Before you get pregnant

Before you get pregnant

It is a good idea to prepare by making healthy choices to support your body and your health, whether you are thinking about having a baby or are newly pregnant. Every small step can help you on your journey, and even a few changes to your lifestyle can help boost your health and wellbeing. 

A healthy diet, adequate rest and movement are great ways to get started, but taking appropriate vitamins and supplements can also be of huge help.

The NHS can help you with our stopping smoking service too. 

Diet and nutrition

What you eat and drink can make a real difference to your health and help you feel at your best! By eating a wide variety of healthy food in the right proportions and staying hydrated, you can help achieve a healthy body weight and boost your wellbeing.

A balanced diet includes fruit, vegetables, oily fish and fibre, reducing the amount of saturated fat and processed food. It is also important in pregnancy to increase your intake of iron-rich foods. By making a few simple changes to your diet, you can help yourself and your future baby to stay fit and well.

If you have a raised body mass index or are overweight, it is helpful to try to reduce this before starting a pregnancy because this will also reduce your risk of health complications in pregnancy as well as helping with conceiving. .

You can find out more about weight and pregnancy here. 

There are some foods that are important to avoid in pregnancy, information about these can be found here.

 

Vitamins and Supplements in pregnancy

Folic Acid

A folic acid supplement helps to reduce problems in your baby's development in the first wew weeks of pregnancy. This can help prevent conditions such as spina bifida and other conditions relating to the neural tube.

It is generally recommended that you take 400mcg of Folic Acid every day whilst trying to conceive and until you are 12 weeks pregnant unless advised otherwise. 

If you haven't started taking folic acid and you are newly pregnant, it is important to start taking a supplement as soon as possible. 

Folic Acid is in prenatal and pregnancy multivitamins which can be bought at most pharmacies and supermarkets. You may be able to qualify for free vitamins if you qualify for the Healthy Start scheme.

Some people may need a higher dose of Folic Acid if your chance higher of your pregnancy being affected by neural tube defects. You will be advised to take 5mg of Folic Acid by your midwife or healthcare professional if needed.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is important for our bones, muscles and teeth. It is generally reccomended that you take 10mcg of Vitamin D each day. Vitamin D is usually absorbed through the sun but if you are pregnant then extra support is important to help the development of your baby’s bones.

Vitamin D is found in prenatal and pregnancy multivitamins or can be bought separately from most pharmacies and supermarkets.

Sometimes you may need a higher dose If you are covered, for example, wear a Hijab or other covering, then this is even more important. Speak to your midwife, GP or other Healthcare Professional about the correct dose.

Diabetes

If you become pregnant and you have diabetes, you should go on to have a healthy baby. It is important that you involve your care team as soon as possible if you are planning to have a baby or are newly pregnant.

Pregnancy can affect the control you have over your diabetes and can affect your baby's development. Involving your care team will make sure you have the right support throughout your pregnancy.

You can find out more about diabetes and pregnancy here. 

 

Pre existing medical conditions

If you have any pre existing medical conditions then it may be beneficial to discuss with your GP or your medical team caring for you your plans to get pregnant. This is so they can support you and make any plans that may be needed for the health of you and your baby.

Last updated: June 17, 2024.