Your Health and Well-being in Pregnancy
Your midwife will discuss your general health throughout your pregnancy and will offer to develop a personalised plan signposting you to information and resources to support you to be as healthy as possible.
What should you eat?
A healthy diet is an important part of a healthy lifestyle and is especially important if you are pregnant as this will help your baby to develop and grow. You do not need to have a special diet, but it is important to eat a varied and healthy diet throughout your pregnancy so that you get the right balance of nutrients.
Ideally, you should get vitamins and minerals from the food that you eat, but when you are pregnant you need to take a folic acid supplement as well.
What foods should you avoid?
The following foods may contain elements, which could be harmful to you or your unborn baby, so you are advised to avoid them:
- Shellfish, swordfish, marin, shark, more than 2 portions of tuna a week (this is due to the mercury content)
- Soft/blue cheeses
- Unpasteurised milk products
- Raw meats, liver, pate, raw or soft eggs
- Peanuts and peanut products
The more active and fit you are, the easier it will be for you to cope comfortably with your pregnancy, the birth and looking after a newborn baby. Do not start vigorous exercise if this is not already part of your normal lifestyle. Walking, swimming and yoga are particularly good and your midwife can chat you through any advice you need.
Protecting your baby from tobacco smoke is one of the best things you can do to give your child a healthy start in life. Cigarettes contain harmful chemicals, so smoking when pregnant harms your baby. Giving up smoking is hard, but your midwife will be able to support you and can refer you to services that can help you to stop smoking
The most recent Department of Health information advises that women who are pregnant should avoid all alcohol. Your midwife will be able to give you more information if required.
Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding are generally advised not to take medication that can be bought from a pharmacy or shop without first consulting their midwife, pharmacist or GP. Prescribed medication will be provided by a doctor after confirming that it is safe for you to take. It is important that you tell your dentist you are pregnant before you receive any treatment.
This is an infection that is not dangerous to healthy adults and children but can harm an unborn baby. We do not routinely test for this infection but it can be avoided by following this important advice:
- Cat owners should take care since the infection can be caught from cat faeces. It is advisable to use rubber gloves when gardening or cleaning a cat litter tray
- Wash your hand thoroughly before preparing food
- Ensure red meats are stored separately at the bottom of the fridge and only eat meat that has been cooked thoroughly
- Wash fruit and vegetables thoroughly to remove traces of soil
Sex in Pregnancy
There is no physical reason why you should avoid sexual intercourse during a normal pregnancy. Chat to your midwife if you have any other questions.
Vaccinations Offered in Pregnancy
The flu vaccine is recommended for all pregnant women to protect themselves and their babies. During pregnancy your immune system is weakened to protect the pregnancy, and this means you are less able to fight infections. These changes can raise the risk from flu and may increase the likelihood of needing admission to hospital. Having the flu vaccine means you are less likely to catch flu. The vaccine can be given safely at any stage of pregnancy.
Please see this leaflet ‘PHE Flu Vaccination who should have it and why’ for further information or speak to your midwife.
Whooping Cough (Pertussis)
The Whooping Cough vaccine is recommended to all pregnant women. Whooping cough rates have risen sharply in recent years and the disease can cause severe illness and even death in young babies. You can help protect your baby by getting vaccinated from 16 weeks to 32 weeks' gestation. The immunity received from the vaccine passes to your baby through the placenta and provides passive protection for them until they are old enough to receive their routine Whooping Cough vaccine.
To book an appointment for your Flu and Whooping Cough vaccine please call the Antenatal Clinic Reception at the Royal Surrey on 01483 577112 Ext 4004.
Covid-19 vaccine is strongly recommended for pregnant and breastfeeding women and the vaccines available in the UK are the safest and most effective way to protect you and your baby. The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation advice is that pregnant women are more at risk of severe Covid-19 disease. The autumn booster is being offered to those at high risk of the complications from Covid-19 infection (including pregnant women) who may not have received a booster for a few months. For more information please read this leaflet ‘A Guide on Covid-19 vaccine for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding’ the useful resources in our Covid-19 section on the website.
Please access the resources on Badgernotes and on the Royal Surrey Maternity website. Your midwife will also be able to answer any questions you may have.