Your health during pregnancy

If you are pregnant, or even thinking about having a baby, it’s really important that you are as healthy as you possibly can be

It is an ideal time to make lifestyle changes to give yourself the best chance of having a problem free pregnancy and having a healthy baby.

Stomach of pregnant woman with hands making heart sign

Support to stop smoking during pregnancy

Protecting your baby from tobacco smoke is one of the best things you can do to give your child a healthy start in life. Giving up smoking can be hard, but if you're pregnant, now is definitely the time to quit.

It’s hard to imagine when you can’t physically see your baby, but every cigarette you smoke passes through to your baby. As a result, their heart has to beat harder every time you smoke, and it affects their development. Smoking can increase your risk of miscarriage.

There is lots of help and support available and you don’t have to do this alone. Visit our Stop Smoking page or contact your local Stop Smoking Service on 01274 437700.

Alcohol during pregnancy

It's safer not to drink alcohol during pregnancy, or if you are planning to become pregnant, because it can damage your growing baby.

Drinking alcohol during pregnancy increases the risk of miscarriage, premature birth and your baby having a low birthweight. It can also affect your baby after they're born. For more information on how your baby can be affected by alcohol visit the NHS website

If you feel that you need support to cut down on your drinking, there is support available:

  • The NHS have some helpful tips to cut down
  • My living well has a range of online services which may be able to help 

My Living Well Online Support 

  • Contact Drink line on 0300 123 1110 (open weekdays 9am to 8pm and weekends 11am to 4pm)
  • Our service directory has details of local support services that can give you/your family the support you need.

Healthy eating during pregnancy

Eating a healthy, nutritious diet is especially important if you're pregnant, or planning a pregnancy. Your baby relies on you to provide the right balance of nutrients to help them grow and develop properly (even after they're born).

You don't need to spend lots of money or go on a special diet – you just need a balance of the right types of food. These include:

  • Fruit and vegetables
  • Carbohydrates such as bread, potatoes, pasta and cereals
  • Proteins such as meat, fish, beans and pulses
  • Dairy such as milk, cheese and yoghurt

For more information including what foods to avoid visit NHS start4life

Further support for you

Visit our healthy eating page which has online support and ideas for healthier eating and online apps with healthy recipes.

You may be entitled to a Healthy Start card with help to buy milk, fruit and vegetables, pulses and vitamins. Visit our help with food page which explains the scheme and how to apply.

Vitamins and supplements in pregnancy

Having a healthy and varied diet during your pregnancy will ensure that you and your baby get most of the vitamins you need, however it’s important that you also take:

  • a folic acid supplement
  • a vitamin D supplement

For more information visit the NHS start4life website

Where can I get more advice on vitamin supplements?

Vaccinations in pregnancy

Some vaccines, such as the seasonal flu vaccine, the whooping cough vaccine and the Covid-19 vaccine are recommended during pregnancy to protect the health of you and your baby. 

However, there are other vaccines that are not recommended or where it’s important to seek advice from your GP or midwife. Please visit the NHS website for more information.

Did you know?

If you are pregnant or have had a baby in the last 12 months, you are entitled to free dental care. You may have to show proof, such as a maternity exemption certificate (MatEx), a maternity certificate (MATB1), or your baby's birth certificate. For more information on dental treatment and finding a dentist, visit our help with dental care page.