Before you get pregnant

Before you try to have a baby it helps if you try to make yourself as healthy as possible. This means eating a healthy diet with lots of fruit and vegetables, avoiding high calorie food items whenever you can, taking regular exercise and getting rest. For further information click on the links below:

Healthy diet in pregnancy

Vitamins & supplements in pregnancy

Weight management

If you are overweight it helps to try to lose weight before getting pregnant because a raised body mass index (BMI) gives you a higher risk of getting high blood pressure in pregnancy and a greater chance of having a Caesarean section. If you are able to lose weight beforehand this can reduce your health risks when pregnant and increase your chance of conceiving. There are local groups in Somerset such as Slimming World who can help you. Please click the link below for more information:

Weight management in pregnancy

NHS overweight and pregnant

Smoke free

This can be a good time to focus on the future and stop smoking before you become pregnant. This increases the chance of long term health and will help your baby, reducing the risk of miscarriage, lung problems and growth restriction in your baby, who may need early delivery and care in the special baby unit. To seek advice go to NHS Choices Stop Smoking in pregnancy

Folic acid

This is a vitamin supplement that we encourage all mums to take in early pregnancy before 12 weeks. The dose for most women is 400micrograms. Many women wait until they are already pregnant before taking this, but it works best if you take it on a daily basis for at least three months before getting pregnant. Evidence has shown that this supplement reduces the likelihood of your baby having problems such as spina bifida (holes in the spine) or ancephaly (abnormality of the skull causing damage to the brain tissue)

If you have diabetes, a raised BMI above 30, or have had surgery to help you lose weight, it is important that you take a higher dose of this supplement. This is 5mg and can be prescibed by your GP. It is important to take the higher dose for at least three months prior to pregnancy or as soon as you are aware you are pregnant.

Vitamin D

It also helps if you take a 10 microgram supplement of vitamin D. We usually absorb this via the sun but evidence suggests that if you are pregnant, you need extra to help support the development of a good bone structure in your baby. Again if you have diabetes, have a raised BMI, or are covered (for example, wear the hijab or other covering) this supplement becomes even more important.

If you have diabetes

Your medical team will support you before and in the early days of your pregnancy. Pregnancy can affect your diabetes control and have an effect on your baby. Early advice will help you to manage your diabetes while you are trying to conceive. For information on diabetes in pregnancy click here.

If you have any pre-existing medical conditions

If you have any pre-existing conditions, let your GP or medical team know of your plans to get pregnant so we can provide the best support to you and your baby. If you have any questions please ask your medical team and they will contact our obstetricians for advice, and ask to see you if they need to discuss your pregnancy with you.