Healthy Pregnancy diets

  1. Click here to veiw the Canada Food Guide



Health Pregnancy Diet


Requirements during pregnancy.

Total calories 2300

Protein 80 t0 100 grams

Calcium 1200 mg


Pregnancy is a time of increased nutritional needs. A well-balanced and nutritious diet is important to supply you and your baby with all the nutrients you will both need.


The Canadian Food Guide is a good method of determining the type and quantity of food requirements. Also please refer to the works of Dr. Reed Mangels, and Melanie Wilson

in the Vegan and Vegetarian section. Both of these authors discuss the increased nutritional of pregnancy.



Your body becomes more efficient when expecting and makes even better use of the energy you obtain from the food you eat. Your own appetite is the best indicator of how much food you need to eat.

You may find that your appetite fluctuates during the course of your pregnancy.


In the first few weeks your appetite may fall away dramatically. You

may not feel like eating proper meals especial if you suffer from nausea.

Food Ideas to Help Relieve Nausea

Tart/Sweet: Pickles, lemonade

Earthy: Brown rice, mushroom soup, peanut butter

Crunchy: Celery sticks, apple slices, nuts

Bland: Mashed potatoes, gelatin, broth

Soft: Bread, noodles

Fruity: Fruity popsicles, watermelon

Liquid: Juice, seltzer, sparkling water, ginger ale

Dry: Crackers


Helpful tips to control nausea and vomiting


When you first wake up, eat a few crackers and then rest for 15 minutes before getting out of bed.

Get up slowly and do not lie down right after eating.

Eat small meals or snacks often so your stomach does not become empty (for example, every 2 hours). Try not to skip meals.

Do not hesitate to eat whatever you feel like eating and eat whenever you want to. However, it is best to avoid cooking or eating spicy, fatty and fried foods or junk food.

If cooking odours bother you, open the windows and turn on the stove fan. If possible, ask someone else to cook the meals.

Try eating cold food instead of hot (cold food may not smell as strong as hot food).

.Drinking ginger tea can sometimes relieve an upset stomach.



During the second trimester of pregnancy your appetite may be the

same as or slightly increased from before you were pregnant.


Toward the end your appetite will probably increase but if you suffer from heartburn or a full feeling after eating, you may find it helpful to have smaller, more frequent meals.


The best rule to remember is eat when you are hungry! Don't worry about your changing appetite.

Make sure you eat nutritious food, and you are gaining weight at the appropriate rate. Your Doctor or Midwife will monitor your rate of weight gain.


Where does the extra weight come from?

     A total weight increase of about 11.2kg (24lb) is normal.

     A baby weighs approximately 3.5kg (7lb 11oz) before birth.

     The uterus grows to approximately 900g (1lb 14oz).

     The placenta weighs approximately 650g (1lb 6oz).

     The amniotic fluid weighs approximately 800g (1lb 12oz).

     The woman's breasts grow by approximately 400g (14oz).

     The weight of the extra blood is approximately 1.25kg (2lb 12oz).

     Water retained in the body tissues weighs approximately 2kg (4lb 6oz).

    The layer of fat beneath the skin weighs approximately 1.7kg (3lb 11oz).


Gain Weight Gradually


Weight gain varies amongst individuals and depends on many factors. Average weight gain during pregnancy seems to be

Between 8 kg/18 lbs and 15 kg/36 lbs.

Concentrate on eating a healthy diet.

Eat plenty of carbohydrates,

lots of fruits and vegetables, reasonable amounts of protein, and just a little in the way of fats and sugars.

Occasional Treats Are OK



Don’t Go On Restrictive Diet


Dieting during pregnancy is potentially hazardous to you and your developing baby. Some diets can leave you low on iron, folic acid, and other important vitamins and minerals. Remember, weight gain is one of the most positive signs of a healthy pregnancy.


Women who eat well and gain an appropriate amount of weight are more likely to have healthy babies. So if you're eating fresh, wholesome foods and gaining weight, relax. Your doing great.


Take A Good Prenatal Vitamin Supplement


In an ideal world - free of morning sickness or food aversions - a well-balanced diet would be all an expectant mom ever needed. But in the real world, a prenatal vitamin-mineral supplement may be good insurance to help you meet your nutritional needs. There are some good natural Prenatal vitamins with ginger in them. The ginger reduces nausea.


