Foods to avoid when pregnant – the bad and the ugly
During pregnancy you are advised not to eat:
Mould-ripened soft cheese
Mould-ripened soft cheese, goats’ cheese and blue cheese, unless they are thoroughly cooked. However, you can eat soft cheese made from pasteurised milk such as cottage cheese, mozarella, feta, halloumi, panner, ricotta and cheese spreads.
Eggs that are uncooked or undercooked; all eggs should be cooked until the yolk and whites are solid. Avoid products made with raw eggs like mousse and mayonnaise but those made with cooked, pasteurised eggs are fine.
Milk that is raw (unpasteurised). Only drink pasteurised or long-life milk. Avoid ice cream made with raw eggs.
Paté, as it can contain listeria.
Raw or undercooked meat
Raw or undercooked meat; cook all meat until there is no blood or pink showing and cook port products especially well. Avoid raw, cured meats such as salami as they can also contain the toxoplasmosis virus, though freezing it for four days can kill the virus as can cooking.
Liver, as it contains too much Vitamin A for your baby.
Vitamin supplements that can give you too much vitamin A. Some high-dose vitamins are not recommended, including fish liver oil supplements
Fish such as tuna, shark and marlin that may contain high levels of mercury. Most other fish is recommended during pregnancy. Eat only two portions of oily fish per week, including tuna and don’t eat more than two tuna steaks or four cans of tuna per week.
Shellfish should be cooked – avoid raw shellfish like oysters. Sushi is fine if the fish has been pre-frozen or has been farmed. If in any doubt about how the fish has been handled though, avoid it.
You can drink one or two cups of instant or filter coffee per day but avoid too much caffeine, which can also be found in tea, chocolate and cola.
Though the guidelines on how much is ‘safe’ continue to change and cause headlines, most health professionals agree that one or two drinks per week will not be harmful. However, the guidelines are based on drinking wine and don’t take other drinks into account and the definition of a ‘glass’ can be confusing. The simplest advice seems to be not to drink alcohol during pregnancy.
You may have heard that some people, the French in particular, don’t understand why British women are told to avoid things like soft cheese. The guidelines are designed to avoid your contracting illnesses that could cause problems for you and your baby.
It’s because certain foods can harbour the listeria bacteria. If you contract listeria during pregnancy, even a mild case can lead to miscarriage, still birth and severe illness in a newborn baby.
Salmonella can be contracted from undercooked or raw eggs, which can cause a bad bout of vomiting and diarrhoea.
Undercooked meat, especially pork products, can cause Toxoplasmosis which can cause blindness in babies. It can also be caught from animal faeces, so avoid handling cat litter or dog faeces during pregnancy. Wash your hands very thoroughly after handling raw meat.
Too much caffeine can cause low birth weight in babies.
Want to know what vitamins and supplements you need during pregnancy? Read our helpful article here
And click here to find a list of some of the best pregnancy supplements