How to have a healthy pregnancy

Smoking in Pregnancy - You can stop smoking.

There has never been a better time to quit smoking.

Smoking in pregnancy is harmful for you and your baby.

Smoking increases the risk of miscarriage and stillbirth.

Smoking also increases the risk of your baby being underweight or being born too early – in both instances, a baby that is small due to smoking is not a healthy baby.

You will reduce these risks if you can give up smoking. You and your baby will benefit if you can give up, no matter how late in your pregnancy, though the sooner the better.

Stop smoking

Healthy eating in pregnancy.

There is now a lot of evidence that show that the nine months of pregnancy and the first two years of a baby’s life (sometimes referred to as the 1001 critical days) – are a really important window of opportunity to get food and nutrition right for every individual.

Eating healthily during pregnancy will not only help your baby to grow and develop but help your body cope with the additional demands that come during pregnancy, so that your nutrition needs and those of your baby are met.

Most of the vitamins and minerals you need during pregnancy will come from foods however it is advised to:

  • take a 400 micrograms folic acid tablet every day before you’re pregnant and until you’re 12 weeks pregnant.
  • Take 10 micrograms (400 International Units) of Vitamin D every day during pregnancy (and if you are breastfeeding)

See below to find out about what good nutrition means for pregnant women.  This might include the Healthy Start scheme – ask your midwife for details.

Healthy Eating

Oral Health during Pregnancy

Looking after your teeth and gums is important for everyone, including if you are pregnant.

To keep your mouth healthy during pregnancy:

    • before brushing, clean daily between the teeth to below the gum line using floss or tape to remove small bits of food from between your teeth
    • brush your teeth at least twice a day for 2 minutes
    • brush last thing at night and at least on one other occasion
    • use a toothpaste that has 1350 – 1500 parts per million (ppm) of fluoride in it (this will be on the ingredient list).
    • spit out after brushing but don’t rinse (this is to keep the fluoride on your teeth)
    • use an alcohol-free fluoride mouthwash once a day at a different time to brushing

You are entitled to free NHS dental treatment during pregnancy and in the first year afterwards.

Further information about oral health, dentist appointments and ways to protect teeth.

Oral Health

Physical Activity

Staying active during pregnancy is so important for your physical and mental health. It will also help you to cope with labour (giving birth) and getting back into shape in the months after the birth. Look online for some good videos – there are pregnancy yoga sessions and other exercise classes online.

You can also go out for walks in places that aren’t busy, as long as you stay two meters from others. Getting out in the fresh air can be really beneficial.

Exercise is not dangerous for your baby. There is evidence that those who are active are less likely to experience problems in later pregnancy and labour.

Click to view the infographic below:

exercise pregnancy

Find out more, including exercise tips and advice through the links below:

The NHS website has tips and advice about exercise during pregnancy.

Tommy’s has a wide range of articles and tips about staying active during pregnancy.

The NCT website provides some ideas for exercise during pregnancy and discusses the benefits of this.

Alcohol in pregnancy.

If I’m planning to be or I am pregnant can I drink alcohol?

Drinking any alcohol while pregnant can put your baby at risk. Even small amounts of alcohol can enter your baby’s body as it develops. As there is no known safe amount of alcohol to drink when pregnant, your midwife will recommend that no alcohol is always the safest choice. No alcohol means no risk. 

Click on the video below:

 

Your child could be born early, or seriously underweight. They could even end up with a form of brain damage known as Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). This video explains FASD:

 

Click below to learn more.

Alcohol and Pregnancy

Pregnancy Yoga

Yoga is a great way to stay active and look after your wellbeing during and after pregnancy. Find out more about the benefits of yoga in pregnancy at the Tommy’s website.

Have a look at this prenatal and postnatal yoga video on the NHS website.

Check out the video below for some easy pregnancy poses and head over to the Tommy’s website for more information: