Healthful, nutritious food is important during pregnancy, childhood and beyond
Making healthy choices during pregnancy can increase a woman’s chances of having a healthy baby, and can support healthy eating habits for life.
Healthy eating during pregnancy
- gives the developing baby nutrition to grow and be healthy
- reduces the chances of health problems for the mother (such as low iron or high blood pressure)
- helps the mother gain a healthy amount of weight and feel good about herself
Breast milk is the only food that babies need to grow and be healthy for the first 6 months of life
Breastfeeding is the healthiest way to feed babies. Drinking alcohol during breastfeeding can pass into the breast milk. The safest choice is for women to not drink alcohol when breastfeeding. Learn more about breastfeeding and alcohol.
At about 6 months, babies begin to eat solid foods and continue to breastfeed for up to 2 years or more
It is important to start solid foods that are nutritious, especially those that are high in iron. Nutritious foods nourish the body and give energy to lead a healthy, active lifestyle (Government of Canada, 2013). Healthy eating is important to good health at all ages. Eating the right foods can also help reduce the risk of nutrition-related chronic diseases, like heart disease, type 2 diabetes and cancer (Government of Canada, 2013).
Service providers can provide key information on healthy eating
Expectant and new parents or caregivers may have many questions about healthy food and healthy eating in pregnancy and early parenting. Service providers can provide resources and referrals to community supports, such as dietitians, food banks and community kitchens.