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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.
Use the tips below to help you eat well and take care of your body as you prepare for pregnancy.
Some nutrients, like folate (folic acid), iron, calcium and omega-3 fats are especially important during pregnancy. Find out which foods are rich in these nutrients.
Health Canada recommends that all women who could become pregnant take a multivitamin containing 0.4 mg of folic acid every day. Folic acid can help lower the risk neural tube defects (NTDs). Neural tube defects affect a baby’s brain and spinal cord. Start taking a multivitamin with folic acid for at least three months before you become pregnant.
Start with gentle activities like walking and swimming for short periods of time. Gradually increase the time you are active to 30 minutes a session. Talk to your health care provider before starting a new physical activity program.
Avoid alcohol when you a planning to become pregnant. If you need help to stop drinking, ask your healthcare provider for advice.
There is no safe amount or safe time to drink alcohol during pregnancy. Drinking alcohol while you are pregnant can cause birth defects known as fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD).
Learn more about alcohol and pregnancy.
If you are a smoker, deciding to quit is one of the most important decisions you can make to prepare for a healthy pregnancy. When you smoke, your baby gets less oxygen and nutrients. This causes your baby to be born small and may lead to lifelong health problems.
Smoking during pregnancy is dangerous for you too. It can raise your blood pressure and increase the risk of complications during labour and delivery. Smoking while you are pregnant also increases the risk of having a miscarriage.
Visit the smokers’ helpline for support with quitting.
Second-hand smoke is just as bad as smoking for you and your baby. Make your home and car smoke-free. If someone in your household smokes, encourage them to quit or not smoke around you.
It’s never too early to start planning for a healthy pregnancy. Speak to your health care provider about other important steps you can take as you plan for a healthy pregnancy.
If you have more questions about planning for a healthy pregnancy, call an EatRight Ontario Registered Dietitian at 1-877-510-510-2 or send an email.
Eating for a Healthy Pregnancy Menu Plan: Create a seven day meal plan to make healthy food choices easy.
Facts about folate
Eating for a healthy pregnancy
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Dietitians of Canada acknowledges the financial support of EatRight Ontario by the Ontario government. The views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the Province.