Concerned about what NOT to eat while pregnant? Read on for our tips on foods to avoid during pregnancy
Fresh fruit and veggies are full of important prenatal vitamins and positive nutrients – but wash them carefully to remove any traces of chemicals and bacteria. Even organic and home-grown vegetables should be washed to get rid of any soil, which can contain a parasite known as ‘toxoplasma gondii’ which can cause ‘toxoplasmosis’, a serious condition which can lead to miscarriage and health problems for your baby.
Soft, unpasteurised cheeses, such as goat’s cheese, brie, camembert, feta and blue cheeses can contain listeria – harmful bacteria that causes listeriosis which can result in miscarriage. Unpasteurised milk should also be avoided.
Hard cheeses such as cheddar or processed cheeses are all fine to eat and a good source of calcium.
Pâté is another potential source of listeria so it’s best to avoid all commercially produced pate. So why not make your own? Check out our Mushroom Pate recipe! It’s simple, quick and full of prenatal vitamins including zinc.
Raw or partially cooked eggs can contain salmonella, which causes a type of food poisoning. Whilst it’s unlikely to directly harm your baby it can make you ill –which is not a good outcome. Only eat eggs that have been thoroughly cooked and avoid foods that may contain raw or partially-cooked eggs – such as homemade mayonnaise, mousse or ice creams. Most shop-bought mayonnaise and ice-creams contain pasteurised egg, which is fine.
Raw or undercooked meat or fish– Salmonella can also be found in undercooked meats and poultry and food that has been left uncovered in a warm environment.
Some types of fish can contain mercury, which at high levels might affect the development of your baby’s nervous system. Avoid shark, swordfish and marlin, and limit your intake of tuna to minimise the toxicity risk – although all other types of fish, especially oily fish, are full of essential nutrients and omega oils so should be part of your regular weekly diet.
Raw shellfish and seafood should be avoided as they can contain bacteria called ‘vibro vulnificus’ -which is not good! No more oysters or fresh sushi! However, smoking, freezing, salting or pickling will destroy the bacteria and well-cooked shellfish is fine to eat.
Alcohol Heavy drinking during pregnancy can harm your baby and there’s evidence that it’s associated with birth defects and lower birth weight. Behaviour problems, learning disabilities and hyperactivity have all been linked to drinking in pregnancy – as well as low birth weight and foetal alcohol syndrome.