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Top tips for a healthy pregnancy

two mothers in waiting room readingCongratulations you're pregnant.  Here are some tips for having a healthy pregnancy

Visit your GP

Visit your GP to confirm your pregnancy and get started with your antenatal care.  Your GP will discuss the options you have which include:

  • the free Maternity and Infant Scheme - where your antenatal care is shared between your GP and your local public maternity hospital, or
  • private - where you or your health insurer pay for antenatal care with a private consultant obstetrician. 

Take a daily Folic Acid supplement

Folic acid helps prevent conditions such as spina bifida and other neural tube defects (problems that can affect a baby's spine).  Folic acid is most important in the months before becoming pregnant and in the first 12 weeks of your pregnancy.  During this time you need to take a tablet that contains 400 micrograms of folic acid every day.  Folic acid tablets can be bought over the counter in most pharmacies.

If you have a family history of spina bifida, neural tube defects or if you are taking medication for epilepsy, your doctor will need to prescribe a higher dose of folic acid for you. 

Eat well

During pregnancy your unborn baby gets all their nutrients from you.  Healthy food choices before, during and after pregnancy will help you stay healthy and well and will help your baby grow healthy and strong.  Order your free copy of our booklet Healthy Eating for Pregnancy here 

Avoid the following foods during pregnancy:

  • raw or lightly-cooked eggs or foods that contain them,
  • unpasteurised milk and dairy products including soft, mould ripened cheese (such as camembert, brie, blue-veined cheese),
  • raw or under cooked meat, poultry, fish and shellfish, and
  • paté.

If you smoke - QUIT

If you are your partner smoke - now is a good time to quit.  Quitting at any stage during pregnancy is good for you and your baby. 

If you don't smoke or have recently quit, well done.  Asking your partner and family to think about quitting - or at least to not smoke around you - is important too.  When you breathe in smoke from someone else's cigarette, it has the same harmful effects on your baby as smoking yourself. 

For help and advice contact our QUIT Team:

    Phone         1800 201 203

    Text             QUIT to 50100



   Twitter         @HSEquit

Alcohol - not drinking is best for your baby

The safest approach during pregnancy is not to drink alcohol. There is no known safe level of alcohol use in pregnancy – so stopping completely is best. When you drink alcohol, it passes from your bloodstream through the placenta into your baby's bloodstream. Your baby's developing liver and other organs don't have the ability to process alcohol. Drinking alcohol whether in small amounts, heavily or binge drinking during early pregnancy can harm your developing baby and increase your risk of early miscarriage.