Folic Acid- Pregnant women should take a daily supplement of folic acid. Ideally you should begin taking this from the time you start trying for a baby.


As well as taking a folic acid supplement, you should also make sure you eat foods that contain foliate. Foods that are high in folic acid include:


                       - Green vegetables

                       - brown rice

                        - Fortified bread and cereals


Folic acid reduces the risk of your baby developing a neural tube defect (a condition which affects the development of your baby's spinal cord and brain). One of the most common neural tube defects is spina bifida (a condition which causes the spine to develop abnormally).



Make sure that your prenatal vitamin contans Vitamin D.

As it helps to regulate the amount of calcium and phosphate in your body - two substances which are needed to keep bones and teeth healthy. Vitamin D can be found in a small number of foods, such as oily fish, and eggs, but most of vitamin D intake comes from sunlight.


Iron- During pregnancy, your body needs more iron than normal to help ensure your baby has an adequate blood supply. To help make sure your body has enough iron, you should eat plenty of iron-rich foods, such as:



                         - Beans and lentils

                         - Green leafy vegetables

                         - Fortified bread and cereals

                         - red meat


           Pregnant women who can't get enough iron from their diet may have to take an iron supplement. Floradix Iron is a

Easy to digest iron.


Vitamin A - Remember, that more is not always better: Vitamin A supplements which contain retinol, the animal form of vitamin A, can be toxic to unborn babies in large quantities (EGVM 2003:123-4). The plant-based carotene type of vitamin A is safe in pregnancy (EGVM 2003:113). Mega doses of any vitamin or mineral can be harmful to your baby. Discuss any special supplements you will need with your doctor or midwife.



Foods To Eat



Fruit and vegetables


You should eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables every day. They can be fresh, frozen or dried. A glass of pure fruit juice also counts towards one of your portions (although no matter how much juice you drink, it only counts as one portion).


Make sure that you wash all fruit and vegetables before you eat them.




Starchy foods


You need to include plenty of starchy foods in your diet. Starchy foods include:


                         - Bread

                         - Potatoes

                         - Pasta

                         - Rice


If possible, try and eat wholegrain options as they contain more nutrients.



Foods rich in protein


Protein is an important part of your diet, especially when you are pregnant. Protein-rich foods include:


                         - Eggs

                         - Legumes (such as lentils and beans)

                        - Nuts        

                         - Hard cheeses

                         - Nuts

                         - Whole grains


                         - Lean meats

                         - Chicken

                        - fish


You should also aim to eat at least two portions of fish a week, one of which should be oily fish.

However, it's important to remember that there are some types of fish you should avoid eating while you're pregnant.


Avoid eating shark, swordfish or marlin, as they contain high levels of mercury, which can harm your baby's developing nervous system. You should also limit the amount of tuna you eat, as this can also be high in mercury. Don't eat more than one tuna steak, or one medium sized tins (about 140g a tin) of tuna a week. You should also avoid raw fish.


For more guidance on which fish to avoid eating, see " foods to avoid".



Dairy foods


Foods such as cheese, yoghurt and milk are all rich in calcium. Your body needs more calcium during pregnancy, especially during the last 10 weeks, when it's used to help strengthen your baby's bones.


Although you need to avoid some dairy products, such as soft or blue-veined cheeses, and unpasteurized goat's milk or goat's cheese, there are lots of dairy products which are safe to eat. These include:




                           - live or bioyogurt

                           - Probiotoc drinks

                           - Sour cream

                           - Hard cheese (such as cheddar or parmesan)

                           - Feta

                           - Ricotta

                          - Cream cheese

                           - Mozzarella

                           - Cottage cheese


You can also eat other dairy foods, such as ice cream and salad dressing, but you need to make sure they haven't been made using raw egg.





Food Allergy Or Sensitivity


If possible, it is a good idea to have both parents tested for food allergies. Sometimes people will have these and not be aware of them. It is always a good idea to know if there are any other foods that should be avoided due to allergies.


Water Intake During Pregnancy

Drinking Water is a Pregnancy Essential for both You and the Baby

During pregnancy and lactation you'll need to drink 8-12 eight ounce glasses of water a day.

Most people suggest you drink 8 8-ounce glasses a day.

