Your Pregnancy Health

Healthy choices for pregnancy

Making healthy lifestyle choices is one of the best ways to invest in your health and there is no better time to do this than when you are expecting a baby. 

The health professionals involved in your care want to support you to be as healthy as possible during your pregnancy.

What can I do?

Healthy Eating

Eating healthily during pregnancy is really important for you and your baby. Try to eat a healthy, balanced diet and avoid foods and drinks which are high in sugar, fat and salt. 

You may be entitled to Healthy Start Vouchers to help with the cost of fresh fruit and vegetables, milk and vitamins. Click here to find out more about Healthy Start.

If your body mass index (BMI) is 30 or above, we aim to give you additional support to help prevent you from gaining too much weight during pregnancy and support you to lose weight after you have had your baby.

Useful websites about healthy eating during pregnancy:

NHS Choices: Have a healthy diet in pregnancy

Tommy's Healthy Eating Tips
BBC Good Food: A balanced diet for pregnancy 

Foods to avoid in pregnancy:

NHS Choices: Foods to avoid in pregnancy

Alcohol in pregnancy

NHS Choices: Drinking alcohol while pregnant

Keeping Well in Pregnancy Clinic

The Keeping Well in Pregnancy Clinic provides enhanced antenatal care for women with a BMI of 35 and above in a supportive, non judemental environment. 

Research has shown that by getting extra support to eat healthily and keep physically active, you can reduce your chances excessive weight gain in your pregnancy. This may help to reduce your risks of getting high blood pressure, diabetes, having a very big baby or needing a caesarean section.

During the Keeping Well in Pregnancy clinic you will: 

  • Have your routine antenatal check
  • Discuss your tailored care pathway to support you throughout your pregnancy
  • Find out more about how to make healthy lifestyle choices during pregnancy and beyond.
  • Prepare for the birth and arrival of your baby. 

At your booking appointment, your midwife may ask you if you would like to see a specialist midwife in the Keeping Well in Pregnancy clinic.

Keep physically active

Keeping fit during pregnancy has many benefits. As well as increasing your strength and stamina for when you go into labour, it can contribute to positive mental well-being and can  help you achieve a  healthy weight-gain during pregnancy.

If you are suffering from muscular skeletal pain, you may find it more difficult to keep active. You can self-refer to Derriford’s Physiotherapy Department for specialist support.  The physiotherapy department also have a number of excellent video resources and information leaflets for pregnancy.  

It is important that you exercise safely when you are pregnant, click here to find out how.

There are a very wide range of activities which are suitable during pregnancy. Most low intensity forms of exercise are great to do in pregnancy. You can use the following websites to find out more and discover what kinds of exercise activities are available locally.

Antenatal and Postnatal Classes

Take Care of Your Emotional Well-Being

Taking care of your mental well-being when you are pregnant or have recently had a baby is just as important as taking care of your physical health. Ensuring that you eat well, exercise regularly and get plenty of rest, can all contribute to positive mental health.

Whilst pregnancy and having a baby is a time of happiness for many women, it is not at all uncommon to experience negative emotions. These could include experiencing  feelings such as unhappiness, anxiety or difficulty bonding with baby.  Sometimes women can experience episodes of severe mental illness during pregnancy or after the birth of their baby.  This can occur even if there have been no previous episodes of mental illness.

Recognising the signs of becoming mentally unwell and talking to your doctor, midwife or health visitor are a really important steps towards becoming well again. This well-being plan can help you to identify the signs of when you need to seek help.

Local services:


Plymouth Options Counselling

Outlook South West (Cornwall)

Postnatal depression Support:

Plymouth Postnatal Wellbeing Group: email or call 01752 512280

Outlook South West (Cornwall)

Antenatal advice

Get prepared for Childbirth and Caring for your Newborn

Antenatal classes are a great way to meet other parents –to- be and find out more about pregnancy, labour and birth, and caring for your newborn baby.

Antenatal classes near you:

Other antenatal classes:

Online antenatal courses:

The Real Birth Company covers feelings and thoughts around childbirth, birth planning and birth process, including caesarean birth and having your baby early modules. The Real Birth Digital Programme includes:

  • Module 1: Feelings and thoughts around birth
  • Module 2: Beginning at the end!
  • Module 3: Second stage of labour
  • Module 4: The pelvis and labour
  • Module 5: Positions for labour and birth
  • Module 6: How the uterus works in labour
  • Module 7: Practical birthing skills
  • Module 8: Birth planning and breathing (optional extra module)
  • Module 9: Giving birth by caesarean
  • Module 10: Creating awareness about giving birth early
  • Module 11: Giving birth to your baby early

Talk to your maternity team to find out how to register for this free programme.


Find information about pregnancy, labour, birth, and your baby with this free antenatal course. Brought to you by the Solihull Approach and developed by Registered Midwives and health professionals. 

To access the free course: 

Come along to all your scheduled appointments

By attending your appointments, your midwife or doctor make sure that your pregnancy is progressing well, refer you for specialist care if needed and answer any questions or concerns that you may have.Your appointments may be in the community or in the hospital.

Smoking, alcohol and drugs

If you smoke or need support with alchohol or substance misuse specialist help is available. Please ask your midwife. 

Pregnant women and their families or postnatal women can have a stop smoking appointment at home if living in Plymouth or they can be seen at 1-1 Clinic appointment locally ( or call Livewell Wellbeing team on 01752 437177 or refer yourself on Generic email for advice & support for Livewell Services:

Hospital Policy requests those using vapes do not use them indoors and not within ring road surrounding Derriford Hospital.

Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) is available free for inpatients on all wards at Derriford Hospital. Midwives/Nurses are able to administer a one-off nicotine patch. Families can also purchase Nicotine replacement therapy from Lloyds Pharmacy at the front of Derriford Hospital during work hours.

National information on NHS Choices:

Local information on Smoking and other Livewell services at One You Plymouth.

You can self-refer via  for advice and support from One You Plymouth (this is not Livewell SW service).

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