Having a baby is one of the most exciting things that can happen, but parents-to-be might be feeling nervous as well. If it’s a first baby, it’s hard to know what to expect and you’ll want to know what’s normal for pregnancy and what’s not.
You might be unsure about any number of things like what women should and shouldn’t eat during pregnancy, dealing with common health problems and how your relationships might change.
Below is a brief list of things you need to know. For detailed information on everything you need to know about pregnancy and birth see the NHS Choices pregnancy care planner, with up-to-date advice on these topics and many more.
Women should take a 400 microgram folic acid supplement every day while trying to get pregnant and for the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. This can help prevent neural tube defects such as spina bifida.
During pregnancy women need a healthy, balanced diet but not to eat for two. If you get hungry between meals, don’t have high fat and/or sugar snacks, such as biscuits, crisps or chocolate. Try salad vegetables, such as carrot or celery, or low-fat yoghurt, fresh fruit or baked potatoes.
Don’t eat mould-ripened cheese such as brie, or blue-veined cheese such as Danish blue, due to the risk of listeria infection. Don’t eat liver because it contains a lot of vitamin A. Too much vitamin A could harm the baby.
Alcohol and smoking
Avoid drinking alcohol if pregnant or trying to get pregnant, as too much exposure to alcohol can seriously affect the baby’s development. If you drink during pregnancy, don’t have more than one or two units once or twice a week. Smoking can harm the unborn baby, so if you smoke you should stop.
As soon as you know you’re pregnant, get in touch with a midwife or GP to organise antenatal (pregnancy) care. You can also find out about local antenatal classes, which will put you in touch with other mums-to-be and prepare you for parenthood. These may be run by your maternity service, midwife, GP or health centre.