Speak to your GP for personal advice and guidance.
What you put in your body before falling pregnant, during your pregnancy and after the birth can affect your baby. Eating the right foods, knowing what food and drink to avoid, regular exercise and quitting smoking and alcohol are all important if you are to increase your chances of a healthy pregnancy.
You don't need to 'eat for two' while you’re pregnant. An adequate intake of nutrients for your baby’s development is essential – with fewer foods high in salt, sugar and fat. A wide variety of fruits and vegetables of different types and colours every day, will help with any constipation you may experience. Drinking plenty of water is essential. Wholegrain foods – 8 to 8.5 serves a day whilst pregnant is okay. It’s important to eat foods that are high in iron (red meat and tofu), to eat plenty of dairy food e reduced fat milk, yoghurt, cheese for calcium. Caffeine drinks are fine during pregnancy but limit consumption to 2 to 3 cups of coffee or 6 cups of tea a day.
Important not to get food poisoning whilst pregnant, so avoid foods like soft cheeses, pate and raw eggs – they contain bacteria. When preparing and storing food follow good hygiene practices.
Supplements – discuss with your GP, you should take a folic acid supplement and may need to take and iodine supplement.
Healthy weight gain
Being overweight, obese or underweight when you’re pregnant is linked to a range of health problems that can affect both you and your baby – can include stillbirth, preterm birth, birth defects, high blood pressure, gestational diabetes and depression and may affect your ability to breastfeed. Dieting during pregnancy is not recommended as the baby may not get the nutrients they need.
Alcohol consumption increases the risk of miscarriage, stillbirth and premature birth. Heavy drinking can lead to feotal alcohol spectrum disorders which can cause lifelong problems for your child.
Smoking and passive smoking during pregnancy is very harmful to the health of your baby. It increases the risk of pregnancy complications, can lead to low birthweight, sudden infant death syndrome and long-term health issues for your child.
Remain physically active whilst pregnant – moderate intensity activities encouraged of 20 to 40 minutes a day, brisk walking, swimming and cycling are all good choices. Joining a walking group, swim club or yoga class can keep your motivation up.
It’s best to avoid things that could injure your abdomen or put a lot of stress on your joints, like high impact or contact sports. Scuba diving is not suitable for pregnant women. Avoid exercising in the heat of the day and make sure you drink plenty of water while you’re physically active.
If you are planning to get pregnant, make sure you are up to date with your German measles (Rubella) and chickenpox (Varicella) vaccinations. Both of these diseases can cause serious complications for your baby. There are two vaccinations that are supplied free of charge to all pregnant women.
Influenza: Being pregnant puts you at much higher risk of complications from the flu.
Whooping cough: can be deadly for newborn babies. Before they are old enough to be vaccinated, you can protect them by being vaccinated yourself. It’s recommended you have the whooping cough vaccine between 20 and 32 weeks into each pregnancy.
Exposure to chemicals
Substances to avoid during pregnancy include tobacco smoke, some household chemicals, radiation, bacteria and fungi, pressurisation, and chemicals at work.
Getting enough rest
Make sure you get plenty of rest and accept help from other people. You can use relaxation techniques to ease stress and cope with being pregnant. Taking care of your mental health during pregnancy is just as important as taking care of your physical health. Seek help immediately if you are experiencing symptoms of antenatal anxiety or depression.