Skip to content | Accessibility | A A A A Kayboard letter K key icon
Home page
About Us
New Patient Registration
Patient Information
Contacts and Directions

Nutrition and Pregnancy

Back to the Obstetrical Care Program

Weight gain during pregnancy
Foods to avoid during pregnancy
Eating Fish in Pregnancy
Herbal Products
Vitamins and Minerals in Your Pregnancy
Exercise During Pregnancy


Image of a man ebracing a pregnant womanOne of the most important ways to protect your health during pregnancy is to eat a healthy diet. Eating well, combined with taking a daily multivitamin and minerals (i.e. Folic acid, calcium) can give a woman the nutrients she needs to feel good, have energy, and support a healthy pregnancy.

Health Canada - Prenatal Nutrition

If you have further concerns about your diet, please talk to your health care provider. You can also see a TWH Family Health Team dietitian.  This service is free of charge.

Healthy Eating Guidelines for Pregnancy

Weight gain during pregnancy

Gaining weight is a natural part of pregnancy. How much weight you should gain depends on your weight (or body mass index- BMI) before you became pregnant. Visit the Pregnancy Weight Gain Calculator to learn more.

Foods to avoid during pregnancy

Most foods are safe to eat in pregnancy. However, there are some foods that are best to avoid due to the risk of certain infectious diseases that can be dangerous to your baby:

  • Non-dried Deli-meats (i.e. Bologna, roast beef, turkey breast)
  • Foods made with unpasteurized dairy products (i.e. some soft cheeses)
  • Raw or lightly cooked eggs and egg products (i.e. Tiramisu)
  • Raw and undercooked Meat and Poultry
  • Raw seafood (i.e. Sushi)
  • Raw sprouts
  • Unpasteurized fruit juice and cider
  • Chamomile tea

Healthy Eating Guidelines for Food Safety in Pregnancy

For more information, please see Health Canada's website on food safety during pregnancy.


Pregnant women should limit the amount of caffeine they consume to no more than 300 milligrams of caffeine per day from all sources. A small (250 ml or 8 oz) cup of coffee contains approximately 100 mg depending on the coffee. The same sized cup of tea or pop contains about 50mg. Too much caffeine increases your risk of miscarriage and of having a low birth weight baby.

Nutrition Matters -Caffeine

Eating Fish in Pregnancy

Pregnant women should choose low mercury seafood (i.e. salmon and shrimp) over higher mercury varieties (i.e. tuna). Pregnant women should ensure that their food is obtained from reputable establishments; stored, handled, and cooked properly; and consumed within a couple of days of purchasing.

Guide to Eating Fish for Women, Children and Families

Herbal Products

Many women take herbal products and natural remedies. These products are not regulated by the government. Some may be safe; however, others may contain ingredients that may be harmful to you and your baby during your pregnancy. Before taking any herbal or natural product, please speak to your doctor or pharmacist about them.

Herbs and Herbal Teas Safety During Pregnancy

Motherisk – Herbal Products

Vitamins and Minerals in Your Pregnancy

Folic Acid

How do you make sure you get enough folic acid?

You can get some folic acid from eating certain foods.

Examples of foods that have a large amount of folic acid are:

  • Grains such as whole-wheat bread
  • Dark green vegetables such as spinach and broccoli
  • Meat such as liver
  • Beans such as lentils and kidney beans

However, it is hard to get enough folic acid from your diet. It is better to take a vitamin that contains folic acid.

How much Folic Acid should be in your vitamin supplement?

Most woman should take a vitamin containing 1.0 mg of folic acid per day, for at least two to three months before conception and throughout pregnancy and the postpartum period (4-6 weeks and as long as breastfeeding continues).

If you are at higher risk of having a child with neural tube defects, then talk to your doctor about how much folic acid you need.

For more information about Folic acid please refer to the links below:

Calcium and Vitamin D

Health Canada sets the recommended daily allowance of vitamins and minerals during pregnancy. Most women who eat a healthy, balanced diet will get enough Calcium and Vitamin D from food that they eat. 

The recommended total daily intake of calcium and Vitamin D for pregnant women (i.e. from either food or supplements or a combination of both) is:

Age Group
Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) per day

Age: 14-18 1300 mg
Age: 19-50​ 1000 mg
Vitamin D
All ages 600 IU daily

Health Canada – Vitamin D and Calcium

Exercise During Pregnancy

If you were physically active before pregnancy, it is usually safe to continue your exercise program. If you were involved in very vigorous activity, speak to us before continuing those activities during pregnancy. If you were inactive before pregnancy, speak to us before beginning new activities. 

There are a few general guidelines about exercise in pregnancy.

  • You should be able to talk easily during physical activity
  • You should avoid sports where there is physical contact or a risk of falling (i.e. downhill skiing)
  • Drink plenty of fluid before, during and after exercise
  • Stop any exercise that causes discomfort

As well, you can refer to the link provided below to learn more about exercise in pregnancy:

PARmed-X for Pregnancy