More support needed for those planning a pregnancy

Research published last week, which looked at the data of more than 131,000 women using the Tommy’s Preparing for Pregnancy app, has shown that there is a trend for women who are thinking about having a baby to have unhealthy lifestyle habits.

The app asks the women who sign up questions about their health and lifestyles so that it can give them tailored advice and help reduce pregnancy risks.

Some of the main findings included:

  • 20% of women smoked and 3.7% used recreational drugs. Rates were higher among those under 25 and those with a BMI under 18.5 (31% smoked and 5% used recreational drugs.) These groups were also less likely to be taking the recommended vitamin supplements.
  • Only 43% did the recommended 150 minutes of physical activity a week.
  • Only half ate their 5 a day.
  • Over half of those who reported their weight had a BMI above the healthy weight range, although the same unhealthier lifestyle behaviours were also seen in those with a healthy BMI as well.

“Good preconception health – how women are in the weeks, months and years leading up to pregnancy – plays a crucial role in the health of women and their babies and on into childhood. We need to provide clear information and support women who want to have a family in the future to start making positive changes to improve their health now - in advance of becoming pregnant, to help give every child the best start in life.” 

- Prof Viv Bennett, Chief Nurse at Public Health England


More support needed for those planning a pregnancy