Planning or having a baby?

If you’re planning to have a baby or you’re already pregnant, there is plenty of help and support available to ensure your child has the very best start in life.

Planning a pregnancy

If you’re trying for a baby, ensuring your own health and wellbeing is important.

You can learn more about how to increase your chances of getting pregnant and preparing for pregnancy on the NHS website and the Family Planning Association (FPA).

Struggling to conceive?

If you’ve been trying to conceive for a year or more and you’re not pregnant, see your GP. If you’re over 35, or if you think either you or your partner may have a fertility problem, see your GP after six months of trying. Your GP may refer you to a fertility clinic for tests and treatment.

Visit the NHS website to find out more about fertility tests.

Your GP will be able to tell you whether you’re eligible for treatment on the NHS.

If you’re under 35 or you’ve been trying for less than a year, learn how to improve your chances of conceiving and having a successful pregnancy.

Smoking and pregnancy

Smoking can reduce your chances of getting pregnant and can harm your unborn child.

Get advice and support on giving up smoking

What to do when you have a positive pregnancy test

Once you have a confirmed pregnancy, contact your local community midwifery team for advice and support. Your GP surgery can give you further details. If you have a pre-existing physical or mental health condition you should let your GP know that you are pregnant.

You can also sign up for pregnancy emails and texts containing step-by-step advice tailored to your stage in pregnancy from the NHS Information Service for Parents.

Where to have your baby

There are a number of choices for places to have your baby in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire, and you can discuss these with your midwife or obstetrician. You can change your mind about where to have your baby at any time during your pregnancy.

Local choices include:

You can find out more about your local options on the Maternity Voices website.

For more general information on options for giving birth visit the NHS website.


All Bristol maternity, health visitor and peer support staff, as well as many children’s centre workers, are trained to support mothers with best practices for breast and bottle-feeding.

For more information, including national breastfeeding helplines, breastfeeding-friendly cafés and other facilities, go to your local council website.

Some information is available in several languages by arrangement, plus telephone advice in Bengali and Sylheti.

Anxiety and depression during and after pregnancy

‘Baby blues’ are very common, and include feeling tired and weepy for a few days after the birth.

However, between 10 and 20 per cent of women will experience more serious and persistent physical or emotional symptoms during or after their pregnancy.

For help and support, please contact your GP who can refer you to Bristol Wellbeing Therapies Service. They will arrange an assessment, and prepare a plan that could include guided self-help and talking therapies. You may also contact the Talking Therapies service directly without GP referral via the contact number 0117 982 3209.

You can also contact the following organisations:

  • Bluebell Care offers support groups, one-to-one listening, advice, information and hope for anyone affected by antenatal and postnatal depression.
  • Mothers for Mothers organise drop-in groups, a telephone helpline and email support.

Maternity Services – Get involved

Would you like to help us improve maternity services for women in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire through your experiences? Maternity Voices is an opportunity for parents who have used local maternity services to work with the people who plan and provide them.

We want to hear about your experiences of existing services and identify priorities and improvements.

To get involved and work with Maternity Voices, please email

Please state your interest in contributing to Maternity Voices and include your name and contact details.

Find more information about Maternity Voices on Twitter and Facebook.