Staying Healthy in Pregnancy

Eating well, taking a multivitamin, and being physically active when trying to conceive, and during pregnancy, can help you and your baby be in good health. Read on to learn about what you can do to have a healthy pregnancy. 

Healthy eating and active living for pregnancy:

Eating for a healthy pregnancy 
Healthy food choices when you are trying to conceive and during pregnancy will help your baby grow and develop. Healthy eating will also help you:  
  • Feel better and give you more energy 

  • Gain a healthy amount of weight  

  • Prepare your body for breastfeeding 

  • Reduce the risk of health problems like gestational diabetes, high blood pressure and low iron 

  • Establish lasting healthy eating habits for you and your family 

Top tips from Canada's Food Guide:   

  • Eat three meals a day with healthy snacks in between  

  • Choose healthy foods most of the time by eating plenty of vegetables and fruits, choosing whole grain foods, lean proteins and choosing foods with healthy fats  

  • Choose protein foods that come from plants more often 
  • Be mindful of your eating habits, take time to eat and notice when you are hungry and when you are full 
  • Be aware that food marketing can influence your choices 
  • Be active every day by taking the stairs or short brisk walks 

How much should you eat?  

While trying to conceive and in the first 3 months or pregnancy, extra energy (calories) is not needed.  During the last 6 months of pregnancy, you need a little more food each day to support the growth and development of your baby. You can: 

  • Add an extra healthy snack (e.g. fruit and yogurt or whole grain crackers with peanut butter), and/or 

  • Add more to your meal (e.g. glass or milk or soy beverage at lunch and more grains or vegetables at dinner) 

Nausea and vomiting in pregnancy 

Nausea and vomiting are common in the first trimester. Eating small frequent meals and snacks every two hours can help you cope, but if you are feeling so sick that you miss meals or losing weight consult your doctor.  

For more information on healthy eating during pregnancy:   

Be food safe

Because of all the changes happening in your body, you and your unborn baby are at a higher risk of food poisoning. Your immune system is weakened, and your baby’s immune system is not developed enough to fight off the harmful bacteria. Some bacteria can cross the placenta, so if you become sick, there is an increased risk that your baby could get infected. Food poisoning can especially be dangerous during the first 3 months of pregnancy as it can cause miscarriage. if it happens later in pregnancy, it can cause your baby to be born prematurely. To keep you and your baby safe, it is important that you be careful about what you eat and how you store, prepare, and cook your food.

Safe food handling

Safe food handling is the key to avoiding infection and disease. Follow these tips:

  • Wash your hands with warm, soapy water before making meals and eating.
  • Cook all meats well.
  • Keep raw meats, poultry, fish and seafood separate from other food in the fridge.
  • Wash cooking utensils and food surfaces, both before and after preparing meals and raw meat.
  • Wash all fruits and vegetables well.
  • Make sure that hot foods are hot & cold foods are cold.
  • Keep raw meats and cooked foods separate.
What is listeriosis?

Listeriosis is a rare but serious disease. A type of bacteria called listeria causes this infection. Pregnant individuals are at a greater risk for it than other adults.

To reduce your risk of getting listeriosis, the Public Health Agency of Canada recommends that pregnant individuals avoid:

  • Raw fish such as sushi, clams, oysters and mussels.
  • Raw or undercooked meat, poultry and seafood.
  • Non-dried deli meats including cold cuts such as bologna, roast beef and turkey breast (unless heated until steaming hot).
  • Hot dogs straight from the package without heating.
  • Refrigerated pâtés, meat spreads.
  • Refrigerated smoked seafood and fish.
  • Raw or unpasteurized milk products and foods made from them (examples are: raw milk cheese, particularly soft or semi-soft cheeses including Camembert and Brie).
  • Unpasteurized juices, such as unpasteurized apple cider.
  • Raw or lightly cooked eggs or foods made with them (for example, homemade Caesar vinaigrette).
  • Raw sprouts, especially alfalfa sprouts.

What are the symptoms?

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Muscle aches
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Headache
  • Stiff neck
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea

Talk to your health care provider if you have the symptoms above.

What is toxoplasmosis?

Toxoplasmosis is an infection caused by a parasite. This parasite can be found in meat that is raw or not cooked enough, infected garden soil and infected cat feces. Infection normally only happens once in a lifetime.

Most pregnant individuals do not have signs and symptoms. For those that do the symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Muscle aches and pains
  • Sore throat
  • Fatigue

How can I reduce my risk?

