Preconception and Pregnancy Nutrition
Good nutrition and eating a healthy, well balanced diet is very important for everyone, throughout all ages and stages of life.
Good nutrition is important for all women who may become pregnant because by eating nutritious food it not only benefits the women by improving her fertility it will support early development of her baby. Therefore even before becoming pregnant, it’s a great time to review food and drink eaten is healthy, varied and contains all the vital nutrients including folic acid and other vitamins and minerals.
Eating well during pregnancy helps to ensure a healthy pregnancy with a reduction in risks and health complications associated with giving birth. Most importantly, it is now well established that how a mother eats during pregnancy can impact on the long term health and well-being of her child.
All pregnant women in Scotland are entitled to FREE Healthy Start vitamin tablets which contain folic acid, vitamin D and vitamin C. These are available from community midwives and should be taken throughout pregnancy.
Preconception and Pregnancy Nutrition Resources
- Folic Acid: Before and During Pregnancy –This Public Health Scotland resource details what folic acid is, how much of it women need during pregnancy, which foods contains folic acid or folate, why some women need more and where you can get supplements. Available from HIRS Library – Code: PRE 12/L
- Eating Well In Pregnancy – First Steps Nutrition Trust
- Managing my weight during my pregnancy – NHS Forth Valley booklet for pregnant women who have a Body Mass Index of 30 or over.
Available from HIRS Library – Code: PRE 02/L
- British Dietetic Association – Food Fact Sheets:
- Vitamin D and You – This Public Health Scotland leaflet explains the benefits of getting enough Vitamin D as part of a healthy diet. This leaflet is available in English, Arabic, Polish, Traditional Chinese and Urdu and may be requested in alternative format such as large print, braille and audio versions. Available from HIRS Library – Code: PAE 04/L
- Physical Activity for Pregnant Woman – NHS Forth Valley. Throughout pregnancy aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity every week.
Preconception and Pregnancy Nutrition Links
- Best Start Grant and Best Start Foods – The Best Start Grant is a Scottish benefit to help parents and carers on low incomes with the costs of looking after children. Find out more about the Pregnancy and Baby Payment – You can apply for the Pregnancy and Baby Payment from 24 weeks pregnant up to the day your baby is 6 months old.
- Parent Club – This Scottish Government website has tips for expectant parents and information on how to look after yourself during your pregnancy.
- Ready, Steady, Baby – Takes you right through your pregnancy and beyond.
- British Nutrition Foundation – Have some useful tips on how to keep your diet healthy before and during pregnancy.
- Start 4 Life – Have information on healthy eating during pregnancy as well as information on breastfeeding, baby vitamins, weaning, recipes and meal ideas and much more. Please note this is a Public Health England programme – some of the resources and services are only available to individuals living in England.
For further information on nutrition before and during pregnancy, please email:
Community Dietitian / Infant Feeding Co-ordinator