Get answers to your nutrition and healthy eating questions. Visit www.eatrightontario.ca or call us toll-free at 1-877-510-510-2.
Get answers to your nutrition & healthy eating questions.
Call us toll-free† at 1-877-510-510-2 to speak directly with a Registered Dietitian.
Making healthy choices is especially important while you are pregnant. Eating well gives your baby the nutrients she needs to grow and develop. It also helps lower your risk of having health problems such as low iron or high blood pressure. Here are answers to some common questions about eating for a healthy pregnancy.
Bonus! Create a seven day meal plan using our Eating for a Healthy Pregnancy Menu Plan to make healthy food choices easy.
Yes. While you are pregnant it is difficult to meet your needs for folic acid and iron through healthy eating alone. Prenatal multivitamins are also lower in Vitamin A. Too much vitamin A may cause birth defects, especially during the first trimester.
Choose a prenatal multivitamin that has:
Ask your health care provider to help you find a prenatal multivitamin that is right for you.
There are many nutrients that you and your baby need to be healthy. Some nutrients, like folate (folic acid), iron, calcium and omega-3 fats are especially important during pregnancy.
Folic acid is a B vitamin that helps build new cells. Folic acid is the form found in vitamin supplements while folate is the form found in food. Getting enough of this nutrient can help lower the risk of birth defects that affect the brain and spinal cord, called neural tube defects.
To meet your folic acid/folate needs, especially in the first trimester, take a daily prenatal multivitamin.
Try these meal and snack ideas that are rich in folate:
Iron helps build new red blood cells and helps them carry oxygen. The amount of blood you have while you are pregnant increases to meet the needs of you and your baby. Getting enough iron helps your baby store iron for when she is born.
To meet your iron needs throughout pregnancy take a daily prenatal multivitamin.
It is also important to get iron from foods:
Calcium helps build strong bones and teeth for your baby. It also helps the heart, nerves and muscles grow. If you do not get enough calcium from food or supplements, it is taken from your bones to help your baby develop.
To meet your calcium needs throughout pregnancy:
It is best to get your calcium from foods. High calcium foods provide many other important nutrients that are not found in calcium supplements.
Omega-3 fats are important for your baby’s brain and eye development. Omega-3 fats are found in only a few foods such as fish and seafood. There are also some plant sources of omega-3 fats like nuts, seeds and soy.
To meet your omega-3 fat needs throughout pregnancy:
If you do not eat fish, you can safely take fish oil supplements while you are pregnant. Do not take more than 3000 mg per day. If you already eat fish twice a week, taking fish oil supplements has not been shown to have any extra benefits for your baby.
Visit the Public Health Agency of Canada to:
Video: Quick and easy snack ideas
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