A-Z List | Accessible Info | Careers | Contact Us


Health Before


Last Reviewed: April 2017

Physical Preparation

Nutrition and Healthy Eating

Key Info

  • Increase your chances of getting pregnant by eating healthy.
  • Improve the health of your future baby by eating healthy.
  • Include foods from each of the 4 Food Groups from Canada’s Food Guide every day.
  • Limit intake of less healthy foods and beverages.
  • Folic Acid supplementation is recommended for women who could become pregnant.

How Good Nutrition Helps

Ask your doctor, and he or she will tell you that:

  • Healthy eating will improve your chances of getting pregnant.
    A woman’s ability to get pregnant can be affected by having too many or too little of the key nutrients.

    If you are dieting or overeating, get advice from a health professional. You might have difficulty getting pregnant if you’re underweight or overweight. Talk to your doctor and/or dietitian about these concerns before you try to get pregnant.

  • Healthy food choices can affect how well your baby will develop and grow.
    Healthy food choices will also help you reach or maintain a healthy weight during pregnancy.

Healthy Eating Guidelines

No one “magic” food or food group will meet all of your nutritional needs. Follow these healthy eating guidelines to get the vitamins and nutrients your body needs.

Follow Canada’s Food Guide

You’ll improve your health and the future health of your baby by eating the right types and amounts of food recommended in Canada's Food Guide.

For women 19 - 50 years of age, Canada’s Food Guide recommends the following daily intake:

  • 7-8 servings of Vegetables and Fruits
    Vegetables and fruit give you important vitamins/minerals and fibre. Eat at least one dark green, and orange vegetable each day which have little or no added fat, sugar or salt. Have vegetables and fruits more often than juice.

  • 6-7 servings of Grain Products
    Grain products provide fibre and nutrients like carbohydrates, B vitamins, iron, zinc, etc. Choose whole grain products more often - at least half of the grain products you eat each day should be whole grain. Choose products that are lower in fat, sugar or salt. Read the Nutrition Facts table on labels to make wise choices.

  • 2 servings of Milk and Alternatives*
    Milk and Alternatives provide calcium, vitamin D, A, and B12, riboflavin, zinc, magnesium, potassium, protein and fat. Foods such as milk, fortified soy beverage, cheese, kefir and yogurt give you calcium, and protein. Vitamin D can be found in milk, some fortified yogurts and beverages (soy, rice and some brands of orange juice), egg yolk and margarine.

    Drink milk each day. Choose lower fat milk and alternatives more often. If you’re allergic to milk or are lactose intolerant talk with a dietitian for other sources of calcium and vitamin D.

    *Note: Teenaged girls (14 – 18 years of age) require 3 - 4 servings of Milk and Alternatives every day.

  • 2 servings of Meat and Alternatives
    Meat and Alternatives provide you with iron, protein and other vitamins/minerals. Choose leaner meats, poultry and fish, as well as beans, lentils and tofu more often. They should have little or no added fat or salt. Eat at least 2 Food Guide servings of fish per week.

    If you are a vegan (a person that does not eat any animal products including eggs or milk products) speak to a dietitian about alternative food sources of iron, protein, vitamin B-12 and vitamin D.

  • Oils and Fats
    Oils and fats supply calories and essential fats. They also help our bodies absorb key nutrients. The type of fat you eat is just as important as the total fat eaten. Include a small amount (2-3 Tbsp.) of unsaturated fat each day.

Eat Regular Meals and Snacks

Regular meals and snacks will give your body the energy and nutrients it needs every day.

  • Be sure to eat breakfast
  • Don’t skip meals
  • Eat every 3-4 hours
  • Don’t eat too little throughout the day as under-eating can make you overeat later

Include foods from each of the recommended 4 Food Groups at every meal and foods from at least 2 food groups for snacks


Drink water regularly each day to satisfy thirst and prevent dehydration. Drink more in the hot weather or when you are very active.

Limit beverages that are high in calories or caffeine, or low in nutrients. These include alcoholic beverages, sugar-sweetened fruit drinks, soft drinks, coffee and tea, sports and energy drinks.

Folic Acid

To reduce risk of birth defects of the developing spine and brain (e.g. spina bifida), it is recommended that all women who could become pregnant take a supplement containing 0.4* mg (400 microgram) of folic acid.

*Note: Most prenatal vitamins contain up to 1 mg of folic acid. This amount is considered unsafe for those under 19 years of age. Women less than 19 years old should consult with their health care provider to help them choose prenatal vitamins that do not put them at risk.

For more information go to:

For more information:
Region of Peel — Public Health
905-799-7700 Monday to Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Caledon residents call free of charge at 905-584-2216
To speak with a Public Health Nurse

Preparing for Pregnancy: The Basics | For Moms-To-Be | For Dads-To-Be | Contact Us

Revised: Thursday June 22 2017

Privacy Service Commitment

Smaller Text Larger Text