There is lots of information out there about pregnancy. It can be hard to know what is best for you and your baby. Below you will find reliable information and links on a variety of topics to help you have a healthy pregnancy.
During pregnancy your body is going through many changes. To support these changes and the growth of your baby, you will need to eat a variety of foods. Visit the Healthy Eating During Pregnancy section to learn more about the following:
- baby building nutrients
- healthy weight gain during pregnancy
- caffeine and herbal teas
- food safety
- nausea and vomiting during pregnancy
Being active during pregnancy benefits both you and baby! Check with your health care provider before beginning or changing your physical activity. Check out this Active Pregnancy resource to help you stay active. Find ideas for the whole family by visiting the Physical Activity section of our website!
Pregnancy can be a challenging time in a woman’s life. By taking care of yourself, you are taking care of your baby. If you have concerns about your mental health, just know that you are not alone! 10% of pregnant women require some kind of help for prenatal depression or anxiety. Talking to someone you trust, your doctor, or a public health nurse can help you get the support you may need. Check out the Pregnancy Info website to learn about mental health during pregnancy and what you can do for you and your baby.
Physical, mental and emotional abuse is an unfortunate reality of society. 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men experience abuse at some point in their lives. A woman is more at risk for experiencing abuse during pregnancy. If you or anyone you know is experiencing abuse, there is help available:
Alcohol, tobacco or drug use by the mother or father during pregnancy can harm the growing baby. Pregnancy provides a chance to make healthy choices to benefit the whole family.
When a pregnant woman smokes it increases the risk of having the baby early (before 37 weeks) or having a low-birth weight baby. It is best to quit smoking before pregnancy; however, stopping or cutting back at any time will help. Having a smoke-free home is also important for you, your baby and anyone else in the home’s health. To learn more about smoking during pregnancy and ways to quit or cut back, visit Pregnets. For information on smoking and supports in your area visit our Smoke-Free page.
Drinking alcohol while pregnant or breastfeeding can affect the health of you and your baby. There is no safe time, type or amount of alcohol for your growing baby. If you are a partner, family member, or friend of a pregnant woman you too have a role in supporting healthy pregnancies. Read more about having an alcohol free pregnancy by visiting this Alcohol-Free Pregnancy resource.
Pregnant women need to be careful when taking prescription, over-the-counter and herbal/natural products. Talk with your doctor about any medications or herbal products you are taking. Using illegal drugs during pregnancy can:
- affect the baby’s growth and development
- cause the baby to be born addicted to that drug
Thrive is a program that offers support to mothers who are using substances or receiving methadone treatment. If you are pregnant or parenting children, Thrive can provide:
- In-hospital and support visits
- Parenting support and education
- Time for you to recognize your strengths, set goals and expand you supports
To contact the Thrive resource worker or make a referral call 613-340-0155 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have questions, concerns or need help quitting tobacco, alcohol or drugs please contact:
- Your family doctor
- The Leeds Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit at 1-800-660-5853
- Centre for Addictions and Mental Health
- Lanark, Leeds & Grenville Addictions & Mental Health
There is lots to think about as you get ready for the birth of your baby. There are many different feelings you may be having such as:
- Excitement to finally meet your baby
- Eagerness to have the pregnancy over
- Dread or fear of the pain that labour and delivery brings
For many people, learning as much as you can about what’s to come can help to lessen fears. Below are some things you can do to take charge.
Attend Prenatal Classes
Learn along with your peers about what you can expect during labour, delivery, and what happens right after baby is born. Have your questions answered by a Public Health Nurse, and learn from questions others may have. Check out the Clinics & Classes page to find a Prenatal Class near you.
Go on a Hospital Tour
A hospital tour can help you get familiar with the space where you will give birth. Often you can pre-register so all the paperwork can be done before you go into labour.
Talk to Your Health Care Provider
Ask your health care provider about what options you have during birth. Everyone is unique and has different labour and birth experiences. You and your health care provider are the experts in your health and pregnancy. Pregnancyinfo.ca also has some great information about labour and birth.
Have a Birth Plan
The best time to write a birth plan is after you have attended prenatal classes, went on a hospital tour, and spoken to your health care provider about your options. A birth plan can help you consider things like:
- Who you want in the room during labour and birth
- What type of pain control you prefer (natural methods, or medications)
- Any fears you have
- What you want to have happen immediately after baby is born:
- Skin-to-skin immediately after birth, for 1 hour until the first feed is recommended for all mothers and babies. Find out more about skin-to-skin on the Babies & Children page.
- How you plan to feed your baby:
- Take a look at this resource to help you make an informed decision about feeding your baby.
- For any questions or concerns regarding breastfeeding before baby arrives, drop-in to one of our Brestfeeding Clinics to talk with a Public Health Nurse.
It may not be possible for the plan to go exactly as written, but it can help to let others know your wishes. Remember that the goal is a health mother and a healthy baby.
Pregnancy usually lasts between 37–42 weeks. If labour begins before 37 weeks it is called “preterm labour”. Preterm labour can lead to delivering the baby prematurely which can cause problems for the baby.
If you experience any of the below symptoms, go to the hospital right away and contact your doctor or midwife.
- Bad cramps or stomach pains that don’t go away
- Spotting or bleeding from your vagina
- 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
- Fever, chills, dizziness, vomiting or bad headaches
- Blurred vision or spots before your eyes
- Sudden or severe swelling of your feet, hands or face
- A decrease in your baby’s movement
- Being in a motor vehicle accident
(Best Start by Healthy Nexus, 2012)
You can also find more information on preterm labor on the Pregnancy Info site.
Disclaimer: All women who are or could become pregnant need to take a supplement with at least 400 mcg (0.4 mg) of folic acid each day. Some women need more folic acid. Talk to your doctor about the amount of folic acid you should take. Do not take more than 1000 mcg (1 mg) unless advised by your doctor.
- The Sensible Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy
- Healthy Pregnancy – Government of Canada
- Pregnancy and Oral Health
- Be Safe: Have an Alcohol-Free Pregnancy
- Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction
- Rethink Your Drinking – Zero Matters
All information on these web pages has been posted for general information purposes only. These web pages do not provide and the information does not constitute medical advice. The information is not intended to replace or be a substitute for consultation with a qualified professional.
If you are having any pain or bleeding, or your feel there is something wrong call your health care provider immediately. Do not use the phone numbers or e-mail addresses listed on these web pages.