Planning a baby If you’re thinking of trying to get pregnant, there are things you can do to improve your chances of success. On this page, we will direct you to advice and support on a range of topics: Folic Acid Quitting Smoking Healthy Eating Managing your Medications The NHS website has lots of advice on its planning a pregnancy pages. You may also wish to use the ‘Planning a Pregnancy’ tool on the Tommy’s website, which also has lots of useful information about things you can do to prepare for pregnancy. Folic Acid Folic acid is very important for the development of a healthy foetus. It can significantly reduce the risk of neural tube defects (NTDs), such as spina bifida. You should take a 400 micrograms (mcg) folic acid tablet every day while you are trying to get pregnant and until you are 12 weeks pregnant, when your baby’s spine is developing. If you didn’t take folic acid before you conceived, you should start as soon as you find out that you are pregnant. You should also eat foods that contain folate (the natural form of folic acid), such as green leafy vegetables. Some breakfast cereals and some fat spreads such as margarine may have folic acid added to them. It’s difficult to get the amount of folate recommended for pregnancy from food alone, which is why it is important to take a folic acid supplement. Some people may need a higher dose of folic acid. If you think any of the following apply to you, speak to your GP: if you have a high BMI if you are taking anti-epileptic medication if you or your partner have a neural tube defect, or a family history of neural tube defects if you have had a previous pregnancy affected by a neural tube defect if you have diabetes Visit the NHS website for more information. Quitting Smoking Non-smokers find it easier to get pregnant. Quitting smoking improves the lining of the womb and can make men’s sperm more potent. Becoming a non-smoker increases the possibility of conceiving through IVF and reduces the likelihood of having a miscarriage. Most importantly, it improves the chances of giving birth to a healthy baby. If you need support to stop smoking, Gloucestershire’s Healthy Lifestyles Service are there to help. Find out more via their website, call 0800 122 3788 or email email@example.com Healthy Eating A healthy diet is important at any time, but is especially vital if you’re pregnant or planning a pregnancy. Eating healthily during pregnancy will help your baby to develop and grow. You don’t need to go on a special diet, but it’s important to eat a variety of different foods every day to get the right balance of nutrients that you and your baby need. Gloucestershire Healthy Lifestyles Service can support you with making changes to have a more healthy diet. You can find out more via the HLS Gloucestershire website. The NHS website also offers a range of good advice on having a healthy diet in pregnancy. Managing Your Medication If you are pregnant, or planning a pregnancy, you should talk to your pharmacist, GP or midwife about any existing medications you may be taking, whether they are on prescription or over-the-counter. You can find further information and advice on the NHS website below, but remember you should never stop taking medication without first speaking to your doctor as stopping could harm both you and your baby. Which medicines are safe? Herbal and Homeopathic remedies Common questions about medicines in pregnancy For advice on taking medication for existing health conditions such as mental health problems, asthma, diabetes, see the Medicines in Pregnancy pages on the NHS website.