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 andvegetables, eight servings of grains andtwo servings each of milk and alternativesand meat and alternatives a day.
Canada’s Food Guide says pregnantwomen may need to eat an extra two tothree servings a day of foods including:• Fruit such as apples, bananas• Vegetables such as carrots and celery• Hard boiled eggs• Almonds and other nuts• Yogurt• Milk.
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.caand search for healthy eating starts here.
Health Canada’s weight-gain guidelinesHealthy 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 pregnancycan increase a woman’s risk ofdeveloping diabetes during pregnancy,hypertension and cardiovasculardisease later in life. It can also increasediscomfort, seriously complicate labourand make it more difficult to loseweight after giving birth.
In babies, extra weight can impairbrain development and increase therisk of weight gain and obesity later inlife.
Unhealthy weight gain in pregnancyhas a number of causes, from givinginto cravings to a culture thatencourages 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 womento exercise without overexertingthemselves,” Bell says. “What’smost important is to adopt healthybehaviours during pregnancy that cansupport you, your baby and healthyweight gain.”
— Jacqueline Louie with files fromAmy Sawchenko
For more about pregnancy and healthyweight, search for these topics atapplemag.ca.
About half of all pregnant
women in Canada gain more
weight than is recommended