Diet and Exercise

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Pregnancy can be a confusing time! Many clients find themselves questioning what foods are safe to eat and what foods to avoid. Throw in questions about exercise and it only adds to the confusion. The information below will hopefully help to alleviate some of these concerns but remember you can always ask your midwife for clarification.

Foods to Avoid:

  • Raw or unpasteurized dairy products
  • Pasteurized soft Cheese (ex. Brie and Camembert)
  • Pasteurized semi-soft cheeses (ex. Havarti)
  • Non-dried deli meats (ex. Bologna, roast beef and turkey breast)
  • Raw or lightly cooked eggs (may be in some salad dressings, sauces or drinks)
  • Raw or undercooked meat/poultry (steak tartar)
  • Raw seafood (sushi, raw oysters, clams, mussels)
  • Refrigerated smoked seafood
  • Fish high in mercury
  • Raw sprouts (alfalfa, clover, radish and mung beans)
  • Refrigerated pates and meat spreads
  • Unpasteurized fruit juice and cider

(See Health Canada Guide to Food Safety for alternatives)

Be smart! Especially during the summer months, when foods may sit out long periods of time at BBQs or family gatherings. If you are not sure something is safe to eat, it is better to avoid it.


Exercise during low-risk pregnancy is safe and recommended. Pregnant clients should aim to get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity every week. If you have not been active prior to your pregnancy, start with 5 minutes of activity a day and work your way up to approximately 30 minutes, five days a week.


Benefits of exercise:

  • Reduces back pain
  • Reduces constipation
  • May decrease the risk of gestational diabetes, preeclampsia and cesarean section birth
  • Aids healthy weight gain during pregnancy
  • Improves overall fitness and strength
  • Helps with weight loss after the birth of baby

Safe Exercises:

  • Walking
  • Swimming
  • Stationary Cycling
  • Modified Yoga/Pilates

Exercises to Avoid:

  • Contact sports (risk of impact to the abdomen, ex. Ice hockey, soccer, basketball, boxing)
  • Activities that may result in a fall (downhill skiing, water skiing, surfing, off-road cycling, gymnastics, horseback riding
  • Hot yoga or hot pilates (may cause overheating and dehydration)
  • Scuba diving