Working together to maximise health for you and your baby.
Throughout your pregnancy, your midwife will be doing a variety of checks to make sure you and your baby are thriving.
In this section, you can find some basic information about the checks we do and how to keep yourself well during your pregnancy.
For further information, you can check out the Ready, Steady, Baby! guide on NHS Inform.
During your pregnancy, it is important to stick to sources that are evidence-based.
If you are unsure about information you have read online, you can consult your midwife or obstetrician. Other good sources of information include publications from the NHS; you will be given a variety of leaflets throughout your pregnancy. Some of these can be accessed via your Badger Notes app.
It is important to look after your health before and during pregnancy, by having a good, balanced diet, maintaining a healthy weight and staying smoke free.
Information about keeping well during pregnancy can be found on the Ready, Steady, Baby! guide on NHS Inform. More information and links can be found below too.
Folic Acid and Vitamins
It is recommended that pregnant women take a supplement of folic acid prior to conception and during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy to reduce the incidence of neural tube defects to the baby.
You may need to take the higher dose of folic acid (5mg) if you have a BMI over 30, have diabetes, coeliac disease, or have a family history of neural tube defects.
It is also recommended that pregnant and breastfeeding women take a vitamin D supplement. You can read more about Vitamin D here.
Pregnant women are eligible to receive a supply of Healthy Start Vitamins, which contain Vitamin C (70 milligrams), Vitamin D (10 micrograms) and Folic Acid (400 micrograms). These are suitable for vegetarians and free from wheat, fish, egg, and salt. The vitamins contain no colours, flavours or preservatives, or gluten containing ingredients.
For women who should be taking an increased dose of Folic Acid, this will be provided by the GP, but the Healthy Start Vitamins from the midwife can be taken at the same time.
Vaccinations in Pregnancy
During your pregnancy, you will be offered vaccinations including the Flu vaccine and Whooping Cough vaccine. We recommend these as they can help protect you and your baby once they’re born.
It is recommended that between October and March pregnant women have a seasonal flu vaccination.
It is also recommended that you have a pertussis vaccination between 16 and 32 weeks to help protect your baby from whooping cough, this is available throughout the year.
Pregnant women are offered the Covid-19 vaccine – more details can be found in the links below.
- Information sheet and decision aid | RCOG
- Pregnancy, breastfeeding and the coronavirus vaccine | NHS Inform
For many people, finding out they are pregnant offers them a good time to engage with services and make healthy choices that will positively affect their health for years to come. There is no safe number of cigarettes, and so current advice is that you stop smoking all together. Of course, we can support you to do this, and would advise that you seek advice or help from a professional source, to give you the best chance of quitting for good.
Quit Your Way provides a chat line and advisors that can help you.
If you or someone in your household smokes, please visit the Stop Smoking Service page to find more useful information regarding this.
What is BMI?
During pre-booking your midwife will calculate your BMI, using your height and weight. If your BMI is under 18 or over 30 this means you may be at increased risk of developing pregnancy complications. The links below discuss things like healthy eating and setting goals for yourself in more detail.
- Eat Well Feel Great – Provides lots of tips and tricks for making small changes to the way we think about food in order to help us maintain a healthy weight.
- Nutrition – Provides some easy six step recipe cards to give you some inspiration for healthy meals.
Protecting You and Your Baby From Infection
Pregnant women have been found to have an increased risk of developing a serious infection called Group A Streptococcus. This bacteria is normally harmless and commonly found in the throat and on the skin. Group A strep infections can be prevented by washing hands thoroughly with soap and warm water. Information on good hand hygiene has been included below.
Group B Strep is a common bacteria which can cause your baby to become unwell. Many women carry the bacteria in their body without having any symptoms. Not all babies who come into contact with the bacteria will become unwell. If during your pregnancy, testing finds the presence of Group B Strep, antibiotics would be offered to treat the infection both during pregnancy and in labour. We advise you remain in hospital for twelve hours after birth to allow staff to monitor your baby for signs of infection.
Getting To Know Your Baby
We know that actively developing a relationship with your growing baby during your pregnancy can have positive benefits for you as a family. This can include talking to your baby, stroking your bump or playing music for your baby. During this time, you can get to know the normal pattern of your baby’s movements. You can encourage other close family members to do the same. UNICEF has developed a leaflet which goes over this in more detail.
