What things can I do to have a healthy pregnancy?
A healthy diet and lifestyle during pregnancy is very important
for your baby, and will have long-term beneficial effects for both
you and your child.
Try to follow a healthy, balanced diet based around the four
main food groups;
- Carbohydrates (e.g. pasta, rice, bread, potatoes, cereal…)
- Fruit and vegetables– aim to eat 5 portions a day (e.g. apples,
bananas, oranges, tomatoes, broccoli, leaks, carrots…)
- Protein (e.g. meat, fish, beans, eggs…)
- Dairy Products (e.g. milk, cheese, yoghurt…)
Try to drink plenty of fluids , such as water and
fruit juices, as this helps the body to get rid of toxins and waste
products and can also help to prevent constipation and nausea.
However there are some foods you should avoid
- Liver and liver products including Cod liver oil
- Vitamin tablets or supplements that contain vitamin A
- Undercooked meats and eggs
- Mold-ripened soft cheeses
- Raw shellfish or fish
- Fish that contains alot of mercury eg shark, marlin, swordfish
or excess tuna
- Unpasteurised milk
- Excess caffeine e.g no more than 2 cups of instant coffee
All women who are trying to get pregnant should take a daily
supplement of folic acid to help reduce the risk of problems
developing with the baby's spine and brain. You should also take
this supplement for the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, a time when
your baby's spine is developing.
You can get folic acid tablets from pharmacies, large
supermarkets, health food stores, or from your GP. Natural sources
of folic acid include green leafy vegetables, breakfast cereals and
bread. If you are on medication for a condition such as epilepsy,
it is important to check with your GP before taking folic acid.
This is because some types of medication work against folic
If you are trying to get pregnant, or you are pregnant already,
and you smoke, you are strongly advised to give up. Smoking can
seriously damage your baby's development, and can also put your own
health at significant risk.
You can call the confidential NHS Pregnancy smoking helpline, on
0800 022 4 332, to speak to a trained advisor who can provide you
with further advice and information. The helpline is open from 12
noon until 9pm every day.
The Department of Health recommends that pregnant women should
avoid drinking alcohol. When you drink, alcohol can reach your baby
through the placenta (the organ that helps protect and nourish your
baby). Drinking too much alcohol while pregnant can affect the way
your baby develops
If you do decide to drink, you should not drink more than 1-2
units of alcohol once or twice a week, and you should not get
drunk. One unit is equivalent to a small glass of wine, or half a
pint of normal-strength beer.
While you are pregnant, regular exercise is important to
maintain your fitness and prepare your body for labour and birth.
You should choose a moderate form of exercise that is not too
vigorous (swimming is a good choice). You should also make sure
that you get plenty of rest and relaxation.
Antenatal yoga classes or water aerobics for pregnant women
(often called aqua-natal classes) are a good way of keeping active,
without putting your body under too much stress. Contact your
midwife, or call your local leisure centre, to find out what is on
offer in your area.