Learn more about balancing your diet when you have special nutritional needs.
Every woman's nutritional needs are special when it comes to her pregnancy, but there are some circumstances where it is of primordial importance. Read below to see if any of these apply to you. Be sure to get regular prenatal visits with your doctor.
Are You Over 35?
More and more women are having babies later in life. And when it comes to the risk of complications in pregnancy, healthy lifestyle is a more significant factor than biological age. If you are over 35 and pregnant, you have the same general caloric and nutritional needs as someone younger, but know that women tend to store fat more easily as they age. Plus there is a slightly higher risk for high blood pressure and gestational diabetes. Fortunately, gestational diabetes can be controlled through a careful diet. Be sure to get a protein-rich, balanced diet, and avoid alcohol and cigarettes. Learn More About Balancing Your Diet with Eating Well with Canada's Food Guide
Are You a Vegetarian?
As a pregnant vegetarian, you need to be sure you're getting enough protein, vitamins D, B12, and calcium. Consult our Nutrient Guide to find alternative sources for some these important nutrients. Asking your doctor or dietitian about a vitamin supplement might be a good idea as well.
Do You Have Diabetes?
In Canada, gestational diabetes varies from 3.7% in non-Aboriginal women to 8%–18% in Aboriginal women. It carries the risk of raising your blood sugar. The good news is, if managed properly, you can deliver a healthy baby.
How do you manage the risk of gestational diabetes? By a carefully planned diet. By gentle exercise. And most of all, by working with your doctor and dietitian.
Visit the Canadian Diabetes Association for more information on gestational diabetes.
Are You Expecting Twins?
The more babies you have in your belly, the more competition there will be for your nutrition to help them grow. This is one reason why many twins and multiples are at a higher risk for low birth weight and pre-term delivery. Work with your dietitian to make sure you're eating a quality diet that can support them all. Iron is even more important for women carrying twins, so fill up on lean meat and leafy greens and check with your doctor or dietitian to ensure that your multivitamin contains the right amount of iron for you. Learn Some Tips on Eating for More Than One
Are You On Bed Rest?
If your doctor has put you on bed rest, you need to keep your nutrition up and your weight under control. Balanced nutrition can help. Ask your husband or helpers to prepare light meals and healthy snacks to keep by the bed, along with a pitcher of water. To keep your blood circulating to the placenta, lie on your left side as much as possible. Avoid lying on your back, which puts pressure on the vein that brings blood from your lower body to your heart.