Looking after your physical health and your emotional wellbeing during and after pregnancy is important. Feeling and being at your best sets you and your baby up to have the best possible experience of labour, birth and parenthood!
We know that pregnancy is an overwhelming time and the fast paced changes to both your body and your usual routines can make prioritising your health and wellbeing difficult. On this page, you’ll find some advice on taking care of yourself and some places you can go to for additional support if you need it.
Eating healthily during pregnancy will help your baby to develop and grow. You do not need to go on a special diet, but it’s important to eat a variety of different foods every day to get the right balance of nutrients that you and your baby need. There are certain foods which are recommended to avoid during pregnancy – more information is available here.
Sleep and rest
Changes in your body during pregnancy can sometimes make you feel full of energy but they can sometimes make you feel worn out or exhausted. This is completely normal and you should never feel guilty about taking some time to relax and recharge. Preparing to be a parent can also be a stressful time so you might find mindfulness or meditation useful to wind down.
If you already a regular form of exercise we encourage you to keep this up during your pregnancy – you might just need to review your usual routine and talk to your midwife or doctor if you think you might be doing too much.
If you don’t currently exercise regularly, think about taking up something to improve your mood and help you to keep fit during your pregnancy. Swimming and walking are great low-intensity forms of exercise which you can do safely whilst pregnant.
This is a time to think about who you have around you to share your pregnancy and thoughts about your baby. Think about who will be around to support you when your baby arrives—this may be your partner, your mum, your sister or a friend.
Relationships can change during pregnancy. If you are concerned about this, talk to your midwife or doctor.
Depression and Anxiety during pregnancy
All of these anxieties are common and normal. Talking to other people and sharing your feelings can be reassuring. For some people depression and anxiety can be a problem in pregnancy—about 1 in 10 will experience some degree of anxiety or depression. Some people will have a pre-existing mental illness or may have had an illness in the past.
Being pregnant, no matter how happy you may be, will not protect you from becoming unwell during or after pregnancy. If you are one of this group of people, talk to your midwife, GP or other health professional for advice and an individualised plan.
Help to stop smoking
Protecting your baby from tobacco smoke is one the best things you can do to give your child a healthy start in life. There are over 4,000 chemicals in every cigarette you smoke and these chemicals pass through the placenta and directly to your unborn child. This restricts the essential oxygen supply to your baby making their tiny heart work harder. Stopping smoking will benefit both you and your baby immediately, so it is never too late to stop. Some of the benefits include:
Reduced risk of complications in pregnancy
Reduced risk of stillbirth
You will feel more physically healthy and able to cope with the birth
There is less chance your baby will be born premature
Your baby is less likely to be born small and have trouble maintaining their temperature
There is less chance of infection for you and your baby after the birth
You will reduce the risk of cot death
Your child is less likely to suffer from asthma or other illnesses such as bronchitis and pneumonia as they grow.
If your partner or family members smoke, their passive smoke can also affect you and your baby and you may find it more difficult to stop.
Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) can be used during pregnancy if it will help you stop smoking, where you would find it difficult to stop without it. However, stop smoking tablets are not recommended.
We have a proactive approach to supporting you and your families with smoking cessation. Carbon Monoxide readings are offered to everyone at booking and are continued during pregnancy. All pregnant people who smoke, or have high cabon monoxide readings, are offered referral to the Smoking Cessation Service for advice and support.
For more information call the NHS Pregnancy Stop Smoking advice line on 0300 123 1044or visit here.
Diabetes During Pregnancy
DBTH offers support to pregnant people who either have pre-existing diabetes or develop Gestational Diabetes during pregnancy. Click here for more information on diabetes during pregnancy.
Support from our specialist midwives
Doncaster and Bassetlaw have developed specialist midwifery services in the following areas:
Specialist midwife for Diabetes and Weight Management
Teenage pregnancy support
Infant feeding support
Mental health services
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