Eating well during pregnancy and beyond is extremely important to yours and your baby’s health. Please see our drop-down guides below for some advice from our maternity and dietetic teams.
During pregnancy you should be able to enjoy a varied diet.
However, there are a few foods that you may need to avoid or take care with to prevent harm to yourself and your baby.
Click on the following links for more on this:
It can be difficult to enjoy your food whilst experiencing some pregnancy related symptoms.
For ideas on what to eat when you have symptoms such as heartburn, indigestion, morning sickness or a change in bowel habit, check out the following websites:
Important: If you feel you are not managing with your symptoms, please speak to your GP or midwife.
Healthy eating can be simple if you know how.
For hints on healthy eating, food labelling and practical money and time saving tips, visit:
Smoking and inhaling passive smoke is extremely harmful for you and your unborn baby.
Protecting your baby from tobacco smoke is one of the best things you can do to give your child a healthy start in life.
Stopping smoking as soon as possible while you are pregnant will:
- Reduce the risk of miscarriage.
- Reduce the risk of complications in pregnancy and birth.
- Reduce the risk of stillbirth
- Your baby is less likely to be born prematurely.
- Your baby is less likely to be born with low birth weight, which can cause problems during and after labour.
- Reduce the risk of sudden infant death.
Yeovil Hospitals is a smoke free site and the midwives work in close partnership with StopSmoke services in the South who provides support in cutting down and quitting smoking during your pregnancy.
Your midwife will ask your smoking status regularly during your pregnancy and can refer you StopSmoke services at any time.
Avoiding alcohol during pregnancy is the safest option. There is no proven safe amount of alcohol a woman can drink during pregnancy.
If you drink alcohol during your pregnancy, some alcohol passes through the placenta to your baby.
Drinking heavily during pregnancy can:
- Increase the risk of miscarriage
- Adversely affect the way your baby’s brain develops in the uterus.
- Adversly affect the function of the placenta, causing fetal growth restriction.
- Increase the risk of stillbirth.
- Increase the risk of premature birth.
- Increase the risk that your baby has Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and other childhood illnesses.
The more you drink the more your baby’s growth and health will be affected, however if you cut down or stop drinking altogether your baby will start to grow at a normal rate. Stopping drinking at any point during pregnancy can be beneficial, but in some instances, the effects of heavy drinking on your baby cannot be reversed.
Using illegal or street drugs during pregnancy can seriously harm you and your baby.
If you use drugs its important to seek help straight away so you can get the right advice and support.
We have a dedicated team of midwives who will provide specialist care and support to help minimise the risk to you and your baby.
Please follow the link to the leaflet that gives advice on how to access help for you and your family and the possible side affects of substance/alcohol/medication on you and your baby.
Every pregnant woman gains weight differently so there are no official guides for how much weight you should gain. For a singleton pregnancy most women put on between 10kg (22lbs) and 12.5kg (28lbs). Only some of the weight gained will be body fat, other things causing weight gain are your baby, the placenta and amniotic fluid, increased blood volume and natural fluid retention. The most important thing is to keep your weight to a safe and healthy level for you and your baby.
BMI (body mass index) is the calculation that will be used to determine if you are a healthy weight for your height. A BMI of 18.5 -24.9 is considered healthy.
If your BMI is above 30 your pregnancy is more at risk of complications such as:
- High blood pressure
- Gestational Diabetes
- induction of Labour
- Ceasarean Section
- Wound infections
If you are underweight or over weight you will be offered additional support.
For more information see: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/overweight-pregnant/
To help manage your weight and pre pregnancy fitness levels in pregnancy it is important to eat a well balanced healthy diet and include exercise.
Exercise is an important part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle and is know to be safe in pregnancy. It is important to maintain your pre-pregnancy levels of activity.
Many women feel exercise helps them adjust to the physical changes taking place in their body, promoting a sense of wellbeing and reducing feelings of stress anxiety and depression.
- Avoid exercise where you could lose balance and hurt yourself.
- If you experience any pain in your back or your pelvis you should seek advice from your midwife who can do a referral to a physiotherapist if necessary.
- Drink plenty of water during exercise.
- If you are taking part in a class remember to inform the instructor you are pregnant.
For information on Exercise in pregnancy follow the link
For some women pregnancy can cause low mood and/or added anxieties. Its important that if you are feeling low, depressed or anxious not to hide it. Let your midwife know so she can find ways to support you.
Here are some tips to improve your emotional wellbeing.
- Take some time out for yourself every day, have a warm bath, relax to your favourite music, yoga or keeping a journal.
- Meditation and breathing techniques, not only help in pregnancy but can also help manage pain in labour.
- Talk to someone you trust, talk through your feelings and worries.
- Ask for practical help, if it all feels too much ask family or friends to help with childcare or shopping.
- Talking therapies, it maybe easier to talk to someone you don’t know. There are talking therapy services throughout Somerset. Your midwife can refer you or you can self refer by calling -Bridgewater 01278 435853. Chard 01460 238756. Taunton 01823 346135 or Wells 01749 836705.
Diet can play a big role in managing diabetes that occurs in pregnancy and it can be difficult to know what to eat. This type of diabetes is called Gestational Diabetes.
For tips for eating well after being diagnosed with this, have a look at the links below:
Important: Ask your consultant or midwife if you would like to see a dietitian for more individual advice.
When breastfeeding, you might wonder what you need to eat.
There is a lot of help available to support you on your breastfeeding journey. This website is a good place to start: https://www.laleche.org.uk/
There are a few things to think about when preparing a bottle feed to keep your baby safe and healthy.
For tips on preparing bottle feeds see: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/bottle-feeding-advice/
There are some conditions such as Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (also known as PCOS), Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, and Coeliac Disease that may affect your ability to get pregnant, if they are not managed well.
These conditions often require more specific dietary advice. A dietitian is a registered health professional that can support you with dietary advice specific to you. Please speak to your Consultant, GP or Midwife if you think seeing a dietitian may help you.
For more information on health conditions and fertility:
Diabetes (Type 1 and Type 2): https://www.diabetes.org.uk/guide-to-diabetes/life-with-diabetes/pregnancy