Alcohol

Drinking alcohol, especially in the first three months of pregnancy, increases the risk of miscarriage, premature birth and your baby having a low birth weight. Drinking after the first three months of your pregnancy could affect your baby after they're born.

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It’s safer not to drink alcohol while you are pregnant. When you drink alcohol, your baby drinks it too - but they can’t process it like you can. The more you drink, the greater the health risk to your baby.

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Don’t worry, if you find out that you're pregnant after drinking alcohol, don’t worry unnecessarily — the risks to your baby being affected are likely to be low. However, it is recommended that you stop drinking throughout your pregnancy.

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Healthy eating

Yes – there are some foods that you should avoid (or eat with caution) while you’re pregnant. These include certain types of cheese and raw or undercooked meat.

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Eating a variety of foods will help your baby to get the range of nutrients that it needs to develop and be healthy. Try to include fruit and vegetables, starchy foods (carbohydrates), protein and dairy products.

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No - that’s a myth! If you pile on the pounds, you could put you and your baby at risk of health problems such as high blood pressure. Eat healthily, with plenty of fresh fruit and veg, and avoid processed, fatty and salty foods.

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Exercising in pregnancy

Walking, swimming, and running is good (start slowly if you’re a beginner). If you want to try an exercise class, make sure the teacher is properly trained and knows you’re pregnant.

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Yes! In fact, there are lots of benefits to staying fit during pregnancy for you and your baby. Exercise doesn’t need to be strenuous to be beneficial - even a 20-minute daily walk (that’s a trip to the shops and back) counts!

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Avoid contact sports (as your bump might get hit), or anything that risks you falling, like horse riding or skiing. After you hit 16 weeks, you should avoid doing anything that involves lying on your back for prolonged periods.

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Smoking

By giving up smoking, you’re reducing the risk of still birth, cot death, and complications in pregnancy and birth. Stopping smoking will also help your baby in later life.

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It's important to stay smoke-free while breastfeeding to protect your baby from harm. Did you know that each cigarette contains over 4,000 chemicals – now is a very good time to quit!

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You don’t have to do it alone. You can get free, confidential, one-to-one support from your local stop smoking service. Or you can call NHS Smokefree on 0300 123 1044.

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Vitamins and supplements

Folic acid is very important for your pregnancy, as it can prevent birth defects known as ‘neural tube defects’, including spina bifida.

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You’ll get most of the vitamins and minerals you need by eating a healthy, varied diet. But when you’re pregnant you also need to take a folic acid supplement. It’s also recommended you take a daily vitamin D supplement.

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Vitamin D helps us absorb the right amount of calcium and phosphate in the body – we need this to keep our bones, teeth and muscles healthy.

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Week by week

Early symptoms of pregnancy can include missing a period, a metallic taste in your mouth, sore boobs, nausea, tiredness, mood swings, and needing to wee lots.

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Eating little and often can help your morning sickness. You should also eat healthily and drink lots of water. Some women find that sparkling water or ginger helps with morning sickness.

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Antenatal classes prepare you for having a baby. You’ll be given advice on how to stay healthy in pregnancy, to how to care for your newborn baby. They’re also a great way to meet other parents-to-be.

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Frequently asked

The earliest and most reliable sign of pregnancy is a missed period. If you have a regular monthly cycle, normally you get your period about 4 weeks from the start of your last period.

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Keeping active and doing exercise while you’re pregnant is great for you and your baby. If you are used to exercising – keep it up. If you’re not used to exercising, start slowly with 10 minutes of gentle daily exercise.

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There isn’t a specific time when pregnancy food cravings start, it’s different for every woman – and you may not necessarily have any cravings.

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