Your pregnancy and baby guide
Health things you should know in pregnancy
Open all pages about Your pregnancy and baby guide
- Secrets to success
- Am I pregnant?
- Early days
- Week by week
- Preparing for the birth
- Work out your due date
- Tests scans and checks
- Your pregnancy (antenatal) care
- Your health and wellbeing
- Existing health problems
- Common pregnancy ailments
- Pregnancy-induced conditions
Labour and birth
- The start of labour
- The birth
- Emotions and worries
- Premature babies
- How to breastfeed
- Breastfeeding problems
- Lifestyle and breastfeeding
- Bottle feeding
- Newborn screening tests
- Newborn essentials
- New parents
- New mums
- Twins and multiples
Babies and toddlers
- Weaning and solid foods
- Baby health and care
- Spotting signs of serious illness
- Reflux in babies
- How to take a baby's temperature
- Reducing the risk of SIDS
- Treating a high temperature
- Sleep problems in children
- Coughs, colds and ear infections
- Diarrhoea and vomiting
- Infectious illnesses
- Children's medicines
- Looking after a sick child
- Serious conditions and special needs
- Constipation in young children
- Your baby's height and weight
- Baby health and development reviews
- Leg and foot problems in children
- Learning, play and behaviour
- Safety and accidents
There are things you can do, and things you can avoid, to keep you and your baby as healthy as possible in pregnancy.
Go to your pregnancy (antenatal) appointments
It's important not to miss any of your antenatal appointments. These appointments are part of your NHS pregnancy journey.
The tests, scans and checks you'll have help look after the health of you and your baby.
Some of the tests and measurements that can find potential problems have to be done at specific times of pregnancy, which is why you have appointments at certain weeks.
There are also things you can do to keep you and your baby as healthy as possible in pregnancy.
- if you smoke, stop smoking
- take a folic acid supplement and think about taking a vitamin D supplement
Not all medicines are safe to take when you're pregnant. This includes prescribed medicines and medicines you can buy in a pharmacy or shop.
Check with a doctor, pharmacist or midwife before you take any medicines when you're pregnant.
If you're already taking prescribed medicine, do not stop taking your medicine without talking to your doctor first.
• find out about medicines in pregnancy
- do some safe pregnancy exercise
Protect against getting ill
- know how to avoid infections that may harm your baby and symptoms to look out for
- have the flu vaccination (offered between September and March, and it's free if you're pregnant)
- have the whooping cough vaccination, free if you're pregnant
- know about baby movements in pregnancy, and when to seek help
Your mental wellbeing
- know how to cope with feelings, worries and relationships in pregnancy
- mental health issues in pregnancy
Your dental health
You're entitled to free NHS dental treatment if you're pregnant when you start your treatment and for 12 months after your baby is born. To get free NHS dental treatment, you must have:
- a MATB1 certificate issued by your midwife or GP
- a valid prescription maternity exemption certificate (MatEx)
- get tips on sleeping well in pregnancy
- travelling safely in pregnancy, including flying, long journeys and travel vaccinations
DVT (blood clots)
X-rays during pregnancy
For all X-rays, you should let the hospital know if you're pregnant.
X-rays are not usually recommended for pregnant people unless it's an emergency
Cervical screening during pregnancy
You will not usually need to have cervical screening if you're pregnant, or could be pregnant, until at least 12 weeks after you've given birth. This is because pregnancy can make it harder to get clear results.
If you're already pregnant and due for a cervical screening test then tell the GP or clinic.
You will usually be advised to reschedule the test for a date around 12 weeks after your baby is born.
If you've previously had an abnormal result from a cervical screening test, you may need to be screened while you're pregnant. Your GP or midwife may ask you to have a cervical screening test at your first antenatal appointment. This test will not affect your pregnancy.
What if I have a health condition?
If you have a health condition, for example diabetes or asthma, these can affect your pregnancy. Pregnancy can also affect any conditions you have.
Don't stop taking your medicine until you've talked with your doctor.
Find out more about:
- asthma and pregnancy
- congenital heart disease and pregnancy
- coronary heart disease and pregnancy
- diabetes and pregnancy
- epilepsy and pregnancy
- mental health problems and pregnancy
- being overweight in pregnancy
Page last reviewed: 04/10/2019
Next review due: 04/10/2022