Planning a family

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When you are having your first child or expanding your existing family there is a lot to consider and keeping yourself healthy is one of the best things you can do to prepare yourself for this exciting new adventure.

Health and wellbeing

Your health and lifestyle will affect your pregnancy. It's worth visiting your Midwife, practice nurse or GP before you get pregnant. They will give you advice on what you can do to get your pregnancy off to the best start, including what you eat, fitness and any medical conditions you have.


If you plan to get pregnant you should focus on getting and maintaining a healthy body weight, make sure your diet has enough folic acid and eat a wide range of food to benefit from different nutrients.

You can significantly reduce the risk of birth defects including spina bifida by taking folic acid both before and during pregnancy. If you plan to get pregnant, take an an 8mg folic acid tablet once a day for at least 4 weeks before conception. Tablets can be prescribed by your Midwife or GP or can be bought over the counter at a pharmacy.

Even if your pregnancy is not planned it's not too late to start taking folic acid in your first 12 weeks.


Some types of medication are harmful to an unborn baby. If you have a medical condition (such as epilepsy, asthma or diabetes) talk to your GP about the fact you want to get pregnant. Some medicines sold over the counter should be avoided because they are not safe early in pregnancy.


When you are pregnant if you drink alcohol it will be carried to your baby through your bloodstream. Drinking during pregnancy increases the risk of problems for your baby including learning disorders, and behavioural or social problems. You should avoid alcohol if you're planning to get pregnant.


Smoking during pregnancy is linked to health risks for both the mother and the foetus. It is better to stop smoking before you get pregnant but even quitting while you are pregnant will help. It’s usually okay for pregnant and breastfeeding women to use nicotine patches, gum and/or lozenges.

Information on how to quit smoking is in The Quit Book.

  Support is also available from:

  •          Quitline 0800 778 778 
  •          Whaiora 06 370 0818
  •          Linda Spence Wairarapa Smokefree Coordinator 0276294302


Is a quit smoking programme for wahine hapu (Pregnant women) and their support people.  It is formed as a 12 week rewards programme, gift vouchers are offered as an incentive to stay smokefree and are given as rewards when certain milestones are achieved.  You and your named support people can enrol through your LMC, or phone 0800 494246.


Speak to your GP or Lead Maternity Carer if you have concerns about fertility