The average person "looses" 80 to 96 ounces of water per day by respiration, urination, and perspiration. That isn't counting the additional demands placed on your body when you're pregnant, the weather is warm, or if you are very active. As a pregnant mom you need to replenish your baby's amniotic fluid.

Why does your body need so much?

1. Water acts as transport system to carry nutrients through the blood you and the baby.


2. Water flushes out your system - increasing your water intake will dilute your urine and help prevent urinary tract infections, which are common in pregnancy - and very uncomfortable. You have enough to deal with (morning sickness, weight gain, hormones, odd cravings, etc.) without coming down with a UTI.


3. Amniotic fluid needs to replenish itself costently.


4. Your body is working overtime to provide for you and the baby. There's increased blood flow, increased toxins that need to be removed from your body, and overall blood volume as well. if you don't keep up the water intake, the body can't function correctly.


6. The more water you drink during pregnancy, the less water your body will retain.


7. Not drinking enough water can lead to constipation, headaches, nausea (and other morning sickness symptoms) and fatigue.


8. Staying well-hydrated is also a great way to reduce the chances of stretch marks.


Tips to make sure you're getting enough water for you and the baby:


1. Cut out all other beverages (teas, coffee, sports drinks, and sodas, for instance) as these are digietics and actually take water out of your body to digest them.

3. Eat plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables, berries and melons to help meet your daily water requirements.

4. Even though you need to drink all that water - don't drink water with meals. Water will dilute the food in your stomach and may interfere with your body's ability to absorb the nutrients it needs from the foods you eat.

5. Keep track of the amount of water as you drink it every day to ensure that you're drinking the water you need.


6. Remember, coffee, soda (even diet sodas), tea and juice are not substitutes for water! If you have an aversion to water, try adding lemon, lime, or unsweetened cranberry juice to your water glass. Most women don't know that some herbal teas can affect your pregnancy and the baby. Herbal teas might seem like a good option - but check ingredients with your midwife Or Doctor before you drink herbal teas.


7. You should be careful of your source of water. There are some contaminants found in water that, if taken in excess could be dangerous to you and your baby. You should have your tap water tested if you live in an older home, or if there's a chance that your home has lead pipes. If you don't want to purchase filtered bottled water, you can invest in a faucet filter, or a Brita filter that you can keep in the refrigerator. Water coolers (just like the ones seen at the office!) can be purchased for home use as well.


Our table gives a comprehensive guide to all the vitamins and minerals you need for a healthy pregnancy.



Recommended Daily Amount (RDA)



Food Sources


800 mg (1,250 mg for pregnancy


Grows strong bones and teeth, healthy nerves, heart, and muscles. Also develops heart rhythm and blood clotting.

200 ml milk: 230 mg, 200 ml fortified soya milk: 273 mg, 1 small carton yoghurt: 225 mg, 1

bread: 273 mg, 4 dried figs: 168 mg




Regulates blood sugar levels; stimulates protein synthesis in developing tissues.

3 oz. grilled skinless chicken: 22 mcg, 1 slice whole grain bread: 16 mcg


1.2 mg (1.5 mg for breastfeeding mums)

Helps form heart, skeletal, and nervous systems, arteries, and blood vessels

150 g (1 cup) green / brown lentils: 0.50 mg; 100 g (4 tbsp) red kidney beans: 0.24 mg: one mango: 0.25 mg







Folic Acid

300 mcg (360 mcg for breastfeeding mums) plus 400 mcg supplement before conception and for the first three months of pregnancy


Is a critical part of spinal fluid and helps close the tube housing the central nervous system; also helps synthesis DNA and normalize brain function.

11 Brussels sprouts: 127 mcg; 7 tbsp bran flakes: 113 mcg; 2 slices

bread: 68 mcg; 2 spears broccoli: 61 mcg; one large orange: 54 mcg


140 mcg


Regulates metabolism, helps develop nervous system.

