Alcohol and Pregnancy

Drinking alcohol when you are pregnant can affect your baby.

Alcohol includes beer, wine, coolers, and hard liquor.

Alcohol can affect the brain, spinal cord, and organs (e.g., heart) of your baby. It can have many impacts.

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder

Baby’s Growth and Development

From the time your baby is conceived, your baby begins to grow and develop.

Your body will also go through a lot of changes in the next 9 months.

There are certain important periods of development that your baby will go through during pregnancy.

It is important that you are aware of these changes and how you can be prepared for them.

Click on each pdf below to learn more.

Complications During Pregnancy

Any of the following symptoms might be signs of something serious.

  • Severe nausea and vomiting
  • Fever
  • Bleeding

  • Swelling in the feet or hands, vision problems, high blood pressure, and headache
  • Unusual contractions (before 37 weeks)
  • Heavy vaginal discharge and itching
  • Worsening of previous chronic health conditions (e.g., asthma, diabetes, epilepsy)

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you may need immediate medical care.

Contact your healthcare providers or call HealthLine (811) for support and information.

Getting Ready for Baby

This section covers topics that are important throughout your pregnancy and as you prepare for delivery. The more prepared you are today, the easier your transition will be to being a parent.

The following topics are covered in this section:

  • Becoming a Parent
  • Child Care and Support
  • Feeding your Baby
  • Labour and Delivery
  • Loving Care
  • Maternal Mental Health
  • Employment Insurance (EI) Maternity and Parental Benefits
  • Safety
  • Sex After Pregnancy
  • Sleeping for You and Your Baby
  • Supplies
  • Tobacco Smoke Exposure

Healthcare Providers

Healthcare providers are there to care for you and your baby during your pregnancy. Healthcare providers can include doctors, midwives, or nurse practitioners.

Doulas can support you as well. They can provide physical and emotional support, as well as information throughout your pregnancy. However, doulas are not healthcare providers and are not able to help you deliver your baby.

If you have a doula, you still need to see a healthcare provider for the health of you and your baby.

During your first visit, your healthcare provider will ask about your health and lifestyle, find out your due date, advise on how to have a healthy baby, and recommend some medical tests.

You can also prepare to ask your healthcare provider questions during your visit. Take your time and ask as many questions as you need to.

Medical Tests

Your healthcare provider will recommend certain tests during pregnancy to check on your health and the health of your baby. These tests are safe for both of you. Your first tests during pregnancy will be done in your first trimester. Tests in the first trimester include a pregnancy test, a physical exam, blood tests, and a urine test.

Your healthcare provider may also order additional blood tests at any time during pregnancy. They will want to make sure that you are protected from certain diseases. If you are not protected, you may need to get a vaccination. They will also want to check for sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV. These need to be treated for your health and to protect your baby.

Some tests are optional, such as the genetic testing. These tests look at the chances that your baby may have certain conditions, like Down syndrome. You do not have to have these tests. If you want more information, talk to your healthcare provider.


Mental Health

When you are pregnant, you will have many feelings. You may be worried or sad. Talk to someone you trust about the way you feel.

Your feelings and moods may change quickly during pregnancy. This is normal.

However, you should talk to your healthcare provider if:

  • you feel down, sad, or worried for longer than seven days
  • you don’t feel happy doing the things that used to make you happy
  • you are seeing or hearing things that are not there
  • you are thinking of hurting yourself

Don’t be afraid to talk to your healthcare provider. Mental health concerns are normal. Your healthcare provider will help you develop a plan to spot early warning signs and refer you to appropriate supports.

Ongoing Healthcare

During pregnancy, don’t forget to see your healthcare providers for ongoing concerns, like chronic illnesses.

If you are pregnant and have been previously diagnosed with a chronic illness like asthma, diabetes, epilepsy, or HIV, talk to your healthcare providers to help manage your health and medications.

During pregnancy, your healthcare providers may need to see you often. Your medications may also need to be changed.

Oral Health

Oral health is very important during pregnancy. Oral health means the health of your gums, teeth, and jaw. Good oral health during pregnancy is good for the overall health of both you and your baby.

Your hormones change during pregnancy, putting you at risk for oral health diseases.

Morning sickness can also hurt your oral health. Vomit has acid in it. Acid can wear down the outside layer (enamel) of your teeth. This can cause cavities. Rinsing your mouth with water after you vomit can help.

Physical Activity

Being physically active during pregnancy is good for you and your baby.

Physical activity can help with the following:

  • Increase feelings of happiness
  • Decrease stress
  • Increase energy
  • Improve sleep
  • Decrease constipation
  • Decrease swelling in your feet, legs, and hands
  • Maintain a healthier weight
  • Speed up recovery after labour

During pregnancy, some types of exercise are safe while others are not safe. Talk to your healthcare providers for more information.

Sex During Pregnancy

It is usually safe to have sex during pregnancy.

In certain situations, your healthcare providers may tell you that it is not safe to have sex while you are pregnant.

As your pregnancy progresses, you may find that certain positions are uncomfortable.

Talk to your partner and together experiment until you are both comfortable.

Your feelings and desire for sex may also change during pregnancy. Talk with your partner about the way you feel and your needs.

If sex is painful, discuss with your healthcare providers.


Smoking tobacco while you are pregnant can affect the health of you and your baby. When someone else smokes around you, you also breathe in harmful chemicals.

There are more than 4,000 harmful chemicals in tobacco smoke. These chemicals stay in the air for a while. They also stay on surfaces around your house and on your hair and clothes. These chemicals can be passed on to your baby and have many impacts.

The safety of e-cigarettes in pregnancy is not known. It is recommended that pregnant people and those planning to become pregnant avoid using e-cigarettes.

There are supports available to help you quit smoking. Speak to your healthcare providers to help you quit.

Street Drug Use

Weight Gain During Pregnancy

Working During Pregnancy