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Information alert box COVID-19 and pregnancy care

Please visit: COVID-19 and pregnancy care

We recognise that families come in many different shapes and sizes, and the route to becoming parents can be varied and sometimes challenging. This page aims to help you understand more about starting a family.

If you are planning to get pregnant, the NHS recommends that you make the following changes:

  • take 400mcgs Folic Acid*
  • stop or cut down on smoking
  • eat a healthy balanced diet - this improves fertility as well as affecting your baby's future health
  • stop or drink less alcohol
  • stay physically active
  • stop using any illegal substances
  • cut down on caffeine, if you drink a lot
  • aim to achieve a healthy weight for your height (a healthy BMI).

It is also important to check that you:

  • have had a cervical screening test in the last three years
  • have had the MMR vaccine, to ensure you are protected against rubella
  • don't take any new medication, or stop taking existing medication, without talking to your GP or healthcare professional
  • do not have any sexually transmitted infections.

*if you are diabetic, epileptic or have a family history of neural tube defects such as spina bifida or a BMI over 30, please see your GP, as a higher dose of 5mgs may be recommended.

For more information please see:

What is preconception care? - NHS website

LGBT+ families

The number of LGBT+ families is growing, and the following link will help to guide you through the various options you may have for starting a family including, surrogacy, adoption and fostering and donor insemination.

You may also speak to you GP about the options available.

Having a baby if you are LGBT+ - NHS website

Concerns about fertility

If you are concerned about your fertility you should contact your GP for support and advice. You can also visit the NHS website for further information.

Trying to get pregnant - NHS website

Infertility - NHS website

Planning for pregnancy tool

Tommy's, in partnership with other national agencies, has launched a free digital tool to help you ensure that you are fit and well when you become pregnant, giving your baby the best start.

Planning for Pregnancy tool - Tommy's

By following the advice from Tommy's and the information below, you can:

  • improve your fertility (the ability to get pregnant)
  • protect your baby's future health
  • reduce your risk of problems in pregnancy.

When you are trying for a baby (have stopped contraception), you won't know you're pregnant for the first few weeks after conception takes place.

So, making changes to your lifestyle before pregnancy is linked to a healthier pregnancy overall, and improved health and development for your baby.

Maternal medicine

If you take any medication for mental illness, please speak to your GP or Mental Health Care Coordinator and do not stop your medication until you have discussed this with a health professional first.

If you have any pre-existing health needs such as cardiac, diabetes, epilepsy or renal issues, please see your GP about referral to our Pre-conceptual Care Clinic.

For general advice you can also see a midwife or contact a family planning service.

Genetic counselling

If you need pre-pregnancy genetic counselling because you are planning a pregnancy or you have recently found out that you are pregnant, please see your GP or midwife about referral to our Department of Clinical Genetics.

Department of Clinical Genetics