Pregnancy, birth and parenthood

Establishing healthy habits early on gives your baby the best start in life and reduces the risk of poor health later in life.


Breastfeeding is a skill that you and your baby learn together. It can take time and practice to get the hang of it, so don't panic if it's not quite working at first.

Most problems with feeding can be overcome with some help in finding the right, and most comfortable, way of holding and feeding your baby, and every baby and mum are different.

If you would like more information please see Start4Life.

Keeping active

Being active during pregnancy means you're likely maintain a healthier weight and be able to cope better with the physical demands of pregnancy and labour.

It also reduces the risk of miscarriage, stillbirth, birth defects and diabetes.

It can also prevent gestational diabetes, which makes your baby grow too big in pregnancy, and can lead to delivery complications and low blood sugar.

Being active can also prevent you from getting high blood pressure, which can result in a stillbirth.

Healthy eating

Eating healthily while you're pregnant means that your baby eats healthily too.

We all want to eat healthily. But it can feel like a challenge, especially if time is squeezed, money is tight, or you're just not used to cooking.

When you're pregnant, eating healthily is doubly important.

That's because every day your baby's brain and organs are growing and it needs lots of the right nutrients to do this.

Eating healthily during pregnancy can also help your baby after it's born, reducing its risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

Stopping smoking

Stopping smoking is hard.

But if there ever was a moment for you and your partner to quit, it's now, when you are pregnant.

It's the most important decision you can make for your baby.

Avoid alcohol

What you drink, your baby drinks too. Swap booze for sugar free juice, water or tea.

We all like to relax and unwind at the end of a long hard day - and that doesn't change when you are pregnant.

The thing is that what you drink, your baby drinks too. But as your baby's liver isn't even developed until the last month of pregnancy, even a little bit of alcohol can be damaging.

Look after you too

Being a parent is probably the most exciting and emotional time of anybody's life.

But whilst you are spending all of your time looking after your child, take a moment to think about yourself.

Making sure you're ok will mean that you'll be doing your best for child.

Getting help from your partner, family, or friends - whether that's washing, cooking, cleaning, or looking after the little one for a bit, is really important to help you get through this busy time.

Healthy Start Vitamins

South Tyneside Council is offering FREE Healthy Start Vitamins to pregnant women and families with children under 4 years old in South Tyneside.

Vitamins are good for both you and your family and can help your child to grow up healthy and strong.

Learn more about Healthy Start Vitamins and how you can claim your free supply, see Healthy Start Vitamins.