  • Avoid changing the cat litter. Ask someone to do it for you. If you must change it, wear gloves and wash your hands after.
  • Always use gloves when gardening. Wash your hands after.
  • Cover sand boxes when not in use.
  • Follow safe food handling tips above.
Avoid Mercury

Health Canada recommends that pregnant individuals have at least 2 Canada's Food Guide servings of fish each week. Choose fish that are high in omega-3 fats and low in mercury. Mercury can be harmful to your baby's nervous system and general health.

You can continue to enjoy eating fish (PDF) if you choose carefully and eat many different types of fish

For more information on food safety:  

Folic acid and multi-vitamins 

Prenatal supplements help you and your baby get all the nutrients you need during pregnancy. Some supplements, like folic acid and iron, are necessary for a healthy pregnancy, but taking a vitamin supplement is not a substitute for eating a balanced diet.  

More is not better. Do not take higher doses of any supplement unless instructed by your health care provider. 

Folic acid 
If you could become pregnant, are planning a pregnancy or are pregnant, you need to start taking a multivitamin with 0.4 mg of folic acid every day starting at least 3 months before you get pregnant. If you have questions about which multivitamin is right for you, speak to your pharmacist or to your health care provider. 

Folic acid is a B vitamin, important for the development of your baby's brain and spinal cord. These develop in the first four weeks of pregnancy. Not getting enough folic acid can put your baby at higher risk of having a Neural Tube Defect (NTD). Neural tube defects affect the brain and spinal cord's development.  

In addition to taking a prenatal multivitamin with 0.4 mg of folic acid, you can eat foods that are good sources of folic acid such as: 

  • Green vegetables, e.g., spinach, asparagus, kale, broccoli, Brussel sprouts   

  • Salad greens, e.g., Romaine lettuce, endive, mustard greens  

  • Beets   

  • Beans, lentils, chickpeas, and split peas   

  • Avocado  

  • Sunflower seeds  

  • Peanut butter   

  • Breads and pasta made with enriched flour   

Some individuals need more folic acid than others. Talk to your health care provider about the amount of folic acid that is right for you. 

For more information on folic acid:   

Iron 

During pregnancy, you need more iron for many reasons. Iron is needed to support the increased amount of blood your body makes during pregnancy. It helps your baby to grow properly and support brain development. Babies also keep stores of iron that they get from their birth parent to use after they are born.  

Most multivitamins have iron. Health Canada recommends that pregnant individuals take a multivitamin that has 16-20 mg of iron. Some pregnant individuals need more iron than others do. Talk to your health care provider about the right amount of iron for you.  

In addition to taking a pre-natal multivitamin with 16 – 20 mg of iron, you can eat foods that are good sources of iron such as:  

  • Beef, chicken, pork, lamb  

  • Fish and seafood  

  • Eggs  

  • Tofu  

  • Beans, peas and lentils 

  • Dried fruit, e.g. figs, raisins, prunes, and apricots  

  • Cooked spinach, asparagus, beets, beet greens 

  • Enriched cereals, instant oatmeal and pasta  

  • Nuts and seeds  

Iron from animal foods is better absorbed by your body than from plant sources, but vitamin C can help your body absorb the iron from plant sources. Combine plant sources of iron with foods rich in Vitamin C such as: 

  • Red and green peppers 

  • Broccoli

  • Citrus fruits
  • Tomatoes  
  • Strawberries and kiwi  

For more information on iron:  

Calcium and vitamin D 

Calcium helps to build healthy bones and teeth for your baby and vitamin D helps your body absorb and use the calcium you eat. Getting enough calcium and vitamin D while pregnant helps to protect your bones from being depleted from calcium.  

Calcium and vitamin D needs are the same for pregnant and non-pregnant individuals. However, low levels of vitamin D and calcium are common during pregnancy. Your body can make vitamin D when you are in sunlight, but many factors can reduce how much vitamin D your body makes including season, time of day, and sunscreen use, to name a few. The Canadian Pediatric Society recommends talking to your doctor about taking a Vitamin D supplement of up to 2000 IU. This will help reduce your baby’s risk of vitamin D deficiency.  

Food sources of vitamin D include: 

  • Milk and soy beverage  

  • Margarine  

  • Fatty fish, e.g. salmon, trout, sardines  

  • Egg yolk  

Food sources of calcium include:  

  • Milk, yogurt, kefir and cheese  

  • Fortified soy beverages  

  • Tofu  

  • Sesame seeds  

  • Broccoli, Bok choy and kale  

  • Canned sardines and salmon with bones  

Talk to your health care provider about your need for a supplement with calcium and vitamin D.  

