Some women think you should eat a lot more when you’re pregnant, and that the more weight you gain the better for your baby. But this is not true — most Cree women need to gain only 15 lbs. to have a healthy baby. Thinner women and teenagers may need to gain around 25 lbs., or sometimes more if they are very thin.

When you’re pregnant, you don’t need to eat a lot more food, but you should make sure you’re eating the right foods. Even if you are taking vitamin supplements, you must eat foods from the four food groups. They are: (I) bannock, bread and cereals, (2) berries, vegetables and fruits, (3) milk and dairy (also fish broth and bones), and (4) meat and meat substitutes (peanut butter, eggs, beans). This will help you gain enough weight for the baby to develop, grow and be healthy. But… pregnancy should be a wonderful experience, so don’t deny yourself of your favourite foods completely – enjoy them once in a while and feel good about it!

Another concern for pregnant women is diabetes. Why do some women get diabetes when they’re pregnant? Diabetes happens when the sugar level in your blood is too high. Most food is changed into sugar in our stomachs and guts, and passes from there into the blood. During pregnancy, your body goes through many changes and some of these can upset the way sugar is used.

You are more likely to be diabetic during your pregnancy if: you are overweight before you get pregnant; other people in your family have diabetes; you are over 30.

It also depends on the foods you eat. Your chances of getting diabetes can be lowered by keeping active while pregnant, and cutting back on fatty foods like fried foods, hot dogs, chips and soft drinks.

Don’t worry too much if you have diabetes when you are pregnant — it doesn’t necessarily mean you will have it for the rest of your life. Right after your baby is born, your blood sugar will probably return to normal, but don’t kid yourself: it’s important for you to lose the extra weight and keep eating right — for yourself. Your baby will most likely be born healthy, but the both of you will have a higher chance of getting diabetes later in life. So take care of yourself and your little ones – eat well, be active, make healthy choices and enjoy life!

Thanks to Elizabeth Robinson and Lucie Leclerc of the Cree Health Board for helpingwith this article.