10 things mums-to-be need to know
Healthy foods give your body a boost
- Fruit and veg are great for helping mums-to-be stay healthy and feel good.
- You don’t need to eat for two. You only need an extra 200 calories a day (equivalent to 50g of cheese) for the last three months of your pregnancy.
- Vitamins C, D and folic acid are recommended for all mums-to-be. Being active is great for you and your baby.
And if you have a low income, you may be eligible to receive free healthy start vitamins for you and your baby.
Being active is great for you and your baby
- If you’re not active already, a 10-15 minute walk is a great start. Then aim to build up to a 30 minute walk most days.
- Being more active tones your muscles, gives you an energy boost, helps control your weight and can help you feel more relaxed.
- Keep up any current activities (jogging, swimming, pregnancy yoga) as long as you feel comfortable.
- Mamafit are free health and wellbeing courses for pregnant women. Visit Mamafit to see the timetable and book classes.
Your mental health and emotional health is as important as your physical health
- Pregnancy puts a strain on both your body and your mind. It’s completely normal to feel a bit stressed or worried sometimes.
- Take time out to relax – whether that’s through gentle exercise or simply finding a quiet space to have a breather.
- Prolonged stress can cause your baby harm, so if you feel stressed or worried then talk to somebody you trust.
Drinking alcohol can cause your baby harm
- The Chief Medical Officer for England advises that mums-to-be should avoid alcohol altogether to minimise risks to their baby.
- Drinking alcohol (at any stage in your pregnancy) increases the risk of harming your baby’s development, including the risk of learning and behavioural problems.
- All alcohol including Guinness, wine, shandy, spirits and spritzers could be harmful.
Smoking is bad for you and your baby
- When you smoke, your baby’s heart has to beat harder to make up for the lack of oxygen.
- Smoking increases the risk of stillbirth, can cause your baby to be born early, and increases their chance of getting infections and chest illnesses.
- If you quit smoking, you’ll have more energy and feel healthier (and save money!).
- There is free help and support available for mums-to-be to quit tobacco and e-cigarettes. Speak to your midwife or find out more at smokefreeliverpool.co.uk or call 07824 806 132/0151 374 2535.
Babies need a lot of sleep so it’s important they are sleeping as safely as possible
- Keep your baby away from cigarette smoke before and after birth.
- Always put your baby to sleep in their own cot – never fall asleep with them.
- Place your baby on their back with their feet touching the end of the cot.
- Keep their head and face uncovered and make sure they don’t get too hot.
- Breastfeed your baby.
If your baby is unwell, there’s always help available
- Use the NHS Pregnancy and Baby Guide for advice about your baby’s health and care
- Visit your local pharmacy for advice and treatment for everyday illnesses
- Contact your GP or health visitor
- Dial 999 in an emergency.
- Visit examineyouroptions.info to see films on a range of common childhood illnesses from a local GP.
Vaccines protect you and your baby before, during and after your pregnancy
- Flu can be serious for mums-to-be and their babies. All mums-to-be should have a free flu vaccine during each pregnancy. It’s safe at any stage in pregnancy and is usually available from the end of September. Ask your GP, midwife or pharmacist.
- Whooping cough can be very serious for young babies. Help to protect your baby by having the free whooping cough vaccine from the 20th week of your pregnancy. Ask your GP or midwife.
Breastfeeding is healthy for you and your baby
- Your breast milk has all the right nutrients.
- It protects your baby from infections and diseases.
- Breast milk is ready for you whenever you need it (and it’s free!).
- Breastfeeding helps to build a strong bond between you and your baby.
- Breastfeeding lowers your risk of ovarian and breast cancer.
During pregnancy there are many benefits you may be entitled to
- Free prescriptions and NHS dental treatment
- Paid time off for antenatal care if working
- Maternity / paternity leave and pay if working
- Income support if you don’t qualify for Maternity Allowance or Statutory maternity pay and are unemployed or on a low income
- Child benefit
- Healthy Start Food Vouchers
For more information about entitlements, visit the Money Advice Service website.