For more information on calcium and vitamin D:  

Healthy weight gain
A healthy weight is important for good health, but pregnancy is not a time to try and lose weight. It is, however, a good time to improve your eating habits. Eating well and gaining a healthy amount of weight throughout pregnancy can reduce your risk of developing gestational diabetes, high blood pressure and having a premature or a low-birth weight baby.  

What can you do to gain a healthy amount of weight? 

  • Be aware that food marketing can influence your choices 

  • Be active every day by taking the stairs or short brisk walks 

Concerned about your weight gain?  

If you are concerned about your weight, are on a restrictive diet or you have eliminated certain food groups from your diet (I.e. gluten, carbs, fats, dairy, meat, fruit, etc), you may not be getting all of the nutrients you need for yourself and your baby before and during the pregnancy.  Talk to a registered dietitian or other health care provider before getting pregnant if you have concerns about your weight, are dieting or follow a special diet. 

For more information on weight gain in pregnancy: 

Physical activity 

Physical activity is part of a healthy lifestyle. Being active is beneficial and safe if you are trying to conceive, and if you are already pregnant. It’s never too late to get started.

Benefits of being active: 

  • Before pregnancy, can help lower stress and increase fertility which increases your chance of having a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby.  

  • Can give you more energy and help you feel good about yourself.  

  • Can reduce the risk of pregnancy-related illnesses such as depression and the risk of developing gestational diabetes, high blood pressure and preeclampsia.  

Getting started 

  • Aim for 150 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity each week.  

  • If you are just starting out, begin with activities like walking. Even 10 minutes a day will help. Gradually increase this time to at least 150 minutes each week and be active a minimum of three days a week.   

  • Moderate activity is safe for most pregnant individuals, but there are some situations where exercise is not recommended.  

  • Pelvic floor muscle training using proper technique (e.g. Kegel exercises) can be practiced daily to reduce the risk of urinary incontinence.  

  • If you were not active before becoming pregnant, you can slowly start incorporating more physical activity in your day at any time in pregnancy. 

For more information on physical activity in pregnancy:  

Be mindful of your caffeine intake 

Caffeine passes to your baby through the placenta and in excess, it may be linked to negative effects on the pregnancy and your baby's development. It can also affect you and your baby's sleep.   

Small amounts of caffeine are generally safe for baby. Limit your amount of caffeine to no more than 300 mg a day. This means no more than 500 mL (2 cups) of coffee per day. Be aware that caffeine is also found in many other foods and drinks that you may consume on a regular basis like tea, chocolate, and cola drinks. 

For more information on caffeine in pregnancy: 

Herbal products and teas that are safe, and what to avoid  

Herbal products in tablet, capsule or extract forms are not recommended while you are pregnant. Very little is known about the safety of many herbal products during pregnancy, which is why it is best to avoid them.   

You may look for herbal teas to limit your caffeine intake during pregnancy. However, some teas are unsafe during pregnancy because of potential adverse effects on pregnancy and the baby.   

These herbal teas are considered safe if taken in moderation (two to three cups per day):   

  • Citrus peel / orange peel   

  • Ginger   

  • Lemon balm   

  • Linden flower (not recommended for persons with pre-existing cardiac conditions)   

  • Rose hip   

Avoid teas with:   

  • Aloe   

  • Buckthorn bark   

  • Chamomile   

  • Coltsfoot   

  • Comfrey   

  • Duck roots   

  • Juniper berries   

  • Labrador tea   

  • Lobelia   

  • Pennyroyal   

  • Sassafras   

  • Senna leaves  

Reduce your baby’s risk of developing food allergies  

You do not need to avoid allergens during pregnancy or breastfeeding (unless you have a known allergy yourself). In fact, even if your baby is at high risk for developing food allergies, your best advice is to continue eating these foods, if possible. If you decide to avoid certain foods while pregnant or breastfeeding, speak with a Registered Dietitian or your health care provider to make sure you are getting all the nutrients you and your baby need.   

For more information on preventing food allergies see:   

Safety during pregnancy:

Alcohol, tobacco, cannabis and medications
Alcohol

Last revised: December 5, 2023

The safest choice is to not consume any alcohol once you have decided to try to get pregnant and when you are pregnant. Alcohol crosses the placenta and can affect the baby's fast-growing tissues.