Many women begin to feel their baby move from 16 weeks. With your first baby it may not be until after 20 weeks. It is important to be aware of your baby’s movements and to become aware of your baby’s movement pattern. Feeling your baby move gives you reassurance of his or her wellbeing.
If you notice your baby is moving less than usual or if you have noticed a change in the pattern of movements, it may be the first sign that your baby is unwell and therefore it is essential that you contact Maternity triage for assessment on 01324 567098.
Pregnancy can be an emotional time. If you already suffer from a mood disorder, or mental health condition, you may be worried about the effects the pregnancy may have. Some women who have never experienced mood disorders before may find the changes that occur during pregnancy can have an effect on their mental health.
Your midwife and GP are here to support you in any way they can during your pregnancy, so it is important to let them know of any concerns you may have.
Perinatal mental health service
The perinatal mental health service provides care through assessment and treatment for women who are aged 18 and above who have or are at risk of developing a moderate to severe mental illness during the perinatal period this spans from preconception until the first postnatal year.
The team offers a range of treatments and interventions directed at early intervention, preventing, minimising and managing perinatal mental illness, while supporting the mother in her role as primary carer of her baby.
- Living Life to the Full: CBT Life Skills Online course www.llttf.com
- Maternal OCD www.maternalocd.org – Raises the awareness of OCD for mothers-to-be to reduce the onset probability of OCD developing. To provide easily accessible resources for mothers with OCD to enable them to recover more quickly
- Maternal Mental Health Scotland www.maternalmentalhealthscotland.org.uk This website was developed and maintained by professionals working in the field of perinatal mental health and women with lived experience.
- NetMums Provides information on local activities www.netmums.com
- NHS 24 Living Life: Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) telephone service www.nhs24.com/UsefulResources/LivingLife
- Royal College of Psychiatrist www.rcpsch.ac.uk. Publications: Mental Health during pregnancy; Postnatal Depression, Postpartum Psychosis severe mental illness following childbirth
- Mindfulness: – Mindfulness is the process of paying attention to the present moment, with purpose and without judgment. Mind the Bump provides tailored exercises to support your mental and emotional wellbeing from day 1 of pregnancy through to the 24 months after birth.
- Baby Buddy: Baby Buddy is the multi –award winning app for parents and parents to be from child health and wellbeing. It was developed by professionals and parents. It is educational with videos and personalised for your own use
- Mind the Bump is a free and helpful resource for anyone during pregnancy. Using mindfulness techniques, the app helps parents to be mentally and emotionally prepared for the arrival of their baby.
- Women who have already been diagnosed with a mental illness or who have been identified as having an increased risk of developing a mental illness during pregnancy, or in the postnatal period, will be offered a referral to a specialised team of nurses and doctors. The information below gives an overview of care and treatment available in Scotland for women during pregnancy. Find out more at Tommys.org.
Additional Support During Pregnancy
Not all problems in pregnancy are related to your developing pregnancy. You may be experiencing other issues which may require additional support such as:
- Domestic Violence
- Perinatal Mental Health
Don’t be afraid to say – your information is confidential and would only be shared with your consent.
If you have concerns about your pregnancy or postnatal period Maternity Triage is always available for advice. Triage can be contacted 24 hours a day on 01324 567098.
All babies born in Scotland are eligible to receive a baby box. Please discuss with your midwife if you would like to apply for one.
Find out more about baby boxes on the Parent Club website.
Some baby’s may arrive early for lots of different reasons, on occasion due to your baby’s specific care needs we may need to transfer your baby to an alternative hospital. This might be before or after the baby is born. If your baby is showing signs of an early arrival we will work with you to create a plan of care that supports both you and your baby.
From birth to starting school every child and family is offered a programme of support, guidance and regular developmental reviews by your named health visitor.
Your health visitor will contact you when you are about 32-34 weeks pregnant to offer you an antenatal home visit. At that time your health visitor will offer you information about the service that they provide to every child and family through the new universal health visiting pathway.
Find more details about the role of the Health Visitor in the Postnatal Wellbeing page.