Planning your pregnancy

person holding belly photo

It is possible to increase your chances of having a healthy pregnancy and becoming pregnant with an uninvolved pregnancy by following the guidelines on this page.

Get a supplement of folic acid

It’s suggested that you consume a daily dose of folic acid if you’re pregnant or when there’s a possibility that you will be pregnant.

It is recommended to take a 400-microgram dose of folic acid each day prior to the time you become pregnant and then every day thereafter to 12 weeks of pregnancy.

Micrograms are 1,000 times smaller than milligrams (mg). A microgram is often written using the Greek symbol m, which is followed by the letter (g) (mg).

Folic acid decreases the likelihood of your child developing neural tube defects, for example, Spina Bifida.

Neural tube defects happen when the fetus’s spinal cord (part of our body’s nerve system) is not formed normally.

It is possible to take a larger dosage that is 5 mg (5mg) each day.

It is possible to require 5 mg of folic acid when:

  • either you or the baby’s biological parent suffer from an abnormality in the neural tube
  • you have had a previous pregnancy that was affected by a defect in the neural tube
  • either you or the baby’s biological parent have a history of family or neural tube defect
  • You have diabetes
  • You take medication to treat epilepsy

Consult your GP in the event that you feel you require a dose of 5 mg of folic acid as they might recommend a higher dosage.

Folic acid can be purchased in tablets from pharmacies, or consult your GP about obtaining a prescription.

Do not be worried if discover you are pregnant at an unexpected time and not taking a folic supplement at the moment. Take supplements as soon as you discover you’re pregnant until your first twelve weeks pregnant.

Stop smoking

Pregnancy-related smoking is linked with a number of health issues, including:

  • premature birth
  • Low birth weight
  • Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), also called death in the cot
  • error in transmission
  • breathing issues or wheezing during the beginning of your

Quitting can be difficult regardless of how hard you would like to quit However, help is readily accessible.

NHS Smokefree offers support, help, and guidance on quitting smoking, even when you’re pregnant. They can also provide information on local support services.

Smoke from the cigarettes of others could cause harm to your child, so make sure you request your friend, partner, and family members to not smoke in your presence.

Get rid of alcohol

Avoid drinking alcohol if you’re pregnant, or trying to become pregnant. Alcohol could pass on to the unborn baby.

Drinking alcohol while pregnant can cause long-term harm to your baby. The greater the amount you consume, the higher the chance.

Learn about pregnancy and alcohol units and ways to cut them down.

Be sure to maintain an ideal weight

If your weight is high, then you might have difficulty getting pregnant and fertility treatments are more likely to fail.

Being overweight (having BMI greater than 25) or obese (having a BMI greater than 30) can increase the risk of certain complications during pregnancy, like excessive blood pressure, deep vein thrombosis gestational diabetes.

If you are pregnant, you can utilize the BMI calculator for healthy weight to determine your BMI. However, it may not be true when you’re pregnant, so make sure you consult your midwife or doctor.

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle and doing moderate exercises are recommended during pregnancy, and it is important to not gain weight too quickly.

You can maintain an appropriate weight by following healthy eating habits and regular exercise.

Be aware of the medicines you are able to take

Some medicines aren’t suitable to use if you’re expecting or planning to become pregnant regardless of whether they’re prescribed or you purchase them at a drugstore or in a shop.


If you’re taking a prescription medication and you’re thinking of getting pregnant, speak to an expert.

Don’t take your medicine off without speaking to your doctor.

Find out about medications for pregnant women.

Infections and vaccinations

Certain diseases, such as rubella (German measles), can harm your baby if you contract them in the course of pregnancy.

A majority of people in the UK have been protected from rubella thanks to the widespread use of MMR, which is the measles, mumps as well as rubella (MMR) vaccination.

If you’re not sure if you’ve had two doses of MMR vaccination or are not sure if you’ve had it, consult your GP’s office to verify the history of your vaccination.

If you’ve missed all doses or have no record of it then you can receive the vaccines in your GP’s office.

It is advised to stay clear of becoming pregnant for a month following the MMR vaccination This means that you’ll require a method that is reliable for contraception.

Consult a physician in the event of a long-term illness

If you suffer from a chronic medical condition, such as diabetes or epilepsy this could impact the choices you make regarding your pregnancy, such as the location you would like to have your baby.

When you first become pregnant, discuss with your doctor or GP regarding becoming pregnant.

If you’re taking medicine to treat an illness, don’t stop the medication without consulting your doctor.

Tests for sickle cell and Thalassemia

Sickle cell disorder (SCD) and thalassemia are both blood disorders that can be inherited and mostly affect people who have ancestors from Africa and the Caribbean and The Mediterranean, India, Pakistan south as well as Southeast Asia, and the Middle East.

If you’re expecting and reside in England you can get testing for the screening of these conditions However, you don’t need to wait until you’re pregnant to take an exam.

In case you or your loved ones are worried that you could be a carrier of one of these conditions, maybe because one of your relatives is suffering from a blood disorder or is considered to be a carrier, it’s recommended to test before you start the family.

It is possible to request the test for free from the GP or an area sickle cell or Thalassemia Center.

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