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Pregnancy and early years

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Screening programmes are important public health initiatives as they allow for the early detection and treatment of potential health problems.
The early years, is defined in Wales as the period of life from pre-birth to the end of Foundation Phase or 0 to 7 years of age.
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Mother and child

All you need to know about pregnancy through to your child's first five years of life.

NHS Direct Wales

For basic information covering all aspects of pregnancy, please visit the NHS Direct Wales website which has useful articles on pregnancy and pregnancy care (antenatal health and care, including dietary and exercise advice).

NHS Direct Wales (Pregnancy and baby guide) (external link)

NHS Direct Wales (Pregnancy care) (external link)

Vitamin D

UK health departments advise that certain groups of people are most at risk of vitamin D deficiency. It is recommended that these groups take daily supplements to ensure their bodies receive the amount of vitamin D that they need:

  • all pregnant and breastfeeding women, especially teenagers and young women, are particularly at risk of
    vitamin D deficiency
  • young children under 5 years of age
  • all people who are not exposed to much sun, for example those who cover their skin for cultural reasons, who are housebound or confined indoors for long periods
  • people from ethnic minorities who have darker skin, because their bodies are not able to produce as much vitamin D. Clinical deficiency has been most reported among children of African-Caribbean and South Asian origin.

Women and children that are participating in the UK wide Healthy Start scheme can receive free supplements containing vitamin D. For more information visit the Healthy Start website (external link) 


It's never too early to get your baby on the right path to a healthier, happier future. Visit the Start4life page (external link) for information and useful tips on feeding and getting your little one on the move – and everything in between. 

First 5 years

The first 5 years of your child’s life provide the foundation for their future health and well-being. Even before they are born, their development will be affected by what you eat, whether you smoke or drink alcohol, and whether you look after your own health.

As babies and young children, they will depend on you and their other carers to give them love and attention, to protect them from harm, to help them learn to walk and talk, and to encourage their friendships with other children.

Giving them healthy food and drink whilst they are young not only helps them grow up strong and healthy, but it can teach them good eating habits which will stay with them for life.

Children learn by copying their parents, so if you lead a healthy lifestyle, eat well and don’t smoke it's likely that your child will grow up to be the same.

You will find information on pregnancy, childbirth, feeding your baby and much more about the important time from birth to five years. If you feel you would like to discuss any of this in more detail, remember your midwife, health visitor and general practitioner are all there to help you give your child the very best start in life. They can also let you know what is going on in your area to support parents with children the same age as yours.

Publication of revised advice for peanut consumption during pregnancy, breastfeeding and early life

The Welsh Government and Food Standards Agency (FSA) Wales now advise that:

  • pregnant and breastfeeding mothers can choose to eat peanuts or foods containing peanuts, whether or not they have a family history of allergies
  • mothers exclusively breastfeed their babies up to 6 months. If mothers choose to start giving solid foods earlier, they should not introduce peanuts or other nuts, seeds, milk, eggs, wheat, fish, shellfish (or foods containing these) until after 6 months
  • Where a child has a known allergy, or if there is a history of allergy in a child's immediate family, mothers should talk to their general practitioner, health visitor or medical allergy specialist.

For further information visit the FSA website (external link)

Visit the FSA's 'Eat well, be well' website for general advice on peanut allergy (external link)

More detailed information on pregnancy, infant feeding and weaning is also available on the NHS Choices website (external link)