Planned or unplanned, you are pregnant and have no clue on what to do next. Sounds familiar... I think that happened to me.
Asking around for help and speaking to people is always good. However, the easiest thing to do if you find out that you are pregnant would be to speak to your local GP (doctor). Your first appointment with a doctor will provide you with all the options available and all that you need to know for your journey to parenthood.
In Asia, a common process would be to see a gynecologist who would be your dedicated doctor from day 0 till delivery, with a concept of confinement nanny's who will stay with you for the first month post delivery to help you with the baby and nurse you back to help. You may find the UK's variation a bit alarming but approach it with an open mind!
Things to note
Giving birth in the UK as a resident is typically free and covered by the NHS unless you choose a private care option but why pay when you can get wonderful healthcare for free!
You will rarely get to see a gynecologist throughout the pregnancy - and this is actually a good thing! The birth process is often led by a midwife who is not a doctor but a professionally qualified individual who is well trained with dealing with pregnancy. Doctors usually come in to play only if the pregnancy is deemed complicated so its actually a good thing that you do not have to see them.
The Asian concept of a confinement nanny has an equivalent called "doula". Look this up and you can find a similar offering. Unfortunately doula's are a little more costly given that cost of labour is generally higher in the UK
Scans are covered by the NHS but if you would like to go for extra scans, these can be done privately at your own cost of GBP100-200 more. We chose to have an early pregnancy scan for our peace of mind and also because we were quite excited to see our creation!
Delivering your baby can be done at home or at the hospital with various methods such as natural birth, water birth etc. The water birth concept to some may sound outdated if you come from a different country but is a hugely popular and well advocated method here as a form of natural birth. Choose what you are comfortable with and speak to your doctor about it
This link shows a map of places where you can choose to deliver. The most convenient option would be to choose a place near where you live but word of mouth recommends UCLH and St Thomas' Hospital as the to go places for delivery. My child will probably be delivered at UCLH and we will update with posts as we go along.
Alternatively, if you have some cash to burn, St. Mary's Hospital is a great place for bragging rights. It's private wing will lighten your wallet but you get to tell your friends that your child was born in the same hospital as loads of British aristocracy.
We hope to post our pregnancy journey here so let us know what you would be interested to read!