Staying active before and during pregnancy is healthy. It can be as simple as going for a walk, snowshoe, or swim each day. Being active is good for you and your baby:
- It helps you to feel good and stay healthy.
- It may make labour and birth easier.
- You may recover more quickly after your baby is born.
- It may prevent constipation (difficulty having a bowel movement).
- It can help you gain a healthy amount of weight and reduce the risk of gestational diabetes.
- It can give you energy and make you feel better.
- Drink plenty of water when you are exercising.
- Try not to get too hot or too tired.
- You should be able to talk when you are being active.
- If something hurts or feels uncomfortable, stop.
- Talk to your health care provider if you are thinking about starting a new activity. If you are in a group activity, let the instructor know you are pregnant. Some exercise classes are specially designed for pregnant women, like prenatal yoga or aquafit. Talk to your health care provider if you have any questions about being active; if you have specific health concerns in your pregnancy you might have some restrictions. Generally, 30 minutes of exercise per day is recommended when pregnant.
You may be working or going to school during your pregnancy. A few small changes at work or at school can add to your comfort and will help you to have a healthy baby. Talk to your health care provider about the things that you do at work and at school.
Most jobs and classes are safe during pregnancy. Some women must stop working or must change to a different type of work when they are pregnant. If your work or classes include any of the items on the list below, you may need to make some changes or take extra care while you are pregnant:
- If you must stand up for long periods of time.
- If you must lift, push, or pull heavy items.
- If you are in contact with chemicals.
- If you use X-rays.
- If there is loud noise.
- If it is very hot.
- If you are in contact with animals, young children, or sick people.
- If you work long hours or do shift work.
There is no strong proof that computers can harm your unborn baby.
Employers cannot penalize an employee in any way because the employee will take a pregnancy or parental leave from work. Employers are responsible to accommodate the needs of the pregnant employee as much as is possible.
Pregnant people have a right to take time off for prenatal care. Employers also are required under the law, to provide a clean and suitable place to pump breast milk and have longer or extra breaks in order to do so.
Some infections can be harmful to you and your unborn baby. When planning a pregnancy, and during pregnancy, your health care provider may suggest that you take extra care to avoid infections. Your health care provider may also test you for some infections. If you think you have one of the infections listed below, contact your health care provider.
You can get this infection from raw or undercooked meat, and from unwashed vegetables. You can also get it from cleaning the cat litter or working a garden where a cat has left feces (infected soil). A toxoplasmosis infection during pregnancy can make your baby very sick.
- Cook all meats well. Wash vegetables before eating them. Clean counters well after cooking. Be sure your drinking water is safe.
- Wear gloves and a face mask if you have to change the cat litter box or or have someone else responsible for the litter box. Wear gloves if you are working in a garden where a cat may have left feces.
- Wash your hands regularly, especially before and after preparing food, changing the cat litter box and working in the garden.
This infection can hurt your kidneys and in some severe cases, cause your unborn baby to be born too soon. If you feel any of these symptoms, contact your doctor or health care provider right away:
- You need to pee (pass urine) often and right away. Or you feel you have to go but cannot or very little comes out.
- You have a burning feeling when you pee (pass urine).
- Your pee (urine) is bloody or cloudy.
- Your pee (urine) has a strange smell.
- You have pain in your lower stomach or back.
- You have a fever or feel sick to your stomach.
You can protect yourself from getting a bladder infection:
- Drink about 6- 8 glasses of water every day.
- Wipe yourself from front to back after using the toilet.
- Go to the toilet as soon as you feel the urge to pee (pass urine), before sex, and after sex.
- Wear cotton underwear / avoid thongs which increase the risk of E. Coli bladder infections.
- Cranberry capsules are safe in pregnancy and can reduce bladder infections.
Tests for Other Infections during Pregnancy:
HIV—The HIV virus causes AIDS. AIDS can make you and your baby very sick. A blood test is used to look for HIV. Pregnant people who are HIV positive can take medication to help prevent their baby from getting HIV.
Streptococcus B (Strep B)—During birth, a baby can come into contact with Strep B and some may get very sick. A vaginal and rectal swab is used to test for the Strep B bacteria. Women who have Strep B have access to antibiotics during labour.
For more detailed information:
Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)—Herpes, chlamydia, syphilis, gonorrhea, and hepatitis B are STIs. They can harm you and your unborn baby. Your health care provider can test for STI’s.
There are options for treatment during pregnancy, and to help prevent your baby from getting the infection.
For information and support
Aboriginal Sexual Health
Information about sexual health for Aboriginal women.
Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights
Information and resources on sexual and reproductive health.
Information about HIV/AIDS testing.
Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada
Information on sex, healthy sexuality, HIV/STIs, Consent, LGBTTQ+.
Information on sexual health.
Ontario Aboriginal HIV/AIDS Strategy
Your Local Public Health Department
Public health nurses provide information and support. Call Service Ontario: