Planning for a baby checklist

Pregnancy 101

Read below how you improve your chances of getting pregnant.

So you have had the time to measure the trials and tribulations and the prospect of having a child is no longer daunting.

What do you do next?

Follow the steps given on this page to having a healthy pregnancy. Read more.

Folic Acid

Take a 400 microgram (400mcg) supplement of folic acid every day while you’re trying to get pregnant, and up until you’re 12 weeks pregnant.

Folic acid reduces the risk of your baby having a neural tube defect. Should you  be receiving treatment for other conditions speak to your local pharmacy or medical practitioner to receive advice and similarly for those who wish to receive a prescription.

Don’t worry if you get pregnant unexpectedly and weren’t taking folic acid supplements. Start taking them as soon as you find out, until you’re past the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. Further information can be found here.

Stopping smoking

Smoking during pregnancy has been linked to a variety of health problems, including:

  • premature birth
  • low birth weight
  • sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) – also known as cot death
  • miscarriage
  • breathing problems or wheezing in the first six months of life

You can find useful information on the dangers of smoking during pregnancy and advice on how to stop on the smoke free website.

Quitting can be hard, no matter how much you want to, but support is available.

Smoke from other people’s cigarettes can damage your baby, so ask your partner, friends and family not to smoke near you.

Seek advice to quit.

Cutting out alcohol

 Do not/limit the amount of alcohol you are consuming if you’re pregnant or trying to get pregnant. Alcohol can be passed to your unborn baby.

Drinking in pregnancy can lead to long-term harm to your baby, and the more you drink the greater the risk.

Keeping to a healthy weight

If you’re overweight, you may have problems getting pregnant, and fertility treatment is less likely to work.

Being overweight (having a BMI over 25) or obese (having a BMI over 30) also raises the risk of some pregnancy problems, such as high blood pressure, blood clots, miscarriage and gestational diabetes.

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle through diet and exercise is advised during all stages of pre/post birth.

Vaccinations and infections

Some infections, such as rubella, can harm your baby if you catch them in pregnancy.

If you haven’t had two doses of the MMR vaccine or you’re not sure if you have, ask your GP practice to check your vaccination history.

If you have a long-term condition

If you have a long-term condition, such as epilepsy or diabetes, it could affect the decisions you make about your pregnancy – for example, where you might want to give birth or what relief is available to you.

While there is usually no reason why you shouldn’t have a smooth pregnancy and a healthy baby, some health conditions do need careful management to minimise risks to both you and your baby.

Before you get pregnant, have a discussion with your specialist or GP about getting pregnant. If you’re taking medication for a condition, don’t stop taking it without consulting your doctor.