Please consult your health care provider to have your health and the health of your baby assessed if you are continuing to drink alcohol during pregnancy or were consuming alcohol without realizing you were pregnant.

It is never too late to reduce or stop drinking during pregnancy.

Did you know?

  • No kind of alcohol is safer than another. A 12oz bottle of beer has the same amount of alcohol as a 5oz glass of wine and one shot (1.5oz) of liquor.
  • Alcohol levels that are not considered dangerous to the birthing parent can still affect the growth and development of the baby.
  • If you drink regularly, or binge drink (drink a lot at one time), your baby is at higher risk for problems.

What is Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder?

Drinking alcohol when you are pregnant can put your baby at increased risk of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). FASD is the name used to describe a group of birth defects and development problems that can affect babies of birthing parents who drink alcohol during pregnancy. FASD lasts a lifetime.

If you consume alcohol and want more information or need help to reduce your consumption, you can: 

For more information on resources, programming and treatment on mental health and substance use health (Ottawa Public Health)

For additional information visit: Canada’s Guidance on Alcohol and Health, Public Summary: Drinking Less Is Better (Infographic) (The Canadian Center on Substance use and Addiction (CCSA)) 

Tobacco

The placenta joins parent and baby. It takes food and oxygen from the parent's blood to feed the baby.

When a pregnant individual smokes or breathes in second-hand smoke:

  • Their risk of miscarriage is higher.
  • Their placenta does not work as well as it should.
  • Their baby gets less food and oxygen.
  • Their baby does not grow as well as it should.
  • Their baby is at higher risk of being born too early.
  • Their baby is at higher risk for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
  • Their baby gets nicotine from the cigarette.

What can you do to protect yourself and your unborn baby?

Make your home and car smoke-free. Ask others to go outside and not to smoke around you or your children.

Babies and children who live in a smoke-free home have fewer breathing problems and ear and lung infections.

What if you are pregnant and smoke?

Try to quit or cut down your smoking. If you are thinking about quitting smoking, remember:

What about partners who smoke?

Support your partner when they try to quit. Don't smoke around them. Be a good example - children of non-smokers are less likely to become smokers.

Encourage other family members who smoke to not smoke around the pregnant individual or the new baby.

Cannabis

Last revised: December 7, 2023

How can cannabis affect unborn babies?

Cannabis is a plant that has hundreds of chemicals. Some of these chemicals are called cannabinoids, like THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). THC is psychoactive, meaning it affects the way you think, act and feel. No matter how cannabis is used, THC can pass through the placenta to your developing baby.

Current research indicates that there is no safe amount or safe time to use cannabis during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. The safest choice is to not use cannabis once you decide to get pregnant and once you are pregnant.

Using cannabis while you are pregnant can result in:

  • Low birth weight, meaning babies are born too small for their gestational age. Low birth weight babies can have health problems as they grow. 
  • Babies may not sleep well and may be fussier.
  • Children may have problems with behavior, learning, memory and mental health as they grow up.

What if you are pregnant and smoke cannabis?

The safest choice is to not use cannabis once you decide to get pregnant and once you are pregnant.

Burning cannabis and rolling papers produces smoke that has the same harmful chemicals and carcinogens as the smoke caused by burning cigarettes. These harmful chemicals are made by the process of burning and are not found in the cannabis plant.

To protect yourself and your baby from second-hand smoke, ask your partner, family and friends to not to smoke cannabis around you or your children. You can also encourage your partner, family and friends to use lower risk ways, like cannabis products you can eat, such as oils, capsules or edibles rather than smoking to protect your lungs. Start with the least amount of THC possible and be aware the effects are delayed.

Nausea and vomiting

Individuals who have nausea and vomiting during pregnancy should talk with their health care provider about safe treatment options. Due to the potential harm of using cannabis during pregnancy it is not recommended for those who are pregnant to self-medicate with cannabis to treat morning sickness.

If you consume cannabis and need help to reduce your consumption or would like help quitting, you can:

For more information:

Medications

Almost all medications, drugs and herbal products go to the placenta. Many are not safe to take when you are pregnant including some herbal teas.

If you are pregnant or planning to get pregnant, talk to your doctor or pharmacist:

  • About any medications (over-the-counter, prescription) and herbal products you are taking.
  • Before taking any medications or herbal products.
  • Before stopping any prescription medications.

What should I ask my doctor about medications ordered for me?

