Prenatal Nutrition

Healthy eating plays a very important role in a healthy pregnancy. You need to eat foods from a variety of sources to make sure you get all the vitamins, minerals and nutrients you and your developing baby need. Eating well will also help you feel better, give you more energy and help keep your weight in check.  It will also contribute to your baby’s healthy growth and development.


Know what you need

During your second and third trimesters of pregnancy, you need more calories each day to support the growth of your baby.  For most women, this means an extra two or three Food Guide servings daily. You can add them in as an additional snack or as part of your usual meals. For example, have a fruit and yogurt as a snack, or have an extra slice of toast at breakfast and an extra glass of milk at supper.

During your second and third trimesters of pregnancy, you need more calories each day to support the growth of your baby.Fruits and vegetables are a must!

Pregnant women need fruits and vegetables every day.  Brightly colored vegetables and fruit contain more of the kinds of vitamins you and your baby need. You should eat at least one dark green and one orange vegetable each day.  Make sure your fruits and vegetables are prepared with little or no added fat, sugar and salt, and choose vegetables and fruit more often than juice.

Grain products are important

You need to include grain products as part of your daily diet.  This includes foods like bread, rice and pasta. Try to choose grain products that are lower in fat, sugar and salt, and look for the “whole grain” variety since at least half of your daily grain intake should be whole grain.

Have milk and milk alternatives for strong bones

Milk and alternatives are important for your growing baby.  Opt for the low-fat variety, which will give you the high quality protein, calcium and vitamin D you need but with less of the fat and calories. Have skim, 1% or 2% milk every day and go for a variety of yogurt and cheese. Drink fortified soy beverages if you do not drink milk.

Include meat and meat alternatives

Eating meat and alternatives each day will help you and your baby stay healthy. Choose lean (less fatty) meats and meat alternatives—dried peas, beans, tofu and lentils—made with little or no added fat or salt. Fish is also important and should be eaten each week. But choosing which fish to eat, and how much, can be complicated.

What you should grab for a snack

 There are lots of healthy foods you can eat on the run.  Try pre-washed vegetables (like baby carrots, cauliflower and broccoli), raisin boxes, low-fat cottage cheese bowls, low-fat yogurt in a cup, mixed vegetable juice or fruit juice, trail mix (raisins, dried fruit, nuts and seeds) and cheese. Don’t forget to drink plenty of water!

Avoid the following foods which may be contaminated by bacteria

  • Raw fish, especially shellfish such as oysters and clams
  • Under-cooked meat, poultry and seafood (for example, hot dogs, non-dried delimeats, refrigerated pâté, meat spreads and refrigerated smoked seafood and fish) 
  • All foods made with raw or lightly cooked eggs (for example, homemade Caesar vinaigrette)
  • Unpasteurized milk products and foods made from them, including soft and semi-soft cheeses such as Brie or Camembert
  • Unpasteurized juices, such as unpasteurized apple cider
  • Raw sprouts, especially alfalfa sprouts  

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