Nutrition and Weight Gain in Pregnancy

It is important to eat nutritious foods during pregnancy. This diet should enable you to meet your energy needs in the second and third trimesters. Here are a few tips:

  • You will need about 300 extra calories per day.
  • Remember to drink plenty of fluids (about 6-7 glasses per day)
  • Do not fast for any longer than the usual overnight period
  • Take a prenatal vitamin with folic acid every day

Get answers to nutrition and healthy eating questions

Talk to a dietitian — if you live in Ontario, call toll free

You can speak to a dietitian in English, French and over 100 other languages using an interpreter. Hours: Monday to Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET. Outside of these hours you may leave a voicemail message and a registered dietitian will return your call the next business day.

Find articles, healthy recipes and nutrition videos.

Learn more:

Canada’s Food Guide
Food safety for pregnant women
Mercury in fish
Artificial sweeteners and pregnancy


Your baby is making all of its bones, so calcium is very important in pregnancy. We recommend that you try to take in 1,000 mg of calcium a day (add up what’s in your prenatal vitamin and in your diet).

One glass of milk has about 300 mg of calcium. Find out about other food sources of calcium on the Dietitians of Canada website.


Iron is an important building block for blood. You can get iron through your diet or by additional supplementation. Common side effects of iron include black stools, nausea and constipation. You can improve your body’s absorption of iron by taking it on an empty stomach with a little bit of orange juice. Do not take iron at the same time as calcium or your prenatal vitamin.

Spinach is a food source rich in iron. Find out what other foods are rich in iron.

Are you facing challenging life situations?

  • Hunger during pregnancy
  • Recent arrival to Canada
  • Previous premature or low birth weight births
  • Difficulty accessing health care

Attend the Canadian Prenatal Nutrition Program!

The Canada Prenatal Nutrition Program (CPNP) is a weekly prenatal program that provides group-based and individual support and education from public health nurses and registered dietitians in collaboration with community partners. Learn more about CPNP.


Constipation is very common in pregnancy and eating foods that are rich in fibre can help keep you regular and prevent the development of other problems like hemorrhoids. Vegetables, fruit, whole grains and legumes are great sources of fibre. Find out more about increasing your fibre intake.

Are you on Ontario Works?

Apply for the Pregnancy and Breastfeeding Nutritional Allowance.

This allowance may provide you or a family member with either:

  • $40 a month to assist with the costs of a regular diet, or
  • $50 a month to assist with the costs of a non-dairy diet if you are lactose intolerant.

Obesity and pregnancy

How much weight you should gain in your pregnancy depends on your body mass index or BMI.

Go to a BMI calculator.

BMIRecommended Weight Gain
Less than 18.512.5–18kg (28–40 lbs)
18–24.911.5–16kg (25–35lbs)
25–29.97–11.5kg (15–25lbs)
More than 307 kg (15 lbs)
Twin pregnancy16–20.5kg (35–45lbs)

Risk of obesity for you

Risk of obesity for your baby

  • Baby growing too big (causing problems during birth for mother and baby)
  • Difficulty monitoring fetal heart rate
  • Needing to stay longer in hospital after birth
  • Birth defects, including neural tube defects
  • Stillbirth

You must not rely on the information on this website as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or other professional healthcare provider. If you have any specific questions about any medical matter you should consult your healthcare provider. If you think you may be suffering from any medical condition you should seek immediate medical attention. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information on this website.