Eating a nutritious and balanced diet,
among other things, can be one way to
maintain a healthy weight throughout
life, including during pregnancy. Health
Canada recommends women aged 19 to
50 eat eight to 10 servings of fruit and
vegetables, eight servings of grains and
two servings each of milk and alternatives
and meat and alternatives a day.
Canada’s Food Guide says pregnant
women may need to eat an extra two to
three servings a day of foods including:
• Fruit such as apples, bananas
• Vegetables such as carrots and celery
• Hard boiled eggs
• Almonds and other nuts
What does a serving size look like?
• 1 cup (250 ml) dark, leafy greens is a serving of vegetables
• 1/2 cup (125 ml) pure orange juice equals one serving of fruit
• 1.6 oz ( 45 g) bagel or 1/2 cup (125 ml) pasta equals one serving of grain products
• 1 cup (250 ml) milk or fortified soy or 1.8 oz ( 50 g) of cheese equals one serving of milk and
• 2.6 oz. (75 g) of lean meat, poultry or fish (about the size of a deck of cards) equals one
serving of meat and alternatives.
For more healthy eating tips, talk with a dietitian or visit albertahealthservices.ca
and search for healthy eating starts here.
Health Canada’s weight-gain guidelines
Healthy weight gain during pregnancy depends, to some extent, on your weight before pregnancy.
*Pre-pregnancy categories are based on Body Mass Index (BMI) scale.
Recommended Range of total weight gain
28-40 12. 5-18
25-35 11. 5-16
15-25 7-11. 5
recommended by Health Canada.
Extra weight during pregnancy
can increase a woman’s risk of
developing diabetes during pregnancy,
hypertension and cardiovascular
disease later in life. It can also increase
discomfort, seriously complicate labour
and make it more difficult to lose
weight after giving birth.
In babies, extra weight can impair
brain development and increase the
risk of weight gain and obesity later in
Unhealthy weight gain in pregnancy
has a number of causes, from giving
into cravings to a culture that
encourages pregnant women to eat.
“Women can feel pressure to eat,”
says Bell. “The foods that are offered,
or eaten during a craving, can be
unhealthy foods that are low in
nutrients and contain extra calories,
particularly in the form of sugar and
fat. We recommend that women eat
foods that are in Canada’s Food Guide,
and meet their calorie needs.”
Pregnant women can avoid gaining
too much weight with any number of
activities, such as regular walking,
modified yoga and even reading.
“It’s good for pregnant women
to exercise without overexerting
themselves,” Bell says. “What’s
most important is to adopt healthy
behaviours during pregnancy that can
support you, your baby and healthy
— Jacqueline Louie with files from
For more about pregnancy and healthy
weight, search for these topics at
About half of all pregnant
women in Canada gain more
weight than is recommended