What is #ReadyforPregnancy?
We’ll be posting on different topics each month to help you and your baby get off to the best possible start before and during your pregnancy.
You can learn more about pregnancy, birth and parenting
There are lots of antenatal classes and online resources where you can learn more about pregnancy, birth and parenting. Find out more about what is available in your area for when you become pregnant. More information is also available here: Tommys (Pregnancy health information).
#ReadyforPregnancy covers the following topic areas:
Take regular exercise
If you're not used to exercising, or haven't done any for a while, now is a good time to start. Try starting off with 10 minutes of daily activity. You can then build up to 150 minutes of weekly exercise.
Eat a healthy diet
Eating a healthy, nutritious diet is especially important if you're planning a pregnancy. Your baby relies on you to provide the right balance of nutrients to help them grow and develop properly (even after they're born).
By aiming for a healthy weight, you increase your chances of conceiving naturally and having a healthy pregnancy and baby.
Perinatal Mental Health
It's common for women to experience mental ill health for the first time in pregnancy. Women may feel more vulnerable and anxious, and some may develop depression.
If you've got a mental health condition and are planning to have a baby, discuss your plans with your GP or psychiatrist. Your doctor can discuss with you:
- your medicine
- how pregnancy might affect your mental health
- how your mental health might affect your pregnancy
- the care you can expect
This is called pre-pregnancy or pre-conception counselling and can help you and your doctor plan for the healthiest start for you and your baby.
Quitting smoking is the most important thing you and your partner can do to give your baby the best start in life. Men who smoke can suffer from reduced quality sperm and erection difficulties. If you are planning a pregnancy or already expecting talk to your GP practice, midwife or local stop smoking service about the support available to quit.
Some infections, such as rubella (German measles), can harm your baby if you catch them during pregnancy. The Measles, Mumps and Rubella vaccine (MMR) will protect you and your baby. If you have not been vaccinated or are unsure whether you have been vaccinated, call your GP to see whether they have a record. If you have no record, of receiving them, make an appointment to get vaccinated.
Around one in seven couples may have difficulty conceiving, for a range of reasons.
Couples can take various steps to boost their chances of conceiving by making lifestyle changes to improve their physical and mental health.
There are also fertility treatments which are available - dependent on applicants meeting the necessary criteria.
Focus on alcohol
Many women ask how much is safe to drink during pregnancy. The safest approach is not to drink at all. If you do drink you should avoid getting drunk and try to limit alcohol to the occasional drink and not more than one or two units once or twice a week. Alcohol can damage sperm production, so men should cut down on drinking too.
It's recommended that all women who could get pregnant should take a daily supplement of folic acid. You should take a 400 microgram supplement of folic acid every day before you get pregnant, and every day afterwards, up until you're 12 weeks pregnant. Folic acid reduces the risk of your baby having a neural tube defect, such as spina bifida. If you're pregnant or breastfeeding you should also consider taking a daily vitamin D supplement.
Where to find more information
We have a range of leaflets in english and other languages, available for you to download.
There's more support on how to be #ReadyforPregnancy from:
The NHS website including:
Do you have an existing health condition such as diabetes and want to get #ReadyforPregnancy?
Talk with your GP about your plans to make sure you’re as healthy as you can be before starting your pregnancy.
"I am really excited about this campaign which highlights how important it is for women and their partners to have an opportunity to improve their health before they start trying for a baby. Especially having a good diet, being a healthy weight, and not smoking or drinking will increase the chance of a healthy pregnancy and baby.
"Over the next year there will be fun messages on different topics each month and you can listen to other women’s experiences as well as receiving useful facts and signposting to many more resources.
"So if you are thinking about trying for a baby make sure you are #ReadyforPregnancy."
Dr Liz Brutus, Slough Borough Council Public Health Consultant, Frimley LMS – Chair - Preconception & Maternal Health Group
Take a look at the following short interviews with mums giving tips on various subjects from getting fit and eating healthily, to breastfeeding and managing pregnancy with a long term condition.