approximately 10 midwives working in each one, and a further two teams operating in Bury and Prestwich.

It is recommended that the woman should visit a midwife in a community setting and they can be found through local health, children’s centre and GP’s surgery.

The midwife or GP will then help the woman to put a plan in place to support her and her family to have as normal a pregnancy and birth experience as possible.

Early contact with the midwifery team is recommended for a number of reasons, most importantly so that the woman’s bloods can be screened. This allows the team to ensure that any issues are identified as soon as possible and the appropriate care given.

Booking bloods should ideally be taken between eight-10 weeks of pregnancy, and all women should be seen before their 13th week of pregnancy to have their individual needs identified and their first scan booked.

Jane explains: "Early booking means that if extra help is going to be needed throughout her pregnancy, we can establish what this is and put plans in place.

"It also gives us more time to help women with information regarding where they’d like to give birth, be that at the Princess Anne Maternity Unit at Royal Bolton Hospital or at home, and their health and wellbeing during pregnancy.

"You can go back to the BBC series Call the Midwife when home births happened a lot more, we are going back to that now.

"If it is safe to do so, a home birth is often the best choice.

She adds: "We are always busy, there are always people waiting to come into the world. We see our population rising all the time and we want to help care for those young ones as soon as possible.

"As community midwives we have the best job in the world, we are experts providing pregnancy care and love building new relationships with mum's getting to know someone, their family and helping see them all the way through to the first few weeks after birth."

“If you think you’re pregnant, don’t delay, and call the midwife today!”

The community midwives can be contacted on 01204 390023, or for more information visit