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Healthy Eating During Pregnancy

pregnant woman eating a bowl of salad



Healthy eating is always important, and when you're pregnant it's vital to ensure that you and your baby get all the nutrition you need.

To talk to a registered dietitian, call HealthLink BC at 8 1 1.

Eating Well with Canada’s Food Guide (Canada’s Food Guide) can help you with good eating habits. These habits will help your pregnancy, your breastfeeding, and the rest of your life.

Remember to:

  • Enjoy a variety of foods from the four food groups every day
  • Eat three meals and two to three snacks every day
  • Eat foods rich in nutrients
  • Limit foods and beverages high in calories, fat and sugar or sodium (salt such as cakes, pastries,
  • doughnuts, potato chips, fruit flavoured drinks, soft drinks, sports/energy drinks)
  • Limit foods high in trans fat

When you snack, choose foods that are low in sugar and nutritious. Suggestions for healthy snacks include:

  • Fresh fruit
  • Cut-up raw vegetables
  • Whole grain crackers and cheese
  • Greek yogurt
  • Peanut or nut butter on whole grain toast
  • Whole grain cereal with or without milk
  • Nuts or seeds

Fish and Mercury
Choose fish low in mercury, such as salmon, rainbow trout, Atlantic mackerel, sole or canned light tuna. Do not have more than two servings per month of fresh or frozen tuna, shark, marlin, escolar, orange roughy or swordfish. For more information, see the HealthLink BC file Healthy Eating: Choose Fish Low in Mercury.


If you get heartburn:

  • eat small, frequent meals
  • avoid fried, fatty and spicy foods
  • drink a lot of liquids between meals
  • elevate your head and shoulders while resting
  • do not bend or lie down immediately after a meal
  • do not wear tight clothing around your belly
  • chew sugarless, non peppermint gum (ideally containing xylitol)

Morning Sickness

If you have morning sickness (nausea and/or vomiting) during your first trimester, try:

  • eating smaller amounts of food every one to two hours during the day
  • avoiding fatty and fried foods
  • drinking fluids such as apple juice, ginger ale, water and clear black tea
  • eating whatever appeals to you during this time
  • eating your meals cold to avoid food smells, or having someone else cook

For more information about morning sickness, click here.

Resources & Links:

HealthLink BC: Nausea or Vomiting During Pregnancy
HealthLink BC: Pregnancy and Nutrition: Folate and Neural Tube Defects
HealthLink BC: Nutrition and Weight Gain During Pregnancy
Health Canada: Food Guide during pregnancy and breastfeeding
HealthLink BC: Healthy Eating in Pregnancy

Last Updated: January 29, 2018