Having a safe and healthy pregnancy

Staying healthy and safe during your pregnancy is important for you and your baby.

As well as looking after your own health there are some key things you can do to pick up any possible issues early.

Help your baby stay fit and well

You can help your baby stay fit and well during your pregnancy by:

  • attending all of your appointments, and having all of the tests and checks offered
  • getting to know your baby's usual pattern of movements
  • being as healthy as you can, including eating a healthy balanced diet and keeping active
  • stopping smoking
  • having the flu and whooping cough vaccinations
  • sleeping on your side in the last 3 months of your pregnancy
  • managing any health conditions well

Your antenatal appointments, tests and checks

Some of the tests must be done at specific times, so it’s important not to miss any.

If you can’t get to an appointment, you can rearrange it with your midwife.

More about your antenatal appointments and tests and checks during pregnancy

Reduce your risk of stillbirth

Sadly, four babies a week are stillborn in Scotland and it’s truly devastating for any family to go through.

Sometimes we don't know the cause, but we do know there are things you can do to reduce the risk of stillbirth.

  • Go to sleep on your side: From 24 weeks of pregnancy, it’s safer to go to sleep on your side to avoid reducing the blood flow to your baby . Don’t worry if you wake up on your back, just go back to lying on your side.
  • No smoking: Smoking while pregnant reduces the flow of oxygen to your baby, which increases the risk of stillbirth.
  • Get to know your baby’s movements: If your baby’s movements change, it could be their way of telling you that something is wrong. If your baby’s movements slow down or stop, please contact your midwife or maternity unit straight away using the emergency contact information given to you. More about getting to know your baby during pregnancy

Parent Club have launched a campaign to raise awareness of how to reduce your risk of stillbirth. You can find out more on how to reduce your risk of stillbirth.

Stay healthy

When you’re pregnant or trying for a baby, be as healthy as you can by:

  • eating healthy foods
  • being active
  • not drinking alcohol

Your midwife can give you advice and information about staying healthy.

More about eating well, keeping active and drinking alcohol during pregnancy

Stop smoking

Smoking is the biggest cause of health issues in developing and newborn babies, so stopping is the best thing you can do for both you and your baby.

More about smoking in pregnancy

Flu and whooping cough vaccinations

Pregnant women should have the flu vaccine at any stage in their pregnancy to get ready for flu season (October to March) and the whooping cough vaccine from week 16 of each pregnancy.

More about immunisations in pregnancy

Manage your health well

If you have a long-term physical or mental health condition before you're pregnant, make sure it’s well managed and controlled. Speak to your midwife or GP.

More about managing health conditions and looking after your mental wellbeing during pregnancy

Translations and alternative formats of this information are available from Public Health Scotland.