Planning your Pregnancy
If you’re planning on getting pregnant, you can improve your chances of conceiving and having a successful pregnancy by following these steps:
- Keep trying: 84% of couples in the general population will conceive within 1 year if they do not use contraception and have regular sexual intercourse. Of those who do not conceive in the first year, about half will do so in the second year (cumulative pregnancy rate 92%).
- Start conceiving early: Female fertility declines with age, but that the effect of age on male fertility is less clear. With regular unprotected sexual intercourse, 94% of fertile women aged 35 years, and 77% of those aged 38 years, will conceive after 3 years of trying.
- Have regular sex: Sexual intercourse every 2 to 3 days optimises the chance of pregnancy. Timing intercourse to coincide with ovulation causes stress and is not recommended.
- STOP drinking or reduce alcohol intake: Women drink no more than one unit of alcohol once or twice per week and avoiding episodes of intoxication reduces the risk of harming a developing foetus. Men drink no more than three units of alcohol per day but beware drinking can cause reduction in semen quality.
- STOP SMOKING: Smoking reduces female fertility and male semen quality.
- Maintain a healthy weight: If your BMI is over 29 or less than 19 it will take you longer to conceive.
- Tight underwear for men: There is an association between elevated scrotal temperature and reduced semen quality, but that it is uncertain whether wearing loose-fitting underwear improves fertility.
- Take folic acid: Dietary supplementation with folic acid before conception and up to 12 weeks’ gestation reduces the risk of having a baby with neural tube defects. The recommended dose is 0.4 mg per day. For women who have previously had an infant with a neural tube defect or who are receiving antiepileptic medication, a higher dose of 5 mg per day is recommended.
- Rubella immunisation: Rubella susceptibility screening is recommended so that those who are susceptible to rubella can be offered rubella vaccination. Women who are susceptible to rubella should be offered rubella vaccination and advised not to become pregnant for at least 1 month following vaccination.
- Cervical screening: Make sure your cervical smear is up to date.
- Long Term conditions. Consult your doctor if you have a long term condition like:
asthma and pregnancy
diabetes and pregnancy
epilepsy and pregnancy
heart disease or congenital heart defect
pre-existing high blood pressure and pregnancy
mental health problems and pregnancy
For more information visit NHS Choices – Planning your Pregnancy.
Congratulations! Now that you are pregnant you will need to complete an Antenatal booking form online. It would be helpful if you knew the date of your last period. You will receive a Pregnancy Pack from the Antenatal services, please read all the information as it is important for your pregnancy and keep this safe at home.
It is important that you IMMEDIATELY:
- Take folic acid and vitamin D supplements (ie: Pregnacare) – which you buy from the chemist. Visit NHS Choices for more information.
- Ensure that you have adequate nutrition, fluids and a healthy diet. Visit NHS Choices – Healthy diet in pregnancy.
- Avoid the following foods: NHS Choices – Foods to avoid during pregnancy.
- Stop smoking. Find out how at NHS Choices.
- Stop drinking alcohol and any recreational drug use.
- Keep fit. Find out more at NHS Choices.
The midwife should phone within 2 weeks to arrange your first appointment; this is usually arranged at your home between 8 and 12 weeks of pregnancy. Calculate your due date with this pregnancy calculator.
If you are on regular medication our Patient Navigator team will arrange for you to have a telephone consultation with your registered doctor.
You may find the following information on these websites helpful to look at BEFORE you see the midwife.
If you are considering your options for an unplanned pregnancy please visit the British Pregnancy Advisory Service website. You can contact them directly for a consultation to discuss your options by calling them on 0347 30 40 30.
- NHS Choices – Your Antenatal Care
- NHS Choices – Antenatal Appointment Schedule
- NHS Choices – See how your baby will develop
- British Pregnancy Advisory Service
- Antenatal Day Assessment Unit (ADAU): 01908 243 939
- Labour ward: 01908 243478
If you have any problems during your pregnancy please contact your midwife, GP or the urgent care centre during Out of Hours.
For information on common problems in pregnancy please visit NHS Choices.
Vaccinations Recommended in Pregnancy
Did you know that a mother’s immunity is passed along to her baby during pregnancy? Therefore the following vaccinations are recommended in pregnancy, as this will protect the baby from some diseases during the first few months of life until the baby.
When you go home after having your baby, your midwife will visit you the next day. She will continue to visit as necessary. During the first few weeks after birth, both your midwife and health visitor will be able to offer advice and support.
Don’t forget to register your child at surgery. The hospital will give you a discharge letter for you to hand to your GP. Once we receive this we will automatically send you and your baby an appointment for your 6 week postnatal health check with your GP.
Visit NHS Choices to see what to expect at 6 week your post natal check for you and your baby.
- When can I have Sexual intercourse after birth?
- Is it normal to feel low after birth?
- What contraception can I use after birth?
- Should I breast feed?
- How do I avoid Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)?