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Healthy Eating During Pregnancy

Eating well during your pregnancy will support the development of your growing baby and help you feel your best. Canada’s Food Guide can help you choose a variety of foods, helping you get all the important nutrients you and your growing baby need.

When you are pregnant, the amount of vitamins and minerals you need increases. A prenatal multivitamin and mineral supplement helps you get the extra nutrients you and your baby need. Your daily multivitamin should have 0.4 milligrams (mg) of folic acid and 16 to 20 mg of iron.

Not pregnant yet? Visit the Before Pregnancy section to find out more about food and healthy eating before pregnancy. 


What should I eat during pregnancy?

  • Eat regular meals with snacks in between. Consult Canada’s Food Guide. Try making half your plate vegetables and fruit.
  • Eat a variety of vegetables and fruit, whole grain and protein foods (e.g. fish, meat, poultry, milk, yogurt, cheese, eggs). Choose protein foods that come from plants (e.g. beans, legumes, nuts, seeds, tofu) more often.
  • Drink water regularly to stay hydrated.
  • Choose milk or unsweetened fortified soy beverages daily. Soy beverages have more protein than most other plant-based beverages.
  • Include healthy fats (e.g. fatty fish, nutes, seeds, non-hydrogenated margarine, avocado, vegetable oil-based salad dressings, or vegetable oils such as canola and olive) daily at your meals and snacks.
  • Fish can provide important nutrients that support a healthy pregnancy and breast milk production. However, some types of fish contain mercury, which can harm your baby’s brain development. Choose fish low in mercury.
  • Limit foods high in saturated fats, sodium, and sugar.
  • Pregnant people need more energy from food in the second and third trimesters and while breastfeeding. This means you may need a little more food each day such as an extra nourishing snack.  
  • Being mindful of how you eat is also important during pregnancy. Take time to enjoy eating and limit distractions during meals and snacks. Include culture and food traditions into your meal planning.
  • If you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, the safest choice is not to drink alcohol.

Food Safety and Pregnancy

Food safety is especially important during pregnancy. The hormones in pregnancy change the immune system, making it more likely for a pregnant woman to get a foodborne illness (food poisoning). Even if you don’t feel sick, the microorganisms that cause food-borne illness can cause serious harm to your baby. Take extra care with food when you are pregnant.

Diabetes in Pregnancy1

It is common for pregnant women to have high blood sugar during pregnancy. This is called gestational diabetes. Following Canada’s Food Guide and staying physically active can help promote healthy blood sugar levels. Eating smaller meals more often can also help with blood sugars. All women should be tested for diabetes in pregnancy. Speak to your healthcare provider about your blood sugar test.

Caffeine and Pregnancy

Too much caffeine is not good for you or your baby. Health Canada recommends that all women who can become pregnant, are pregnant or breastfeeding have no more than 300 mg of caffeine a day. Be aware of how much caffeine you are getting from coffee, tea and other foods and beverages. Drinking water, milk or unsweetened fortified soy beverages are better choices.

For more information about nausea, vomiting, heartburn and constipation during pregnancy, view the Nutrition Connections Healthy Eating for a Healthy Baby booklet.

Changes in Your Body During Pregnancy

During the 9 months of pregnancy your body goes through many changes. Changes in body shape and weight were needed to support a healthy pregnancy. Choosing a variety of foods, eating regularly throughout the day, and participating in joyful movement helps pregnant people feel their best. Approach your body changes with kindness. Role model body acceptance with your child.

Date of creation: December 15, 2012
Last modified on: August 10, 2023


1Health Canada. (2023 ). Canada’s Food Guide. Retrieved from
2Health Canada. (2019). Mercury in Fish- Consumption advice: Making informed choices about fish Retrieved from
3Health Canada. (2022). Healthy eating and pregnancy Retrieved from
4Nutrition Connections (2021)Healthy Eating for a Healthy Baby Retrieved from