Campaign launched to help women prepare for pregnancy
A campaign has been launched to encourage women across East Berkshire, Surrey Heath and North East Hampshire and Farnham to get fit and healthy before they try for a baby.
Launched on June 1, #ReadyforPregnancy aims to raise awareness of how women’s health when they get pregnant affects them and their baby not only throughout their pregnancy, but also at birth.
Running across local authorities, NHS organisations and local support groups, the campaign will focus on a different aspect of health each month:
- Taking regular exercise
- Eating a healthy diet
- Starting pregnancy at a healthy weight
- Stopping smoking
- Taking folic acid to prepare for your pregnancy
- Looking after your mental health
- Cutting out of alcohol
- Helping your fertility
- Checking your vaccinations are up to date
- Learning more about breastfeeding
- Learning more about pregnancy, birth and parenting
- Understanding the implications of existing health conditions, such as diabetes
A raised body mass index (BMI) in a pregnant woman can affect the way a baby develops in the womb and it also increases the risk of miscarriage. Being overweight also makes it more likely that the baby will be larger, raising the chances of complications at birth.*
Consultant Gynaecologist & Obstetrician, Dr Anne Deans, who is also the Chief of Service Obstetrics and Gynaecology for Frimley Health, said: “There is a clear link between a mother’s health before pregnancy, the risks she is exposed to or exposes herself to, and her baby’s health. We know that healthy women have fewer complications in pregnancy are more likely to have healthy babies, who grow into healthy children. Partners also have a role to play by staying healthy.
“We’re excited to be launching #ReadyforPregnancy, which will help raise awareness of things that women can do before conception to improve fertility, pregnancy health and their babies future health.
“It’s particularly important because we know that women often don’t consult a health professional before becoming pregnant and are not aware of how they can reduce risks.”
The campaign has been created with the help of local women and families via Maternity Voices Partnership, an independent NHS advisory group run by local women that works with staff at hospital maternity departments, and other bodies such as Healthwatch, to ensure the service is tailored to local need by listening to families’ feedback.
Emma Taylor, representing Maternity Voices Partnerships in the Thames Valley area, said: “We are really excited about this campaign to raise awareness of the importance of becoming healthy before trying to have a baby. Women often don’t realise how their health at the start of their pregnancy will affect their choices around birth at the end of pregnancy, or how their health before pregnancy might affect their baby’s health.
Ms Taylor, who also represents women and families on the national Maternity Transformation Programme, added: “It’s so important that women have all the information they need to make their own informed choices before and during pregnancy, and this campaign will help them to make small changes that will make big differences to both them and their baby.”
In addition to the monthly focuses, the campaign will promote the ‘Planning for pregnancy’ online tool developed by Tommy’s charity to give women/couples all they need to know about how to improve the health of their future pregnancy and child.
For more information, click here.
*Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists: https://www.rcog.org.uk/en/patients/patient-leaflets/being-overweight-pregnancy-after-birth/