Find out what nutrients you must consume or avoid to maintain a healthy pregnancy and contribute to your baby's healthy growth and development.
“Eating for two” doesn't simply refer to the quantity of food that you consume, but also to the fact that your baby eats what you eat, making nutritious food choices absolutely critical. A balanced diet of healthy, wholesome foods will greatly influence your baby's growth and development to make sure he hits every important milestone along the way. Here are a few pointers:
Make healthy food choices
Doctors recommend that the average woman gain between 2 and 5 lbs (1-2 kg) this trimester, so most women don't need to add extra calories at this point. Opt for foods like vegetables, fruits, lean meats or meat alternatives, low-fat dairy products, and whole grains. Avoid fatty foods.
Want to Learn More About Balancing Your Diet? It starts with understanding Eating Well with Canada's Food Guide
Eat your nutrients
Adequate intake of essential nutrients is key to a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby. Make sure that you are getting enough DHA, an omega-3 fat that contributes to normal brain and eye development. Refer to Eating Well with Canada's Food Guide to find out what you need and how to balance your diet every day. Experts recommend taking a prenatal multi-vitamin to ensure that you are receiving an adequate amount of these essential nutrients.
What Nutrients Do My Baby and I Need?
Get your folic acid
Folic acid is extremely important to your baby's development. Doctors recommend taking a multivitamin with at least 400 µg (0.4 mg) per day before you even conceive and continue throughout your pregnancy. In addition to helping protect against birth defects folic acid promotes healthy cell division and nourishes your baby's developing nervous system.
Learn More About Folic Acid
Get enough iron
Iron is a factor in red blood cell formation and an essential nutrient at every stage of life. Eating according to Canada's Food Guide and taking a daily multivitamin that has 16-20 mg of iron will help you have a healthy pregnancy. Check with your doctor or dietitian to ensure that your multivitamin contains the right amount of iron for you. Nutrition Tip: Foods high in Vitamin C will help your body absorb more iron.
Learn More About Iron
Watch your Vitamin A intake
A little is important, but too much can be toxic. The Institute of Medicine recommends you consume no more than 3000 µg per day.
Eat little and often
If you are feeling fatigued or queasy from morning sickness, you may not feel like eating normal-sized meals. Instead, eat little and often, with smaller meals and snacks throughout the day, even if it is just crackers or frozen fruit pops. Stay hydrated with adequate amounts of water throughout the day.
Dealing with Morning Sickness
Avoid unhealthy habits
Alcohol and cigarettes can seriously compromise a healthy pregnancy.