The period leading up to a pregnancy is also known as preconception. It’s about taking good care of yourself, looking at your lifestyle, and making changes to improve your chances of conception and having a healthy pregnancy.

It’s important for you to know you’re mentally prepared for a child – whether it’s your first, or if you are growing your family. Our mental health midwife has put together information to support and help you through this life-changing decision.

There are various things you can do to help ensure your pregnancy goes as smoothly as possible and your baby is as healthy as possible.

Get vaccinated
Get covid, flu and whooping cough vaccinations

Vitamin D
We recommend you take 10 micrograms of vitamin D each day throughout your pregnancy and whilst breastfeeding to keep your bones and teeth healthy.

Folic Acid
You should take at least 400 micrograms of Folic Acid each day until you are 12 weeks pregnant. Folic Acid helps prevent birth defects such as Spina Bifida. If you are not already taking a folic acid supplement, speak with your pharmacist or GP straightaway.

If your BMI is over 30, you are diabetic or you, your partner or a previous baby have had a neural tube defect you will require 5mg daily, which you will need to request from your GP.

Smoking
Smoking is harmful to you and your baby. We offer friendly support and treatment to you and your family, please call our Maternity Stop Smoking Team on 01226 432193 or email maternity.stopsmoking@nhs.net

Alcohol and pregnancy
It is safest to avoid alcohol completely in pregnancy to reduce the risk of potential harm to your baby.  There is no safe level for drinking during pregnancy.  Please speak to your midwife if you require support to stop.

Medicines in pregnancy
Most medicines are not safe in pregnancy. If you are taking regular prescribed medication contact your GP before stopping any medication or ask for a review any current prescriptions.

Healthy eating in pregnancy
Exercise benefits the body both physically and mentally. In pregnancy these benefits remain the same and all pregnant women are encouraged to remain active throughout pregnancy. Ask your midwife about a referral to the Barnsley Wellbeing Programme for a 12 week free membership.

Further information about all of the above and more is available on NHS.uk

Thinking about having a baby when you have diabetes

If you become pregnant and you have diabetes, you should go on to have a healthy baby. But there are some possible complications you should be aware of.

The information is relevant for you if you were diagnosed with type 1 or type 2 diabetes before you became pregnant.

What is means for you

If you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, you may be at higher risk of having:

  • risk of developing problems with their eyes (diabetic retinopathy) and kidneys (diabetic nephropathy). Pregnancy can increase your risk of developing these problems or make existing ones worse.

What it means for your baby

If you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, your baby may be at higher risk of:

  • having health problems shortly after birth, such as heart and breathing problems, and needing hospital care
  • developing obesity or diabetes later in life

There’s also a slightly higher chance of your baby being born with birth defects, particularly heart and nervous system abnormalities, or being stillborn or dying soon after birth.

Reducing the risks

But managing your diabetes well, before and during your pregnancy, will help to reduce these risks. The best way to reduce the risks to you and your baby is to ensure your diabetes is well controlled before you become pregnant.

If you are planning a pregnancy contact your GP or practice nurse or your diabetes nurse as they can refer you to the diabetes pre-conception advise.

Further information is available on: Pregnancy and diabetes | Diabetes UK and Managing your diabetes during pregnancy | Diabetes UK