pregnancy and health

There is a clear link between a mother’s health before pregnancy and her baby’s health. We know that healthy women have fewer complications in pregnancy. They are also more likely to have healthy babies who grow into healthy children. Partners also have a role to play by staying healthy.

#ReadyforPregnancy is here to support you if you're thinking about having a baby. Follow A Better Medway's Facebook page for updates to help you and your baby get off to the best possible start.

Help your fertility

To increase your chances of conceiving naturally and having a healthy and simple pregnancy, you should aim for a healthy weight.

Stopping smoking reduces the risk of impotence and infertility in men. Men who smoke can suffer from reduced quality sperm and erection difficulties.

Alcohol can damage sperm production, so men should cut down on drinking too.

Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding help is available in Medway through our peer support service, Beside You. The Beside You website has useful information for women who are thinking about breastfeeding.

Learn more about breastfeeding.

Look after your mental health

If you’re experiencing poor mental health or have a mental health condition, seek advice from your GP or psychiatrist. They will talk to you about:

  • your medication
  • the impact of being pregnant on your mental health
  • the effect your mental health may have on your pregnancy
  • the support you can expect

Learn more about looking after your mental health and pregnancy.

Stop smoking

Quitting smoking is the most important thing you and your partner can do to give your baby the best start in life. Support is available in Medway through our stop smoking services and Blooming Bumps antenatal group. You can also talk to your GP practice or midwife about getting support to quit.

Check your vaccinations are up to date

Some infections, such as rubella (German measles), can harm your baby if you catch them during pregnancy. The Measles, Mumps and Rubella vaccine (MMR) will protect you and your baby. If you have not been vaccinated or are unsure, call your GP to see whether they have a record. If you have no record of receiving them, make an appointment to get vaccinated as soon as possible.

Cut out alcohol

Many women ask how much is safe to drink during pregnancy. The safest approach is not to drink at all. If you do drink, try to limit yourself to the occasional drink and never more than one or two units once or twice a week. If you’re not sure how much you’re drinking and if you need to cut down, take our quick and easy alcohol quiz.

Take folic acid

It’s recommended that all women who could get pregnant should take a daily supplement of folic acid. You should take 400 micrograms of folic acid every day before you get pregnant until you are 12 weeks pregnant. Folic acid reduces the risk of your baby having a neural tube defect, such as spina bifida. If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding you should also consider taking a daily vitamin D supplement. Speak to your local pharmacist or GP for the best time to start.

Attend antenatal and post-natal classes

Antenatal care

You must book an appointment with your local midwifery team as soon as you know you are pregnant. A range of support is available. You will have several appointments with a midwife during your pregnancy. You may also see an obstetrics doctor who specialises in pregnancy and birth. More information is available on Medway Hospital's antenatal page.

BumpClub

BumpClub Medway is a 6-week programme for pregnant women who want to learn about eating right and staying active in pregnancy.

Our next BumpClub Medway course starts on Monday 8 November 2021. The sessions are available online and run twice a week, every Monday and Thursday from 7pm to 8pm. 

The sessions include:

  • baby first aid
  • pregnancy yoga
  • cooking demos
  • how to challenge yourself to stay active.

You can Book on to BumpClub online.

Postnatal care

Our team of experienced midwives and health visitors are on hand to support you after you give birth. More information is available on the Medway Hospital’s postnatal page and Medway Community Healthcare's health visiting services.

Exercise

If you’re not used to exercising, or haven’t done any for a while, now is a good time to start. Try starting off with 10 minutes of daily activity. You can then build up to 150 minutes of weekly exercise. When you’re ready, try these easy to follow walking routes in Medway.

Eat healthily

Eating a healthy diet is important if you’re planning a pregnancy. Your baby relies on you to provide the right balance of nutrients to help them grow and develop (even after they’re born).