Prenatal nutrition

Nourish yourself and your baby

Pregnancy is a time to nourish both yourself and your baby, and to lay the foundation for feeding your growing family. This page offers information and resources that you might find helpful.

Clients looking for nutrition assessment and support from a registered dietitian can:

Helpful tips
  • Many parents are motivated to make lifestyle changes during pregnancy. Consider positive and sustainable changes that work for you, and that will support your family’s health for years to come.
  • Weight gain in pregnancy is normal and necessary. Trust your body to eat, move, rest, and grow in ways that support you and your growing baby.
  • How you eat is just as important as what you eat. See the “How to Eat” tab.
  • Healthy eating advice for pregnancy is similar to that for the general population, but there are a few things to be aware of, such as extra nutrient needs and food safety concerns. See the “What to Eat” tab.
  • Feeling queasy? Learn about what might help: Morning sickness in the first trimester – Healthy Families BC.
  • Pregnancy is also a time to learn about feeding your baby. Learn more about Nutrition in the first year.
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How to eat

Feed yourself faithfully:

Honour your appetite:

  • The amounts you eat will likely change over time, as your body changes and your baby grows.
  • In the second and third trimesters, you may find that you need a little extra food per day. This could look like one of the following:
    • A few crackers, some canned salmon, and carrot sticks as an extra afternoon snack, or
    • A piece of fruit and some nuts as an extra morning snack, or
    • An extra cup of milk or fortified soy beverage with lunch and dinner
  • Your body knows how much food you need. Tune in to your appetite, and trust your body’s hunger and fullness cues to guide you.

Learn more:

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What to eat

Enjoy a variety of foods:

  • Aim to enjoy regular meals and snacks with a variety of foods from the Government of Canada’s food guide: protein foods, whole grains, and vegetables and fruit. Learn more:
  • Build your repertoire of simple and tasty meals. Start with foods that you enjoy and have access to, and add others when you can.
  • Make water your number one drink. If needed, give it some flair with fresh or frozen fruit, mint leaves, or cucumber slices.

Take a daily multivitamin:

  • Check that yours contains at least 400 µg folic acid, 16 to 20 mg of iron, 400 IU of vitamin D, and some vitamin B12.

Consider food safety:

  • Due to hormonal changes, pregnant persons are at greater risk of food poisoning.
  • Learn more about safe food handling and foods to avoid in Safe food handling for pregnant women (PDF) - Health Canada.

Learn more:

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Additional support
  • BC families who receive income assistance are eligible for a monthly financial supplement upon confirmation of pregnancy. Learn more about the Natal supplement – Government of BC.
  • To find a pregnancy outreach program in your area, see the list of Pregnancy outreach programs in Northern BC – BC Association of Pregnancy Outreach Programs (BCAPOP).
  • To learn about programs in BC First Nations communities, see Prenatal Nutrition Program - First Nations Health Authority (FNHA).
  • To learn about vitamins/supplements for eligible BC First Nations children and pregnant women, see First Nations Health Benefits - Pharmacy.
  • For other helpful community services, see BC211.
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General pregnancy information