Skip to content
  1. Do it online
  2. Login
  3. Have your say
  4. My Durham

Staying healthy in pregnancy

A healthy woman is more likely to give birth to a healthy baby.

Our health professionals can support you, and your partner, to adopt positive health behaviours and reduce risk factors.


Baby Buddy is the multi-award winning free app that guides you through pregnancy, birth, parenting and beyond. The app has been designed with parents and professionals to help you give your baby the best start in life and support your health and wellbeing. Find out more on our Baby Buddy page.

Nutrition and physical exercise

During pregnancy it is important to:

  • eat a healthy diet and not eat for two
  • take 10 micrograms of vitamin D each day through pregnancy and continue after the baby is born if you are breastfeeding
  • continue to take folic acid up to the 12 weeks of pregnancy
  • stay active and healthy

Eating healthily while you're pregnant means that your baby eats healthily too. See the healthy eating section on the Start4Life website: Start4Life (healthy eating).

Did you know that 150 minutes of walking each week has loads of benefits for pregnant mums? Gentle exercise is great for you and your baby. If you're not used to doing regular exercise, why not start doing 10 minutes every day, perhaps take a brisk walk or go for a swim. You can then build up to 150 minutes of exercise throughout the week. See Active 10 for great ideas on how to stay active.

Sexual health

Encouraging good sexual health during pregnancy is just as important, if not more so, than at any other time. All pregnant women are offered screening. See our Sexual health page for more information.


You'll have a number of antenatal appointments during your pregnancy, and you'll see a midwife or sometimes an obstetrician (doctor specialising in pregnancy). Antenatal screening tests include:

Screening for sickle cell disease and thalassaemia should be offered before 10 weeks. This is so you and your partner can find out about all your options and make an informed decision if your baby is at risk of inheriting these disorders.

See the NHS - your antenatal appointments page for more information.


From 20 weeks, you will be offered the Whooping cough vaccination. The best time to have this vaccine is after your scan, up to 32 weeks. But if for any reason you miss the vaccine, you can still have it up until you go into labour. This maximizes the protection to the baby in the early weeks after birth.

See the NHS - your antenatal appointments page for more information.

Pregnant women are offered the flu vaccine at any point during the pregnancy (seasonal) which will protect both mother and baby

Risk factors in pregnancy

There are a number of factors that can increase the risk of harm to your unborn baby.

Smoking during pregnancy

Baby on the way, quit today. If you smoke while you're pregnant, your baby smokes too. We can help you quit. For more information about smoking and your unborn baby, and advice on how to stop smoking, see our Smoking in pregnancy page.

Drinking alcohol during pregnancy

If you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy, the safest approach is not to drink alcohol at all, to keep risks to your baby to a minimum. Drinking in pregnancy can lead to long term harm to your baby - the more you drink, the greater the risk. See the NHS website's Can I drink alcohol when pregnant? for more information.

Domestic abuse

There is an increased risk of domestic abuse to mothers during pregnancy. If you need help and support, see our domestic abuse information.

Pregnancy and post-birth Wellbeing Plan

The Wellbeing Plan is a two-page plan, that helps you start thinking about how you feel and what support you might need in your pregnancy and after the birth.

Contact us
Public Health
03000 264 109
Our address is:
  • County Hall
  • Adult and Health Services
  • Durham
  • County Durham
  • United Kingdom
  • DH1 5UJ