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Eating well is an important part of maintaining good health during pregnancy, it will help your baby develop and grow and can help you feel your best too. Also, keeping active and fit during pregnancy will make it easier for you to adapt to your changing shape and weight gain. It will also help you cope with labour and to get back into shape after the birth.

There is lots of research to suggest that weight management in pregnancy for overweight and obese women can be beneficial and reduce the risk of complications. However, excessive dieting is not recommended as it may be harmful. Check out the information below for helpful and realistic advice for expecting mums


Healthy Weight in Pregnancy

This programme offers one to one, individual support to pregnant women, who are above a healthy weight, by offering support and education around healthy eating, physical activity and weight management.

Information we can provide:

  • The importance of healthy eating during pregnancy: a balanced, nutritious and safe diet
  • Eating well on a budget and healthy eating tips for all your family
  • The importance of being active during pregnancy
  • Weight management during pregnancy
  • Promotion of Healthy Start Scheme and breastfeeding support
  • Discussion of local support, community groups and classes, should you wish
  • Sending useful resources, tools and personal action-plans to you, for you to follow

How do I join a healthy weight in pregnancy programme?

If you are interested in this programme, please ask your midwife to refer you. You can be referred at any stage during your pregnancy, but ideally following your first booking appointment.

For specific stop smoking in pregnancy advice please call: 01209 313419

Healthy eating

The first 1,000 days – that is, the nine months of pregnancy and the first two years of the baby’s life – are seen as a critical window of opportunity to get food and nutrition right for every individual around the world. The nutrition of women and children in developed countries is as important as anywhere else and many parents appreciate this period as one where they can make the most important contribution to their child’s healthy future.

Eating well in pregnancy, as well as staying active, are the most important things you can do to give your baby the best start in life. Our 'Eating Well' fact sheets below give practical and easy to follow information to be able to eat well during your pregnancy.

Physical activity

Keeping up your normal daily physical activity will not harm your unborn child; at least 30 minutes per day of moderate intensity activity is recommended. Moderate intensity physical activity means your heart rate should rise a little. You will feel a bit out of breath but still be able to hold a conversation.

Don't exhaust yourself, and remember you may need to slow down as your pregnancy progresses or if your doctor advises you to. 

Our Physical activity during pregnancy factsheets below will give you some helpul tips and advice on staying active during pregnancy

Healthy Start

Healthy start helps you give your family the very best start in life!     

What is Healthy Start?

If you are pregnant or have a child under four years old you could get Healthy Start vouchers to help buy some basic foods. This scheme provides vouchers to spend with local retailers. Pregnant women and children over one and under four years old can get one £3.10 voucher per week. Children under one year old can get two £3.10 vouchers (£6.20) per week. Women and children getting these vouchers also get free Healthy Start vitamins which are specifically designed for pregnant and breastfeeding women and growing children.

The vouchers can be spent on:

  • plain cow’s milk – whole, semi-skimmed or skimmed. It can be pasteurised, sterilised, long life or UHT
  • plain fresh or frozen fruit and veg (fruit and vegetables with no added ingredients), whole or chopped, packaged or loose
  • infant formula milk that says it can be used from birth and is based on cow’s milk.

To find out where in Cornwall you can collect your vitamins and spend your vouchers visit

Do I qualify?

You qualify for Healthy Start if you’re at least 10 weeks pregnant or have a child under four years old and you or your family get:

  • Income Support, or
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, or
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance, or
  • Child Tax Credit (but not Working Tax Credit unless your family is receiving Working Tax Credit run-on only*) and has an annual family income of £16,190 or less (2014/15).

You also qualify if you are under 18 and pregnant, even if you don’t get any of the above benefits or tax credits.To see if you qualify click here

How do I apply?

The first thing to do is to get an application form, you can do this by:

  • asking your midwife or health visitor
  • calling the Healthy Start helpline on 0845 6076823
  • visit

Fill in Part A of the form making sure you use black ink and CAPITAL letters. Take the form to your midwife or Health Visitor and ask them to complete Part B. Make sure BOTH you and your midwife/health vistor have signed the form or it can not be accepted. Then send to:

Healthy Start Issuing Unit
PO Box 1067
WA55 1EG


Breastfeeding is the healthiest way to feed your baby. Feeding your baby nothing but breast milk is recommended for around the first six months (26 weeks) of your baby's life. After that, giving your baby breast milk alongside other food will help them continue to grow and develop.

Breastfeeding is good for babies. Breastfed babies have:

  • less chance of diarrhoea and vomiting and having to go to hospital as a result
  • fewer chest and ear infections and having to go to hospital as a result
  • less chance of being constipated
  • less likelihood of becoming obese and therefore developing type 2 diabetes and other illnesses later in life
  • less chance of developing eczema

Breastfeeding is good for mums too. Breastfeeding your baby:

  • reduces your risk of developing ovarian cancer and breast cancer
  • helps protect you from developing osteoporosis (weak bones later in life)
  • lowers your risk of obesity, it helps you to lose weight
  • helps your uterus return to its pre-pregnant size
  • lowers your risk of cardiovascular disease
  • reduces your risk of developing type 2 diabetes

Any amount of breastfeeding has a positive effect. The longer you breastfeed, the longer the protection lasts and the greater the benefits. Breast milk adapts to meet your baby's changing needs.

Every woman has to learn how to feed her baby. The health professionals involved in your care (midwives, health visiting staff etc) have all been specially trained to support you in this. Also there are some resources and links to further information listed below which you may find helpful.

In fact, it’s never too early to start thinking about how you're going to feed your baby.

Today, most women in England are choosing to breastfeed.

  • Breast milk is the only natural food designed for your baby.
  • Breastfeeding protects your baby from infections and diseases.
  • Breast milk provides health benefits for your baby.
  • Breastfeeding provides health benefits for mum.
  • It’s free.
  • It’s available whenever and wherever your baby needs a feed.
  • It’s the right temperature.
  • It can build a strong physical and emotional bond between mother and baby.
  • It can give you a great sense of achievement.

Click here for the Essential guide to feeding & caring for your baby Cornwall & Isles of Scilly

Fact sheets & helpful links


Helpful links

Cornwall - real baby milk

Essential guide to feeding & caring for your baby Cornwall & Isles of Scilly

NHS - Breastfeeding

NHS Choices - your pregnancy and baby guide

National Childbirth Trust - Support for new parents

La Leche League

Association of Breastfeeding Mothers