Parents Helping Prevent LBW

Remember, both parents are responsible for a healthy pregnancy. If you are a mom reading this, take the time to show this web site to your partner. Low birth weight is a serious issue that both parents need to be aware of.





Make a conscious effort to eat healthy, get plenty of rest, avoid cigarette smoke & alcohol, and register for prenatal classes early in pregnancy. You will have a much better chance of delivering a healthy happy baby.


Women - Before a pregnancy

  • Strive for a healthy weight. Being underweight before pregnancy may lead to a higher risk of preterm birth and low birth weight. For more information about healthy weights before and during pregnancy, see Health Canada's Nutrition for a Healthy Pregnancy
  • Eat a healthy diet by following Canada's Food Guide to Healthy Eating
  • Include foods high in folic acid and iron
  • Be physically active
  • Be smoke free. Smoking can affect your ability to conceive and have a healthy baby. Consider this "In the developed world, maternal smoking is the principle cause of low birth weight" (Health Canada, Nutrition for a Healthy Pregnancy, 1999)
  • Avoid second-hand smoke
  • Learn how to manage stress
  • Remember, it is best to avoid drinking any alcohol when trying to get pregnant
  • Avoid using "street drugs"
  • Get a medical check-up, including a check for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) before trying to conceive and get treatment if needed. Encourage your partner to do the same. STIs can affect your ability to conceive and during pregnancy, may put you at a higher risk for preterm labour
  • Seek help if you are experiencing abuse in your relationship

If you would like to find out more about planning for a healthy baby, including information about immunizations, or prescription and over-the-counter medications, immunizations, etc., you can:


Women - During the pregnancy

  • Seek prenatal care early, as soon as the pregnancy is confirmed and keep regular appointments with your prenatal care provider
  • Consider attending early pregnancy classes - call the Public Health Info Line (PHIL) at 613-580-6744 for information about classes
  • Continue to eat according to Canada's Food Guide to Healthy Eating - talk to your prenatal care provider about your need for supplements, for example, folic acid and iron
  • Continue to be physically active, but don't push yourself beyond your comfort level For more information, visit the exercise and pregnancy page at
  • Avoid smoking and second-hand smoke
  • Avoid drinking alcohol - there is no known "safe" limit for alcohol use during pregnancy - A "mocktail" can be a safe and delicious alternative to alcohol
  • Check with your prenatal care provider before taking any over-the-counter medications
  • Check with your doctor before stopping any prescription medication
  • Avoid using "street drugs" (See: Centre for Addiction & Mental Health)
  • Be careful when using chemicals, such as household and garden products (See:
  • Talk to your supervisor/employer about a temporary change in duties (if needed)
  • Rest when you feel tired - try to get 8 hours sleep at night
  • Learn about the signs and symptoms of preterm labour and what to do if it happens to you
  • Set up a support network among family and friends and find out what resources are available in the community


The partner of a pregnant woman or a woman planning pregnancy

  • Support your partner's efforts to lead a healthy lifestyle by having a healthy lifestyle for yourself, i.e.
  • Ask others not to smoke around your pregnant partner
  • Go with her to early pregnancy classes
  • Be open to listening to her concerns
  • Learn about substances in the environment that could be harmful to a pregnancy - try to remove or minimize them
  • Be willing to share equally in household duties - be prepared that sometimes you may have to do more than your share
  • Learn about the signs and symptoms of preterm labour and what to do if it happens


Labour is easier when you have a small baby.
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