In this section
If you haven't already started taking folic acid, the NHS recommends that you start taking 400mcgs of folic acid in the first trimester (conception through to 12 weeks).
This has shown to significantly decrease any neural tube defects such as spina bifida.
If you are diabetic, epileptic, have a family history of neural tube defects such as spina bifida or a BMI over 30, please see your GP, as you may need a higher dose.
Smoking in pregnancy is very harmful to your health and the health of your baby.
Stopping smoking will help both you and your baby immediately, and reducing smoking means harmful gases, such as carbon monoxide, and other damaging chemicals will clear from your body.
Smoking is linked to pregnancy loss, premature birth, miscarriage and still birth.
Smoking in pregnancy also increases the risk of:
The sooner you stop smoking, the better, but even if you stop in the last few weeks of your pregnancy this will benefit you and your baby.
Talk to your midwife or GP about services to help you quit, and visit:
While evidence is unclear on how much alcohol is harmful during pregnancy, the Chief Medical Officer advises pregnant women to avoid alcohol altogether. Drinking in pregnancy can lead to long-term harm to the baby; the more you drink, the greater the risk.
If you are worried about your drinking and need support, please speak to your GP or midwife or contact Swanswell.
It is important for both you and your baby to have a healthy weight in pregnancy; but losing weight during pregnancy may not be safe.
However, it is important to minimise further weight gain, and we can support you with this: please speak to your midwife.
Eating a well-balanced diet combined with physical activity is beneficial for all pregnant women - remember, exercise doesn't have to be strenuous to be beneficial.
There is no normal way to feel during pregnancy and everyone is different. Mental health difficulties during pregnancy and in the months after giving birth can happen to anyone.
Pregnancy can be a joyful time, but sometimes it can be stressful and difficult.
For information on how we can help you and your family, please see mental health.
Download the mum & baby ('m&b') app, your personal NHS guide for pregnancy, birth and beyond.
The app offers evidence-based information on pregnancy, birth and postnatal care, along with local information and options to track appointments and choose your place of birth.
Search for 'mum & baby' in the Apple Store or Google Play.
You can develop your own Personalised Care Plan to share with midwives and doctors, either electronically or on paper, available in five languages.
Personal care plan documents
If you are pregnant following a loss before 20 weeks your midwife will support you and you may find the resources available at the Miscarriage Association helpful.
If you are pregnant following a loss after 20 weeks your community midwife will refer you to our Rainbow Service.