Iodized table salt, fish, seaweed, milk, dairy products;


14.8 mcg


Makes red blood cells, supplies oxygen to cells for energy and growth, and builds bones and teeth.













chick peas: 2.2 mg; 3 tbsp spring greens: 1 mg; 7 tbsp bran flakes: 9.0 mg; 1/2 large tin baked beans: 2.8 mg; 85 g lean red meat: 2.4 mg; 2 1/2 tbsp frozen peas: 1.1 mg


270 mg (320 mg for breastfeeding mums)


Helps build strong bones and teeth, regulates insulin and blood-sugar levels, builds and repairs tissue

9 Brazil nuts: 123 mg; 2 1/2 tbsp spinach: 44 mg; 2 1/2 tbsp okra: 77 mg; 4 tbsp cooked brown rice: 71 mg




Aids bone and pancreas development and synthesis of fats and carbohydrates

170 g (6 oz.) cooked brown rice: 6.93 mg; 1 cup cooked porridge: 0.95 mg; 175 g cooked black beans: 0.76 mg

Pantothenic Acid



Regulates adrenal activity, antibody production, growth and metabolism of protein and fat.

1 medium hard-boiled egg: 1.1 mg; 1/2 medium avocado: 1.1 mg; 1 cup of milk: 1.0 mg


1,200550 mg (990 mg for breastfeeding mums)


Builds strong bones and teeth; develops blood clotting and normal heart rhythm.

3 oz. canned salmon (including bones): 279 mg; 175 g cooked pinto beans: 273 mg; 1 cup of milk: 247 mg; 175 g cooked black beans: 241 mg


3,500 mg


Aids muscle activity and contractions, energy metabolism, and nerve function.

1 medium jacket potato: 844.4 mg. prune juice: 706.6 mg; 1 cup raisins: 575 mg; 10 dried apricots: 482 mg



1.14 mg (1.16 mg for breastfeeding mums)


Promotes growth, good vision, and healthy skin. Essential for your baby's bone, muscle, and nerve development.

1 cup yoghurt: 0.5 mg; skinless duck: 0.4 mg; 1/2 cup boiled mushrooms: 0.2 mg; 1/2 cup cottage cheese: 0.2 mg


0.9 mg (1.0 mg for breastfeeding mums)


Converts carbohydrates into energy; essential for brain development. Also aids heart and nervous system growth.

one Iranian bread: 0.32 mg

Vitamin A

700 mcg (950 for breastfeeding mums)


Important for cell growth, eye development, healthy skin and mucous membranes, infection resistance, bone growth, fat metabolism, and red blood cell production.

. canned carrot juice: 4,738 RE; 1 baked sweet potato: 2,488 RE; 1 raw carrot: 2,025.4 RE; 1 cup cubed melon: 515.2 RE

Vitamin B6

0.96 mg


Aids metabolism of protein, fats, and carbohydrates. Helps form new red blood cells and develop the brain and nervous system

1 medium banana: 0.7 mg; 1 medium jacket potato: 0.7 mg; 1 cup chick peas: 0.6 mg chicken breast: 0.5 mg

Vitamin C

50 mg (80 mg for breastfeeding mums)


Essential for tissue repair and collagen production. Aids proper growth and strengthens bones and teeth.

. orange juice: 124 mg; 1 cup strawberries: 84.5 mg; 2 spears broccoli: 32 mg; 2 tomatoes: 30 mg

Vitamin D

10 mcg


Helps build bones and teeth.

1 salmon steak: 0.22 mg; 200 ml milk: 0.08 mg; 2 fillets plaice: 0.36 mg


7 mg (9.5 mg for breastfeeding mums)


Helps form organs, skeleton, nerves, and circulatory system.

2 thick slices beef/lamb: 4.6 mg; 30 g sunflower seeds: 1.5 mg; half a can of tuna




There are some foods that you shouldn't eat when you’re pregnant:

to avoid exposing yourself to the risk of food poisoning, or

because they’re potentially harmful to your unborn baby.


Listeriosis is a flu-like illness, which you can get from food that contains listeria bacteria. Although it’s rare in Canada, listeriosis can cause stillbirth, miscarriage or severe illness in newborn babies.
You should avoid foods where high levels of listeria are occasionally found. For example:

Soft and blue-veined cheeses, such as camembert, brie and stilton. There’s no risk of listeria from hard cheese such as cheddar, or from cottage cheese or processed cheese.

Pâté – all types of pâté, including vegetable pâté. 

Some prepared salads, such as potato salad and coleslaw. 

Ready-prepared meals or re-heated food, unless they’re piping hot all the way through.

