Diet During Pregnancy

A well-balanced diet during pregnancy can help ensure both your health and your baby’s. Your risk of developing chronic conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity can be significantly reduced with the help of a proper diet during pregnancy.

It goes without saying that this period brings significant physiological changes. Paying special attention to your lifestyle habits, taking a prenatal supplement that is adapted to your personal needs as well as your diet during pregnancy can help to meet your new energy and nutrient needs.

General dietary requirements for a healthy pregnancy

There are special requirements when it comes to your diet during pregnancy; balance, variety and moderation before, during and after pregnancy are part of general good health. Canada’s Food Guide suggests that consuming a variety of items from the four major food groups will help you get the vitamins, minerals and nutrients you and your baby need. A well-balanced diet during pregnancy will also contribute to your baby's healthy growth and development, along with helping you feel better, give you more energy and help you gain a healthy amount of weight. The Guide even offers meal suggestions for expecting mothers and their families.

Pay special attention to the quality of the foods in your diet during pregnancy. Being careful and following a few basic food safety rules will help you avoid food poisoning and protect your baby.

Don’t Forget Your Prenatal Multivitamins

A proper diet during pregnancy may not be enough; experts recommend that you take a daily multivitamin as well.

Wondering if a prenatal multivitamin is right for you? This is an important decision, so take the time to make an informed choice. You should know that you will have an increased need for vitamins and essential minerals, especially folic acid and iron.

Based on your overall health, your health professional can give you advice on the prenatal multivitamin that's best for you.

Role of Vitamins and Minerals during Pregnancy

Vitamins and minerals are essential not only to the development of your unborn child, but also to your own health. Your baby will draw on your resources, which you need to replenish to stay healthy, move through the stages of your pregnancy and prepare for childbirth.

Whether you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy, it is important to pay particular attention to your intake of essential vitamins and minerals, especially folic acid, calcium and iron, for your baby’s general development and your own continued good health during your pregnancy.

For this reason expectant mothers are generally advised to eat a properly balanced, healthy diet and ask their health professional for advice on the prenatal supplement best suited to them.

Other Nutrients

In addition to folic acid, iron, calcium and zinc, many other vitamins and minerals are important for your health and for the development of your child. Many of these vitamins and minerals are found in a well-balanced diet but sometimes you might need to take additional essential vitamins and minerals according to your food habits, your medical history or in case of gestational diabetes (GDM).

Your healthcare professional will assess your nutritional needs and recommend supplementation that will help you to avoid any vitamin or mineral deficiencies.

Dealing with Nausea and vomiting?

Are you dealing with nausea and vomiting of pregnancy (NVP)? See your health professional if your NVP symptoms are affecting your well-being, quality of life or daily activities. Don't wait until NVP prevents you from eating or taking your prenatal multivitamins. If you act quickly to control your symptoms, you may be able to prevent them from continuing or getting worse.

As you may know, a well-balanced diet during pregnancy plays a significant role in maintaining your health and that of your baby. Your diet during pregnancy should include foods based on the principles of balance, variety and moderation. When continued after giving birth, these new habits can have lifelong benefits for both mother and child as well as for the entire family.

References from the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada :

Article provided by our partner Duchesnay based on content developed for the Health and Pregnancy website and reviewed by Mireille Moreau, dietician*. Health and Pregnancy is sponsored by Duchesnay Inc., a unique Canadian pharmaceutical company dedicated to pregnancy and women's health, especially to women's quality of life and health during pregnancy and breastfeeding and safeguarding the health of expecting women and their unborn babies.

*Ms. Moreau is a paid consultant for Duchesnay, Inc.