  • Do I really need this medication?
  • Are there any risks to my baby?
  • What are the risks to me if I don't take the medication?
  • Is there a safer medication?

Remember that over-the-counter medications like antacids, laxatives, and headache pills are also drugs. If you have any questions about taking medications when you are pregnant:

  • Talk to your doctor
Communicable diseases and pregnancy

Some diseases can cause problems for the growing baby. Call your health care provider if you think that you were in contact with any of these diseases:

  • Rubella (German measles)
  • Chickenpox
  • Mumps
  • Measles
  • Cytomegalovirus (CMV)
  • Parvovirus (Fifth disease)

 Who is at a higher risk?

  • People who work with children. 
  • Health care workers.
  • People who work in labs or with animals.
  • People who travel. Updated travel health notices are available on the Public Health Agency of Canada website.
  • People with young children.

How to protect yourself?

  • Proper hand washing.
  • Make sure your vaccinations are up-to-date before you get pregnant. If they are not, speak to your health care provider.
  • Ask your health care provider for a blood test that can tell you if you have protection from rubella before you are pregnant.
  • Wait at least 4 weeks after a vaccination for chickenpox and rubella before getting pregnant.
  • Some vaccines are not recommended for use during pregnancy. If you are planning a pregnancy, speak to your health care professional before getting the vaccine.
  • Some vaccines that are safe to have when you are pregnant:

    • Influenza Vaccine (flu shot): influenza is a respiratory infection caused by the influenza virus. Pregnant people are at greater risk of influenza related complications. Receiving the influenza vaccine helps protect pregnant people and their newborns from influenza including hospitalization and death and poor pregnancy outcomes such as preterm birth.
    • COVID-19 Vaccine: COVID-19 is a virus caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV2). Pregnant people are at greater risk of complications related to COVID-19 including hospitalization and death. COVID-19 during pregnancy can also affect newborns increasing the risk of stillbirth, preterm birth, and low birth weight, for example. Receiving the COVID-19 vaccine is highly recommended during pregnancy and can help protect pregnant people and their baby against COVID-19.
    • Tetanus, Diphtheria and Pertussis (Tdap) Vaccine: as of April 1, 2022, pregnant people are eligible and recommended to receive the Tdap vaccine in every pregnancy. Pertussis (whooping cough) is an infection caused by the bacteria pertussis. Infants are especially at risk prior to when they are able to receive a complete pertussis vaccine series. Pertussis can lead to complications in infants, including hospitalization and death. The Tdap vaccine helps protect pregnant people and their baby as protective antibodies are transferred via the placenta during pregnancy. For more information about the Tdap vaccine see the Ministry of Health Tdap Vaccine Information Sheet.
Working when you are pregnant

Many pregnant individuals continue to work during their pregnancy. These tips can help when you're back in the office. Talk to your health care provider to see if there is anything you should not be doing at work.

Sitting, standing and lifting

Many work spaces require standing or sitting for long periods, or lifting and carrying objects. These activities can be hard when you are pregnant . Your center of gravity changes because of the extra weight of the baby and the placenta. The extra weight puts a strain on your body, especially on the muscles and tendons in your back and neck.

If you sit a lot at work:

  • Bring in a footstool and put your feet up.
  • Get up from your chair every hour or two and walk around.
  • Try things like standing up while talking on the phone, or stretching your muscles before you get up from your chair.
  • Rotate tasks (sitting, walking, standing) whenever possible.

If you stand a lot at work:

Long periods of standing and strenuous work during pregnancy increase the risk of your baby being born too soon or too small.

  • Take breaks to relax your muscles and sit down during breaks.
  • If you must stand in one place, move your weight from foot to foot.
  • Walk when you have the chance.
  • Bring a stool to work and put up one foot if you must stand in one spot for a while.

If you have to do lifting, pulling or carrying at work:

  • Lower the amount that you could lift before pregnancy.
  • Use proper lifting techniques by bending your knees and keeping your back straight .
  • Do not hold your breath while lifting.
  • Lift heavy loads with someone else or use a forklift if possible.
  • Don't do any twisting movements while lifting.

Health hazards to expectant parents and unborn children

Some workplace conditions may be harmful to:

  • Pregnant individuals and their unborn child.
  • Reproductive health. These conditions can lower the chances of getting pregnant.

Ask your health care provider for advice if you are exposed to any of the following chemical, biological and physical hazards in your workplace. In most cases, changes to your work are enough to lower the risks.

