Your health during pregnancy
When you first learn that you’re pregnant, it’s important to contact an NHS professional as soon as possible. Find out what to do to stay healthy during your pregnancy.
Last updated: 10 January 2023
Staying healthy during your pregnancy is important, for you and your baby.
NHS UK has a range of helpful tips and advice on how to stay healthy during pregnancy.
NHS.UK prenatal and postnatal exercise
NHS pregnancy care
You should book an appointment with your community midwife as soon as you know you’re pregnant. You can also make a doctor’s appointment, and your GP can put you in touch with your community midwife.
The first meeting with your midwife, sometimes called a booking appointment, will last up to 2 hours and may take place at:
- a hospital
- your GP surgery
In order to give you the best pregnancy care, your midwife will ask you about your health, the health of your family, and your preferences for your pregnancy care.
Your midwife will also arrange a number of tests and scans, some of which will be carried out throughout your pregnancy. The results of your tests may affect your choices later in pregnancy, so it’s important not to miss them.
We've set up a playlist of short films providing you and your partner with some information on your pregnancy, birth and the early days with your baby.
You should consider taking a supplement containing 10 micrograms of vitamin D between September and March, if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
You may be at added risk of not having enough vitamin D if:
- you have dark skin (for example, if you're of African, Caribbean or South Asian origin)
- you rarely expose your skin to the sun, for example, if you always cover your skin when outside or spend lots of time indoors
You may need to consider taking a daily supplement of vitamin D all year. Talk to a midwife or doctor if you think this applies to you.
When you’re pregnant, your midwife will talk to you about the risks of smoking and offer you support to give up. This includes:
- smoking cigarettes
- smoking shisha
- chewing tobacco
If you smoke, your midwife will check your CO2 levels and refer you to our local stop smoking service, Healthy Lifestyles Gloucestershire.
People are 4 times more likely to give up smoking when they access specialist support teams. The Healthy Lifestyles team can help you identify small changes you can make, and support you to achieve them.
They can help you give up smoking, be more active, and improve your overall wellbeing. You can also contact them on 0800 122 3788.
Risks relating to race and ethnicity
We are working hard to reduce the increased risks that affect people from Black, Asian and ethnic minority backgrounds during pregnancy. Steps we are taking include:
- implementing new care guidance as it’s published by Royal Colleges and NHS England
- developing a pregnancy specific COVID-19 assessment tool that includes ethnicity as a risk factor
- regular monitoring of outcomes for families from Black, Asian and ethnic minority backgrounds
- adapting services to better suit families from different cultures and backgrounds
We welcome your views on culturally appropriate maternity care. You can get in touch on Twitter, @glosbetterbirth and @gloshospitals.
You can also give feedback through the Maternity Voices Partnership (MVP).
Mental health and wellbeing
You may feel more vulnerable and anxious while pregnant and after giving birth, so you should have the opportunity to speak about your mental health with:
- your midwife
- your health visitor
- your GP
This will give you the opportunity to talk about any concerns and get any help you need.
If you have a mental health problem during pregnancy or in the first year after giving birth, you may need more urgent care to support you and your baby.
Don’t be afraid to talk about how you feel with your midwife, GP or a psychiatrist. They will be able to offer you support and extra care.
The NHS UK website has a range of helpful advice on mental health during pregnancy. You can also find additional support from: