Healthy Pregnancy

Public Health programs work with the community to support healthy pregnancies so that all babies have the best possible start in life.

Here you can find useful information and resources regarding healthy lifestyles, pregnancy and work, emotional changes, physical changes, prenatal testing and monitoring, and health care.

Healthy eating and active living

Healthy eating

Good nutrition during pregnancy includes eating a variety of different foods, taking a daily prenatal multivitamin, and handling food safely. Talk to your healthcare provider before taking additional supplements or herbal products, and about-how much weight gain is appropriate for you in this pregnancy.

 The following resources offer more information on healthy eating in pregnancy:

If you have questions or concerns about healthy eating during pregnancy, call Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000 (TTY: 1-866-797-0007) to talk to a Registered Dietitian for free.

 

Active living

It's important to be physically active during your pregnancy. Being active has many benefits to your growing baby and makes you feel better too. Walk every day. Speak to your healthcare provider before you begin any new activity.

Fill out the Physical Activity Readiness Form with your health care provider to determine what activity level is appropriate for you.

For questions about exercise, speak to your Health Care Provider.

For more resources:

Nausea and vomiting

Nausea and vomiting are very common, especially in the first four months of pregnancy. Some ways to cope with your nausea and vomiting during your pregnancy are:
  • Eat small meals and snacks every 1-2 hours. Do not skip meals
  • Avoid eating spicy, fried, and fatty foods
  • Try bland, dry or starchy food before getting out of bed
  • Drink small amounts of fluids throughout the day, and 30 minutes before or after eating
  • If odours cause nausea, try eating cold food rather than hot
  • Do not lie down right after eating
  • Get more rest and nap during the day

For more ideas, check Coping with Nausea and Vomiting during Pregnancy.

Oral health

Your body undergoes many changes during pregnancy.  These changes can affect the health of your teeth and gums. Keeping your teeth and gums healthy during pregnancy has many benefits for you and your baby.

Here are some ways you can take care of your oral health during pregnancy:

  • Brush twice a day using a soft toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste
  • Floss daily to remove plaque from your teeth and gums
  • Eat nutritious food and avoid snacking on foods that contain sugar
  • Drink lots of water and avoid large amount of pop and energy drinks
  • If you vomit, avoid brushing your teeth for one hour as the stomach acid can damage your teeth. Instead, rinse out your mouth

 For more information, check the Oral Health Fact Sheet.

Comfort

Many physical changes occur during pregnancy. Promoting a Comfortable Pregnancy explains why changes occur, and offers different things you can do to help you feel better during your pregnancy. If you have questions, concerns, or feel a discomfort is getting worse talk to your health care provider.

Work during pregnancy
Many individuals work during pregnancy. Sometimes changes to your duty may be needed. Check in with your health care provider. The following links offer some more information on working during your pregnancy.
Mental health and wellbeing

During your pregnancy, you may notice that your feelings change often. Many emotional changes are normal. However, one out of five people have mood swings, feel anxious or depressed. If you and/or your partner are concerned about your emotional changes talk to someone you trust, call your health care provider or seek out local supports. 

For more information, see:

Healthy relationships

Everyone deserves to be loved, valued, and to feel safe and secure in their relationships. If you are experiencing abuse know this is not your fault, you are not alone, there is help.

For more information, check:

Be substance free

Being substance free during and after your pregnancy protects you and your unborn/new baby's health. It is also important to discuss prescription and over-the-counter medications with your health care provider. The following resources provide more information about medications, alcohol, drugs and smoking during your pregnancy: 

 For substance use services, see Prenatal and Parenting Services.

Healthy environments

Harmful substances in our surroundings can have serious impacts on your health, the health of your unborn baby and small children. During and after pregnancy you can take some simple steps to reduce risks in your home.

Some ways to create a healthy environment during and after your pregnancy are:

Health care services and supports
Getting regular health care throughout your pregnancy is an important part of having a healthy pregnancy. This resource links you to many options for health care providers and other supports:
Check your immunizations

See your health care provider to ensure that you and your unborn baby are protected. Check your immunizations and immunity to infections, such as German measles (rubella) and Chickenpox. This may include getting your annual flu vaccine and making sure your pertussis (whooping cough) vaccine is up to date.

See more information on the Health Canada website: Immunization in Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

Travel safety during pregnancy
Travelling away from home? Get advice on how to protect yourself and your unborn baby from exposure to infections. Consult a health care provider or visit a travel health clinic to discuss your travel plans, preferably six weeks before you travel.
Infectious diseases in pregnancy
If you are feeling unwell or have been exposed to an infection during your pregnancy, check in with your health care provider. They can determine if you need to get other testing done. The following resources offer more information on some infections that can affect you and your unborn baby.

Prevent preterm birth

Preterm birth occurs when babies are born before 37 weeks of pregnancy. These newborns are at risk of developing serious short and long-term health problems, some may even die. 

You may be at greater risk of having a preterm birth if you are/have:

  • High levels of stress
  • Genital tract infection
  • Gum infection
  • Using tobacco
  • Previous preterm birth
  • Other obstetrical problems

It is important to recognize the signs and symptoms of preterm labour. If you see a potential problem, call your health care provider and go to the hospital to be checked.

Recognize preterm labour

Watch for the following signs especially if they seem new or different or happen before you are 37 weeks pregnant:

  • Bad cramps or stomach pains that don't go away
  • Bleeding, trickle or gush of fluid from your vagina
  • Lower back pain/pressure, or change in lower backache
  • 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

If your contractions are constant and feel more regular, go the hospital and get checked immediately.  

Community prenatal programs, supports and services
Region of Waterloo Public Health and local agencies offer a number of free programs, supports and services for pregnant/parenting individuals and/or their partners or supports:

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