Campylobacter and salmonella

Campylobacter and salmonella are bacteria that can cause food poisoning.

Campylobacter is found in:

raw meat and poultry

unpasteurised milk

untreated water

Food poisoning from campylobacter can cause miscarriage and early (premature) labour.

Salmonella is found in:

raw meat and poultry

unpasteurised milk

raw eggs and raw egg products

Although salmonella food poisoning is unlikely to harm your baby, it’s advisable to avoid foods that may contain salmonella.

You can reduce your risk of getting campylobacter or salmonella food poisoning by taking the steps below.

Avoid foods containing raw or partially cooked eggs, such as home-made mayonnaise, and some mousses and sauces. You should only eat eggs if they’re cooked until both the white and the yolk are solid. 

Avoid unpasteurised dairy products.

Avoid drinking from a contaminated water supply. 

Cook all meat and poultry thoroughly. Take extra care with products made from minced meat, such as sausages and burgers – make sure they’re cooked until piping hot all the way through and no pink meat is left. 

Take extra care with meat at barbeques, parties and buffets. Bacteria breed quickly on food that’s left uncovered in a warm place. 

Make sure that raw meat doesn’t come into contact with other food (for example, in the fridge), particularly food that’s already cooked, or food that will be eaten raw.

Also, always remember to wash your hands after:

handling or touching raw meat

contact with animals


Toxoplasmosis is an infection caused by a parasite found in cat faeces. It can also be present in:

raw or undercooked meat

soil left on unwashed fruit and vegetables

Although rare, toxoplasmosis can occasionally pass to the unborn baby, which can cause serious problems.

To reduce the risk of toxoplasmosis, you should avoid the following foods:

unwashed raw fruit and vegetables

raw or undercooked meat

unpasteurised goats' milk or goats' cheese

You should also avoid contact with soil or faeces that might contain the toxoplasmosis parasite. Always wear gloves if you’re gardening or changing a cat litter tray. If possible, ask someone else to do it for you.

Vitamin A

While you're pregnant, make sure your diet doesn't include too much vitamin A. You do need some, but if too much vitamin A builds up in your body, it can harm your unborn baby. Eating a normal, well-balanced diet should give you all the vitamin A your body needs.

Liver contains high levels of vitamin A, so you should avoid:


liver products such as pâté.

Check with your GP or midwife before you take any high-dose multivitamins or cod liver oil supplements – these may contain vitamin A.

Fish to limit

When you’re pregnant, you shouldn’t eat too much of some types of fish.

Oily fish is good for your health. However, you should limit how much you eat because it contains pollutants, such as dioxins and PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls).

Pregnant women should eat no more than one portions of oily fish a week. Examples of oily fish include:

fresh tuna (not canned tuna, which doesn't count as oily fish)




Tuna also contains a high level of mercury (see below). You shouldn't eat more than one fresh tuna steak, or one medium-sized can (about 140g per can) of tuna a week.

Fish to avoid

You should avoid eating some types of fish while you’re pregnant.

Some fish contain a high level of mercury, which can damage your baby's developing nervous system. You should avoid eating:




You should also avoid eating raw shellfish. This will reduce your chances of getting food poisoning, which can be particularly unpleasant when you're pregnant.


The Department of Health advises that pregnant women, and women who are trying to conceive, should avoid drinking alcohol and should not get drunk. Heavy drinking during pregnancy is associated with low birth weight, and more serious problems such as fetal alcohol syndrome.



You should limit the amount of caffeine you have each day. Caffeine affects the way your body absorbs iron, which is very important for your baby's development. High levels of caffeine can result in a baby having a low birth weight, or even miscarriage.

Caffeine occurs naturally in a range of foods, such as coffee, tea and chocolate. It's also added to some soft drinks and 'energy' drinks.

Some cold and flu remedies also contain caffeine, so always check with your pharmacist before taking any medicines while you’re pregnant.






The information on this website is designed for educational purposes only. The information is NOT intended to be a substitute for medical care. Please consult a doctor or Midwife with any questions or concerns you might have.


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 I am a retired midwife and natural birthing instructor. I have spent years putting this online prenatal course together, for women like yourself, who are interested in natural childbirth. You will go into labour as fully prepared as possible, knowing that you have done all you can to have an enjoyable birthing process and ensure the safety of your newborn child.

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