Your health in pregnancy

There are lots of things you can do and avoid to keep you and your baby healthy during your pregnancy in this area of our website. We have general information about your health in pregnancy including helpful resources to support you and your growing family.

You can find more information about child health on NHS UK and there are a number of apps available that offer further advice and support.

NHS Information and advice

Alcohol and Smoking

It is not recommended to drink any alcohol or smoke during your pregnancy as it can lead to long-term harm to the baby.

Safer sleep for babies – Smoking and e-cigarettes. Find out more about the benefits of not smoking before and after your baby is born from The Lullaby Trust

Looking after your teeth in pregnancy

Some women get swollen and sore gums, which may bleed, during pregnancy. Bleeding gums are caused by a build-up of plaque on the teeth.

Hormonal changes during pregnancy can make your gums more vulnerable to plaque, leading to inflammation and bleeding. This is also called pregnancy gingivitis or gum disease.

For more information

NHS Bleeding gums in pregnancy


It’s important to remember that not all medicines are safe to take when you’re pregnant. Always check with your doctor, pharmacist or midwife before taking any medication.

Protect against getting ill

Be aware of the symptoms if you are feeling unwell and how to avoid infections that may harm your baby – here.

You are entitled to receive the following vaccinations for free as you’re pregnant:

  • the flu vaccination (offered between September and March)
  • the whooping cough vaccination

Travelling during your pregnancy

You can travel when you’re pregnant, it is however advisable to be mindful of the necessary precautions, knowing when you can travel, to get travel insurance and be informed about vaccinations. It would also be wise to know what the healthcare facilities are like at your destination in case you need to seek urgent medical attention.

Some airlines will ask for a letter confirming your due date depending on when you are choosing to fly. It differs depending on the airline so please check before booking.  Ferry companies also have their own restrictions so would recommend checking their policy too. Find out more about travelling here.

Vaccinations in pregnancy

There are some vaccinations that are recommended during pregnancy:

Flu vaccine

During pregnancy, your immune system (the body’s natural defence) is weakened to protect the pregnancy. This can mean you’re less able to fight off infections. As the baby grows, you may be unable to breathe as deeply, increasing the risk of infections such as pneumonia.

These changes can raise the risk from flu – pregnant women are more likely to get flu complications than women who are not pregnant and are more likely to be admitted to hospital. Having the flu vaccine means you’re less likely to get flu.

Whooping cough vaccine

Whooping cough is a very serious infection, and young babies are most at risk. Most babies with whooping cough will be admitted to hospital.

When you have the whooping cough vaccination in pregnancy, your body produces antibodies to protect against whooping cough. These antibodies pass to your baby giving them some protection until they’re able to have their whooping cough vaccination at 8 weeks old.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine

You can have the coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine during pregnancy. You’ll be invited when your age group are offered it or earlier if you have a health condition or reason that means you’re eligible.

It’s preferable for you to have the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccine. This is because they’ve been more widely used during pregnancy in other countries and have not caused any safety issues.

When you’re offered a vaccine, speak to your GP surgery to arrange an appointment. This is to make sure you go to a vaccination centre offering the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccine.’

Find out more about vaccination in pregnancy on


It is recommended that you take folic acid when you’re planning on having a baby and up until the first twelve weeks of your pregnancy. Folic Acid reduces the risk of problems in your baby’s development. It is also recommended to take a daily Vitamin D supplement. You can get supplements from pharmacies and supermarkets, or a GP may be able to prescribe them for you.

You can get free vitamins for our Torbay children’s centres.

Work and Pregnancy

If you are working and you’re pregnant it’s important for you to be aware of your rights and what you are entitled to.

Your employer must protect your health and safety, and you may have the right to paid time off for antenatal care. You’re also protected against unfair treatment. 

If you have any worries or concerns about your health whilst you are at work, talk to your doctor, midwife or occupational health nurse. Find out more here.

Your baby’s movements

You will start to feel your baby’s movements around 16-24 weeks – at first it will feel like a flutter and as your pregnancy progresses you’ll feel the kicks! Find out more about here.

More information and advice in pregnancy

Healthy Start

Get help to buy food and milk.

If you’re pregnant or have a child under 4, you could get Healthy Start vouchers to help buy some basic foods. This important means-tested scheme provides vouchers to spend with local retailers.


Our pregnancy section includes a week-by-week guide, advice on vitamins, and which foods to include for a healthy, nutritious diet.

Torbay Pregnancy Advisory Service

Torbay’s pregnancy advisory service offers free, confidential support and counselling from experienced doctors and nurses.

Tommy’s pregnancy hub

Midwife-led information hub covers everything you need to know about having a safe and healthy pregnancy, from conception to birth.

Advice for partners

It can be an exciting and scary time waiting to become a parent for the first time.

Things are going to change for you both once the baby arrives – but there are also some changes you can make during the pregnancy.

Emma’s Diary

What to expect during your pregnancy and advice on preparing for the birth of your baby

Baby Buddy App

Developed by UK charity Best Beginnings in collaboration with parents, healthcare professionals and partner charities across the country: the free Baby Buddy app is with you throughout your pregnancy and parenting journey, day by day.