EXERCISE & NUTRITION IN PREGNANCY

Adequate nutrition and exercise are important in maintaining a healthy pregnancy. The following information is partially derived from The Government of Canada.

Take a prenatal vitamin once daily. This vitamin should include folic acid (0.4mg unless specified by your care provider). Folic acid is essential for normal development of the baby’s spine, skull and brain, especially in the first month of pregnancy.

Ensure adequate iron intake. Make sure your prenatal vitamin contains between 16-20mg of iron. Consider increasing iron in diet (see Anemia section).

Follow Canada’s Food Guide to eat the right amount and type of food for you and your baby. Pregnant people need 2-3 additional food servings from any of the main food groups each day.

Avoid foods/drinks that are high risk during pregnancy (see below for some examples).

Maintain regular exercise habits in pregnancy. Pregnancy is not the time to try a high-impact or intense exercise for the first time. If you are used to intense exercise, listen to your body and modify as needed. Talk to your midwife if you have concerns about your exercise habits. If you do not exercise outside of pregnancy, start slow. We suggest low-impact exercises such as: prenatal yoga, swimming and/or walking. Exercise can help improve mood, ensure appropriate weight gain, promote sleep, increase strength and help to build your stamina for labour and delivery.

Stay hydrated throughout the day and especially while exercising.

WHAT TO AVOID IN PREGNANCY

FOOD & DRINK

Raw fish and shellfish
Undercooked meat or seafood
Hot dogs, non-dried deli meats, meat spreads and refrigerated smoked fish
All foods made with raw and/or lightly cooked eggs
Unpasteurized and pasteurized soft cheeses such as Brie or Camembert and unpasteurized semi-soft cheeses such as Roquefor or Stilton
Unpasteurized juices, such as unpasteurized apple cider
Raw sprouts (i.e. alfalfa sprouts)
Alcohol – there is no known safe amount in pregnancy
Caffeine – 1-2 cups a day is likely safe in pregnancy

HERBS

Aloe Vera (topical okay in moderation)
Black cohosh
Blessed thistle
Blue cohosh
Buckthorn bark
Calendula (small amount topical, okay)
Coltsfoot
Comfrey (small amounts topical okay after first trimester)
Dong quai
Duck root
Ephedra (ma huang)
Evening Primrose (oil is okay)
Feverfew
Ginseng
Goldenseal
Gotu kola
Juniper berries
Labrador tea
Licorice
Lobelia
Nutmeg (okay in food)
Parlsey (okay in food)
Pennyroyal
Rosemary (okay in food or used in bath as essential oil)
Sage (okay in food)
Sarsparilla
Sassafras
Senna
Shepards’ purse
Uva Ursi
Yarrow

OTHER

Street drugs
Prescription pain meds
Opioids
Cannabis

WEIGHT GAIN IN PREGNANCY

Recommended weight gain in pregnancy is based on Body Mass Index. This is not a perfect measurement as it does not consider bone structure, muscle mass and genetics. There are many BMI calculators online or you can use the formula: Weight (in kilograms) ÷ Height (in meters)² = BMI

Recommended weight gain according to Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada (SOGC):

BMI Before Pregnancy …………………………………… Recommended Weight Gain
Less than 18.5 …………………………………………………….. 12.5 to 18 kg (28 to 40 lb)
Between 18.5 and 24.9 ………………………………………….. 11.5 to 16 kg (25 to 35 lb)
Between 25 and 24.9 ……………………………………………… 7 to 11.5 kg (15 to 25 lb)
More than 30 ……………………………………………………………… At least 7 kg (15 lb)
Twin pregnancies ………………………………………………… 16 to 20.5 kg (35 to 45 lb)

Obesity in Pregnancy: What Are the Risks?

Having excess weight before pregnancy, particularly a BMI over 30, can increase your risk of serious health problems and is linked with many complications in pregnancy that affect you and your baby.

Risks for You

  • Gestational diabetes
  • Gestational hypertension
  • Caesarean section (& increased risks for complications)
  • Increased risk of excessive blood loss
  • Early labour & birth
  • Miscarriage
  • Infertility

Risks for Your Baby

  • Baby growing too big (difficult delivery)
  • Difficulty monitoring fetal heart rate
  • Needing to stay in hospital after birth
  • Birth defects, including neural tube defects
  • Stillbirth

This information is directly from the SOGC’s https://www.pregnancyinfo.ca/your-pregnancy/healthy-pregnancy/weight-gain-during-pregnancy/

CANADA’S FOOD GUIDE

EXERCISE & NUTRITION RESOURCES
Government of Canada www.canada.ca

  • Healthy Weight Gain During Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Nutrition
  • Pregnancy And Breastfeeding
  • Physical Activity & Pregnancy
  • Eating Well with Canada’s Food Guide

The Sensible Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy www.healthycanadians.gc.ca/pregnancy

Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (SOGC)

Dietitians of Canada www.dietitians.ca

City of Toronto Healthiest Babies Possible (free one-to-one nutrition counseling)