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Early Pregnancy: Healthcare, Nutrition, and Lifestyle

 

You’re expecting—what an exciting time! 

Since every day should build on the excitement you felt the moment you found out, here’s a checklist that focusses on the start of your amazing journey. It’s meant to put your initial pregnancy questions and concerns to bed, so you can look forward to all the thrills that lie ahead for you…and your baby! 

Sunday, July 30th, 2017

Your healthcare

  • Schedule your first prenatal visit with your doctor as soon as you think you’re pregnant.
  • Choose a healthcare provider ASAP (GP, OB-GYN, midwife, doula, or combination). Some prenatal healthcare professionals, such as midwives, are in high demand and short supply in certain areas of Canada, so decide on your preferred choices and make contact as soon as possible after confirming your pregnancy.
  • Plan your visits to your healthcare provider four weeks apart initially and increase the frequency as your pregnancy progresses.
  • Inform your doctor if your immunizations are not up to date.
  • Talk to your doctor about prenatal genetic testing and screening if your family has a history of genetic disorders.
  • Choose a place to give birth with advice from your healthcare provider (hospital/birth centre/home).
  • Take a daily multivitamin. Canadian Health Experts recommend that all women who may become pregnant and those who are pregnant or breastfeeding take a daily multivitamin containing 0.4 – 1.0mg folic acid.1

Your health

  • Avoid alcohol, drugs and cigarettes.
  • Consult with your doctor before taking any medication.
  • Get plenty of sleep. (Naps are encouraged, especially when you feel tired!)
  • Be careful not to become overheated during prolonged periods of exercise.
  • Be aware that many women experience nausea in their first trimester (Ugh, the worst. Try eating whatever pregnancy-safe foods appeal to you and try to get extra rest).2

Your nutrition

  • Boost your energy with high protein and whole grain foods like brown rice, hard cheeses, or multi-grain breads.  
  • Eat foods naturally high in folic acid like oranges, melons, and dark-green, leafy vegetables. 
  • Hydrate! Drink lots of fluids, especially water (8-10 glasses a day if you can). 
  • Eat plenty of iron-rich foods like meats, beans, nuts, raisins and fortified whole grains. 
  • Coffee-lover? Cut back on caffeinated beverages by trying decaffeinated coffee or tea.3  
  • Eat well and make healthy choices—this is no time to diet. 

Your lifestyle

  • Start budgeting (it’s never too early) for your new life with baby—think about your maternity and parental leave plan, as well as educational savings.
  • Consider starting a pregnancy diary or a photo diary of your changing body. (You won’t regret it!)
  • Add to your resources: Sign up for Nestlé Baby & me to receive super-relevant info from the 1000 Days Nutrition Program, or visit a library, bookstore, even a friend’s house, for a few pregnancy books.

No matter what, do your best to make learning about your baby relaxing—and fun!

* Health Canada and Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada

References:

1 Wilson RD et al. Pre-conception Folic Acid and Multivitamin Supplementation for the Primary and Secondary Prevention of Neural Tube Defects and Other Folic Acid-Sensitive Congenital Anomalies. SOGC Clinical Practice Guideline, No. 324. J Obstet Gynaecol Can. 2015;29(12):1003-1013.

2 Campbell K et al. The Management of Nausea and Vomiting in Pregnancy. J Obstet Gynaecol Can 2016;38(12):1127-1137.

3 Public Health Agency of Canada, 2019. Caffeine and pregnancy.  https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/pregnancy/caffeine.html 

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