Pregnancy is an exciting time for families as you wait for the arrival of your new addition, but it’s important to look after your health in pregnancy. Whether it’s your first time or you’ve been there before, make sure you put yours and your baby’s health first so that you can have a safe and enjoyable pregnancy.


Looking after your health in pregnancy – early stages

To ensure the best start for you and your baby, you need to ensure that you make some important changes to your lifestyle as soon as you find out that you’re pregnant. The advice given by the NHS includes.

  • Giving up smoking and drinking (you can get help with giving up smoking from the NHS).
  • Eat a balanced diet. It’s important that you eat the right balance of nutrients as well as vitamins and minerals. Avoid foods which are starchy and high in fat, and make sure that you eat plenty of protein and foods which contain calcium to ensure your body stays strong throughout pregnancy.
  • There are certain foods that pregnant women are advised not to eat. These include raw/undercooked meat, soft blue cheese, raw eggs and certain fish. You can get a full list of what to avoid here.
  • Perhaps one of the most difficult things to cut back on is caffeine – and it is recommended that you have no more than 200 milligrams (mg) of it a day. You will therefore need to lower your intake of tea, coffee and other foods and drinks that contain caffeine.
  • You should also take a folic acid supplement which can help provide you and your baby with what it needs for growth during pregnancy.

Despite the popular saying that you’re ‘eating for two’, there is no need to consume excessive food. Starting the day with a healthy breakfast will help to keep hunger cravings at bay as well as stop you eating too many sugary drinks and snacks which can contribute to unnecessary weight gain.


Exercising in pregnancy

There’s no need to avoid exercise during pregnancy, and by taking up some light exercise you can help to better prepare your body to help it adapt to your changing shape, as well as boost your energy levels. If you were performing regular exercise before pregnancy, you should be able to carry on, so providing your doctor agrees, you should be able to do gentle exercise for no more than 15 minutes at a time – avoiding anything too strenuous or with contact.

You can get more information about exercising in pregnancy as well as some recommended exercises from NHS Choices here.


Resources in Richmond for pregnancy

It’s important that you make regular appointments with your Richmond GP to make sure that you and your baby are healthy at all stages of your pregnancy. Your doctor will be able to answer your questions about how to stay healthy as well as make some recommendations based on your current lifestyle.

If you suspect a problem or are concerned about your health at all outside of GP hours, then please contact our out of hours health services. You can do this by calling 111 and you will be directed to the most appropriate point for help. Our primary care centre is open from 6.30pm until 8am Monday-Thursday and 6.30pm Friday until 8am Monday and you can find it in the outpatients department of Teddington Memorial Hospital.

The NHS Service Search is the ideal tool for finding your nearest maternity services that are available to you if you need them.

By looking after your health in pregnancy, you can offer your baby the strongest start possible. There are many resources available to you to ensure you get the right information and advice, but always make sure to use a trusted source like NHS Choices or the advice of your doctor. Being prepared will help ensure a stress-free pregnancy so that you can look forward to the arrival of your baby and the next exciting chapter in your life.