Health things you should know in pregnancy

A guide to things to do - or avoid - during pregnancy, including food, drink, alcohol, exercise, smoking and mental wellbeing.

There are things you can do, and things you can avoid, to keep you and your baby as healthy as possible in pregnancy.

Go to your pregnancy (antenatal) appointments

It's important not to miss any of your antenatal appointments. These appointments are part of your NHS pregnancy journey.

The tests, scans and checks you'll have help look after the health of you and your baby.

Some of the tests and measurements that can find potential problems have to be done at specific times of your pregnancy, which is why you have appointments at certain weeks.

There are also things you can do to keep you and your baby as healthy as possible in pregnancy.

Not smoking



Not all medicines are safe to take when you're pregnant. This includes prescribed medicines and medicines you can buy in a pharmacy or shop.

Find out more about medicines in pregnancy.


Protect against getting ill

Baby movements

Your dental health

You're entitled to free NHS dental treatment if you're pregnant when you start your treatment and for 12 months after your baby is born.

To get free NHS dental treatment, you must have a valid maternity exemption certificate (MatEx) issued by your midwife or GP.

Sleeping well


Deep vein thrombosis (blood clots)

X-rays during pregnancy

For all X-rays, you should let the hospital know if you're pregnant.

X-rays are not usually recommended during pregnancy unless it's an emergency

Cervical screening during pregnancy

You will not usually need to have cervical screening if you're pregnant, or could be pregnant, until at least 12 weeks after you've given birth. This is because pregnancy can make it harder to get clear results.

If you're already pregnant and due for a cervical screening test then tell the GP or clinic.

You will usually be advised to reschedule the test for a date around 12 weeks after your baby is born.

If you've previously had an abnormal result from a cervical screening test, you may need to be screened while you're pregnant. Your GP or midwife may ask you to have a cervical screening test at your first antenatal appointment. This test will not affect your pregnancy.

What if I have a health condition?

If you have a health condition, for example, diabetes or asthma, it can affect your pregnancy. Pregnancy can also affect any conditions you have.

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