The Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust


FAQ for pregnancy


Click here to read our leaflet which explains perineal massage in more detail. 

Is it safe to have sex in pregnancy?

Yes, it is safe to have sex during an uncomplicated pregnancy. You should be aware that sexually transmitted diseases can still be shared when you are pregnant.

What foods should I avoid in pregnancy?

Most foods are safe during pregnancy. A healthy diet with 5 portions of fruit and vegetables is recommended. Meat should be well cooked and dairy products should be pasteurised. High fibre foods can help prevent constipation. Some soft cheeses, pate, raw eggs, liver products and shark/marlin/swordfish/raw shellfish should be avoided. Caffeine (found in tea, coffee, chocolate and some fizzy drinks) should be limited to 200mg a day. This would be equivalent to 2 mugs of instant coffee, 2-3 cups of teas or 2 cups of tea and a can of cola.  Further information on the amount of caffeine in food and drinks is available at www.nhs.uk.

What about alcohol?

Alcohol consumption during pregnancy can harm the developing unborn baby or the breastfeeding baby.

Pregnant women and women planning a pregnancy are advised to avoid drinking alcohol in the first 3 months of pregnancy if possible because it may be associated with an increased risk of miscarriage.

If you choose to drink alcohol during pregnancy it is advised you drink no more than 1 to 2 UK units once or twice a week (1 unit equals half a pint of ordinary strength lager or beer, or one shot [25 ml] of spirits. One small [125 ml] glass of wine is equal to 1.5 UK units). Although there is uncertainty regarding a safe level of alcohol consumption in pregnancy, at this low level there is no evidence of harm to the unborn baby' (NICE March 2008, Antenatal Guidelines).

If you are breastfeeding, not drinking is the safest option.

What about vitamin and mineral supplements?

Folic Acid 400mcg daily is recommended before and during pregnancy. Vitamin D 10mcg is recommended in pregnancy. Vitamin A supplements should be avoided. You may be entitled to free vitamins - ask your midwife.

Will smoking harm my baby?

Cigarettes can restrict the essential oxygen supply to your baby, so their heart has to beat harder every time you smoke. Protecting your baby from the harm of tobacco smoke is one of the best things you can do to give your baby a healthy start in life. No matter what stage you are in your pregnancy, it’s not too late to give up smoking. Stopping completely will provide immediate benefits for you and your unborn baby (including being is less likely to be born too early, being born underweight, reducing the risk of cot death and stillbirth) and is recommended by experts rather than cutting down.

Fresh Air Babies (FAB) in Leeds, is a free service to provide both mums and dads with what they need to stop smoking. Call them free on 08001694219 or text FAB to 07811542548 for more information.

Is vomitting in pregnancy normal?

Yes. Many women suffer from nausea and/or vomitting in pregnancy. For most it goes away after 3-4 months, but some women experience nausea/vomitting throughout the entire pregnancy. If you are suffering from vomitting drink plenty, have small amounts of food often and do not stop eating. Try to distract yourself, the more you think about it the worse it gets. Severe vomitting may lead to dehydration and may require hospitalisation.

When will I start to feel my baby move?

Every women is different! You may start to feel movements from around 18 to 22 weeks pregnant. At first, you feel a fluttering or bubbling, or a very slight shifting movement, maybe a bit like indigestion.

Why does my midwife keep asking me about my baby's movements?

An active baby is a happy baby. Your baby will have its own unique pattern of movements which you will soon get to recognise. Babies move during the day and the night time. Your midwife is trying to ensure that you are aware of your baby's movement pattern and report immediately any change.