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Health During Pregnancy

Important signs to watch for if you are pregnant

  • Bad cramps or stomach pains that don't go away
  • Bleeding or a trickle or gush of fluid from your vagina
  • Lower back pain/pressure or change in lower back pain
  • A feeling that the baby is pushing down
  • Contractions or change in the strength or number of them
  • An increase in the amount of vaginal discharge
  • Fever, chills, dizziness, vomiting or a bad headache
  • Blurry vision or spots before your eyes
  • Sudden or severe swelling of your feet, hand or face
  • A significant change in your baby's movements

Go to a hospital right away and contact your doctor/midwife if you have any of these symptoms!

Adapted with permission from:
Best Start: Ontario's Maternal Newborn and Early Child Development Resource Centre

Last Reviewed: April 2017

Eating Healthy

Healthy weight gain

Pregnant lady eating fruit

The recommended amount of weight gain for a healthy baby depends on your weight before pregnancy. Your weight gain supports:

  • The growth of the baby
  • The growth of placenta
  • The production of amniotic fluid
  • The increase in mom's blood, protein, fluid and fat stores, uterus and breast size.

A healthy weight gain can help make a full term, healthy baby weighing 6.8 to 7.9 lb (3.1 to 3.6 kg). Most women will need to gain between 25-35 pounds, some a little more, some a little less. Recommendations for weight gain can be different from woman to woman depending on her pre-pregnancy Body Mass Index (BMI).  BMI is a measure that relates weight to height and risk of health problems.

Women who gain too much weight may have health problems during pregnancy, including risk of having a caesarean section or retaining the weight after delivery. They are also at risk of having a baby born preterm or larger than normal. Women who gain too little weight may have a low birth weight baby which can affect baby’s health.

Putting on weight slowly and steady is best. However, every woman and every pregnancy is different. The amount of weight you gained during the first pregnancy may be different for the second pregnancy.

How much weight should I gain while I am pregnant?

How much weight you should gain during your pregnancy depends on how much you weighed before you got pregnant. The following recommendations are based on your pre-pregnancy Body Mass Index (BMI)

Recommended weight gain*

Pre-pregnancy BMI category

Weekly rate of weight gain in the 2nd and 3rd trimester

Recommended range of total weight gain

BMI <18.5

0.5kg (1 lbs)

12.2-18 kg (28-40 lbs)

BMI 18.5-24.9
normal weight

0.4 kg (1 lbs)

11.5-16 kg (25-35 lbs)

BMI >25-29.9

0.3kg (0.6 lbs)

7-11.5 kg (15-25 lbs)

BMI >30

0.2kg (0.5 lbs)

5-9 kg (11-20 lbs)

* Canadian Gestational Weight Gain Recommendations (Health Canada 2011)

Where does all the weight go?

If your baby weighs 7lbs 8 oz, where does the rest of the weight go? Here is a break down of how weight gain is distributed for a 30 pound weight gain.


7 1/2 pounds


1 1/2 pounds
Amniotic fluid 2 pounds
Uterus 2 pounds
Breasts 2 pounds
Increased blood volume 4 pounds
Increased fluid volume 4 pounds
Maternal stores of fat, protein and other nutrients 7 pounds
Total: 30 pounds

Tips for a healthy weight gain

You will need extra calories during your pregnancy so that you have a healthy weight gain. How much more?  In the first 3 months of pregnancy, most women do not gain much weight so you only need to eat more in the second and third trimester.  On average, you need to eat an extra 2-3 serving per day from Canada’s Food Guide.

You can get 2-3 servings extra each day by adding healthy snacks to your day or by adding servings to your meals. For example, 2 extra servings may be eating a fruit for snack and an extra glass of milk with supper.

  • Eat meals and snacks at regular times each day. Six small meals may be easier and healthier than three large ones, especially if you are feeling sick or have heartburn.
  • Eat according to your appetite. When you go without food so does your baby.
  • Keep healthy snacks around when you are hungry between meals. Fruit and yogurt smoothies, raisin bran muffins or peanut butter and banana sandwiches are good choices.
  • Exercise regularly. Walking or swimming is safe during pregnancy and regular exercise can help avoid excessive weight gain.
  • Try to eat six to seven servings of grain products everyday. Make sure at least half of your grain products are whole grain each day. Cereals, breads, muffins, tortilla, roti, pasta and rice are all good sources of energy, B vitamins, fibre (if whole grain) and iron.
  • Try to eat seven to eight servings of fruits and vegetables, including fresh, frozen or canned juices every day. They are great sources of vitamin C, vitamin A, folic acid and fibre.
  • Try to eat two servings of milk and milk products such as milk, yogurt, pudding and cheese for sources of calcium. From the Milk and Alternates choices, milk is the best source of vitamin D. Some juices and yogurts have vitamin D added to them. Vitamin D is necessary for your body to absorb calcium. Choose lower fat products if concerned about excessive weight gain.
  • Try to eat two servings of meat, like chicken, beef, pork, lamb and fish every day. Meat alternatives like eggs, peanut butter, tofu, beans and lentils are also sources of protein and iron.
  • Try to limit foods high in sugar and fats. These foods are okay, occasionally, in small amounts.

To check to see if your food intake is on the right track visit:
My Food Guide Serving Tracker
Health Canada

Remember, every woman is different and every pregnancy can be different too. It is important for you to discuss your weight gain with your doctor/midwife.

For more information:

Region of Peel - Public Health
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

Eating Healthy to Have a Healthy Baby
For more information about eating healthy in pregnancy

Canada's Food Guide

Healthy Pregnancy
Government of Canada

Prenatal Classes/Programs | Taking Care of Yourself | Eating Healthy
Medical Concerns | Teen Pregnancy | Just for Dads | Contact Us

Revised: Tuesday June 27 2017

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