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There are some common issues that pregnant women tend to ask about or have concerns around. This section aims to address some of these issues.

Promoting Smoke Free Pregnancies and Homes

You are 4 times more likely to quit smoking with your local NHS stop smoking service.

It's important to us that you have all the information you need to make decisions about your health, your family' health and the health of your new baby.

Carbon monoxide (a gas from smoking) passes into the baby's bloodstream, and it reduces the amount of oxygen that gets to your baby. This can stop your baby growing properly and can cause you to give birth prematurely. In some cases this can even result in a stillborn baby.

If you stop smoking you are more likely to have a full term healthy baby.

Your midwife understands how difficult this can be and will talk to you about how we can help and arrange specialist support, along with free nicotine replacement therapy, to help you quit.

The Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust runs the Stop Smoking Service for anyone in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland who wants to stop smoking.

 Pregnant women are among the most important people they work with.

 The team of specialist advisors are friendly, flexible and experienced in giving women the best chance of going smokefree for their baby’s health. They will visit women at home, in a favourite coffee shop, at a Children’s Centre or wherever is most convenient.

 They are also very happy to help the woman’s partners, family and friends, as this can be very important for the success of the pregnant woman’s quit attempt.

The success of the service is built on a NICE-recommended combination of specialist support by people who understand the particular needs of pregnant women, and the use of stop smoking medications to make the journey from smoker to smokefree so much easier.  

To find out more, please call 0116 295 4141 (Leicester city) or 0845 045 2828 (Leicestershire County & Rutland). There is a very simple referral pathway that can be used by anyone working with pregnant women, and referrals can be made at any point during pregnancy. Women can also self-refer using the numbers above.

Lots of mums have made the journey from smoker to smoke free we can help you do it too!

Working during pregnancy

The majority of women can be reassured that it is safe to continue working during pregnancy.
There is no set guidance around the stage of pregnancy you should inform your employer. However you may wish to consider that there may be health and safety issues to consider depending on your job once pregnant. Further information about possible occupational hazards during pregnancy is available from the Health and Safety Executive.

From around 20 weeks your employer will ask you for a MAT B 1 form that your midwife will complete for you. This can be obtained at a routine antenatal appointment any time before you plan to finish working.

Nutritional supplements

Taking folic acid, before conception and throughout the first 12 weeks or your pregnancy, reduces the risk of having a baby with a neural tube defect (for example spina bifida). The recommended dose is 400 micrograms per day.

You do not need to take any Iron tablets unless you have been advised to do so by your midwife or doctor . They may suggest Iron suppliments if your haemoglobin levels drop below recommended levels.

Taking vitamin A supplements (intake above 700 micrograms) might be harmful to your baby's development and should therefore be avoided. Liver and liver products may also contain high levels of vitamin A, and therefore consumption of these products should also be avoided.

It is important for your own and your baby's health to maintain adequate vitamin D stores during pregnancy and whilst breastfeeding. In order to achieve this, women may choose to take 10 micrograms of vitamin D per day as found in the Healthy Start multivitamin supplement.

There are some women at greater risk and it is advisable that they take this daily supplement:
  • women of South Asian, African, Caribbean or Middle Eastern family origin
  • women who have limited exposure to sunlight, such as women who are predominantly housebound, or usually remain covered when outdoors
  • women who eat a diet particularly low in vitamin D, such as women who consume no oily fish, eggs, meat, vitamin D-fortified margarine or breakfast cereal
  • women with a pre-pregnancy body mass index above 30 kg/m2.

Food-acquired infections

There are some foods which are nest avoided during your pregnancy as they can cause listeriosis:
  • drinking only pasteurised or UHT milk
  • not eating ripened soft cheese such as Camembert, Brie and blue-veined cheese (there is no risk with hard cheeses, such as Cheddar, or cottage cheese and processed cheese)
  • not eating pâté (of any sort, including vegetable pâté)
  • not eating uncooked or undercooked ready-prepared meals.
You can reduce the risk of salmonella infection by:
  • avoiding raw or partially cooked eggs or food that may contain them (such as mayonnaise)
  • avoiding raw or partially cooked meat, especially poultry.

Sexual intercourse

If your pregnancy is progressing normally there is no reason to worry about continuing a normal sexual relationship. However if you have any complications such as bleeding or discharge please consult a health professional.


Any exercise that you have regularly taken part in prior to pregnancy is probably safe to continue with. However it may not be advisable to start some sports at this time, again seek advice if you are unsure.

Sleep-On-Side - a pregnancy campaign 

Tommy's has launched the Sleep On Side campaign in response to the publication of a fourth research study confirming a link between going to sleep supine (on back) in late pregnancy and stillbirth.

The international research teams that have been involved in these studies have called for women to be made aware of the research, and informed that going to sleep on their side in late pregnancy could reduce their risk of stillbirth. We have worked with parents and clinicians to create an animation to raise awareness of the importance of going to sleep on your side in late pregnancy.

To find out more and to watch an informative video, please click on the link below:


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