Pathways to Wellness

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Starting with pregnancy

The developing brain is influenced by what is going on inside the pregnant mother’s body (called the intra-uterine environment).  Nutritious food and extra vitamins help the brain develop.  Babies born in times of famine have smaller brains and bodies. 

If a woman eats a reasonably healthy diet before she becomes pregnant, there’s not a lot that she needs to change after becoming pregnant.  For pregnant women who are unsure of whether their diet is healthy, the place to start is with the Canada Food Guide.

A healthy pregnancy generally means a weight gain of about 20% which amounts to an extra 300 calories a day (by eating healthy foods, not ice cream!). 

Weight before Pregnancy

Expected weight gain

100 lbs

20 lbs

130 lbs

26 lbs

160 lbs

32 lbs

To find out what a healthy weight gain would be for you, divide your weight before pregnancy by 5.

Some vitamins and nutrients need to be boosted during pregnancy.  Extra folic acid (also called folate) can help prevent brain and spinal cord defects.  Vitamin D and extra iron is also important.  In Yukon, pregnant and nursing women can get assistance in eating well and taking care of themselves through Healthy Moms, Healthy Babies programs.  For more information, contact your local health centre or First Nation health department. 

Health Canada recommends that pregnant women:

✓ Eat according to Canada’s Food Guide.  Go to for a copy of the guide.
✓ Take a multivitamin which contains 0.4 mg of folic acid and 16-20 mg of iron every day.
✓ Eat an extra 2-3 servings from the Canada Food Guide each day.  A piece of fruit or bowl of yogurt are good choices.
✓ Be active every day.  Talk to your doctor or nurse before increasing your activity level.

Here’s a short video about what you can do to have a healthy pregnancy. ]

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