Chemical Hazards

  • Heavy metals (lead, mercury, cadmium) .
  • Agricultural chemicals such as pesticides and insecticides.
  • Polyhalogenated biphenyls.
  • Organic solvents.
  • Ethylene dibromide and ethylene oxide.
  • Formaldehyde.

Make sure you carefully read labels before using or buying products.

Physical Hazards

  • Ionizing radiation (alpha, beta and gamma radiation, x-rays) .
  • Excessive noise (may cause hearing loss to either you or your baby).
  • Extremes of either hot or cold.
  • Long work hours.
  • Standing for long periods.
  • Lifting, pulling or carrying.
  • Vibration.

Protect your health and the health of your baby

If you are concerned about your health, and the health of your baby, talk to your employer. You may need a change in assignment, or a change in your work area and responsibilities. Speak to your occupational health nurse, human resources staff, or occupational health and safety representative about your concerns or to answer any questions you have.

By law, employers need to change or adjust job duties as needed to protect workers, pregnant individuals and unborn children. For more information on your rights visit the Ontario Human Rights Commission .

Abuse in pregnancy

Abuse can happen to anyone. About 40% of abused women in Canada say they were first assaulted during pregnancy. It usually gets worse over time. Abuse is not your fault! All kinds of abuse can hurt you. No one deserves to be hurt. Get help right away.

What is emotional abuse?

Abuse is emotional when your partner:

  • Puts you down
  • Swears at you
  • Acts jealous
  • Blames you for being pregnant
  • Breaks your things
  • Threatens to hurt you
  • Doesn't let you see your friends or family
  • Doesn't let you leave the house or do outside activities
  • Keeps you from seeing your health care provider
  • Controls the money
  • Uses violent words or actions to scare you
  • Hurts or kills your pets

What are the signs of physical abuse?

Abuse is physical when your partner:

  • Pushes, punches, or throws you
  • Hits or kicks you
  • Does anything that can or does physically harm you

What is sexual abuse?

Abuse is sexual when your partner:

  • Insults you sexually
  • Says things that make you feel bad about your body
  • Forces you to have sex
  • Makes you do sexual acts that you do not want to do

The effects of abuse on you

Abused individuals can have both emotional and physical effects including:

  • Sadness 
  • Loneliness
  • Anxiety 
  • Depression
  • Feeling bad about themselves 
  • An increased use of drugs, including alcohol and tobacco
  • Trouble sleeping and decreased appetite

What are the effects of abuse on your pregnancy?

Abuse during pregnancy can cause direct or indirect injury to your baby. It can cause your baby to:

  • Be born too small or too early
  • Have injuries or infections
  • Have health problems later in life
  • Be at higher risk of being abused after they are born

What can you do?

  • Talk to someone you trust about what is going on:

    • Friends and family
    • Your health care provider
    • Women's shelter or support line
    • Your prenatal teacher
    • Public health nurse
  • If possible, have an emergency escape plan
  • Get help to leave the abusive relationship

Where can you get help?

You are not alone! There is help.

  • Assaulted individuals's Helpline 1-866-863-0511
  • Gloucester Services for Abused individuals 613-745-4818
  • Shelters for Abused individuals - 24 hours service

    • Provides temporary shelter for abused individuals and their children

      • Interval House of Ottawa-Carleton 613-234-5181
      • La Présence 613-241-8297
      • Maison d'amitié 613-747-0020
      • Nelson House 613-225-0533

Want to speak with a Registered Dietitian? 
Call Health811 and ask to speak with a Registered Dietitian. Available Monday-Friday 9am-5pm by calling 8-1-1 (TTY: 1-866-797-0007) or starting a chat.

Do you have more questions about parenting?

  • Connect with a registered nurse from Health811 for free, secure, and confidential health advice. Service is available 24/7 in English and French, with translation support also offered in other languages. Call 8-1-1 or visit Health811.ontario.ca.
  • Connect with a Community Navigator from 2-1-1 for information about community programs and resources across Eastern Ontario. Helpline service is available 24/7 and in many different languages. Call 2-1-1 or visit 211ontario.ca.
  • Connect with other parents on the Parenting in Ottawa Facebook page.
  • There are a variety of services to make it easier for your child to grow up healthy in Ottawa.
  • You can update your child's immunization record using either the CANImmunize App or the Immunization Connect Ontario (ICON) Tool
  • If you have received a message from Ottawa Public Health such as a letter or a call regarding immunization, an infectious disease, or infection control lapse, please call 613-580-6744 and listen to the menu options carefully.

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