Pregnancy can be a confusing time with conflicting advice from all those around you as well as health professionals. Something that everyone will agree on is that you need to be extra careful in terms of the safety of your food.There are some foods you should avoid during pregnancy as they can cause illness that could affect your unborn baby.
Thankfully you won’t need to cut eggs out altogether. Raw or lightly cooked eggs however should be avoided. When cooking eggs make sure to cook them until both the yolk and egg white are solid. This will destroy any salmonella bacteria that could be present in your egg.
Milk and Dairy Products
Unpasteurised milk and dairy products, including soft cheese e.g. camembert, brie and blue-veined ‘roquefort’ cheese often carry a bacteria called Listeriosis which your body becomes very susceptible to during pregnancy. Avoid any unpasteurised products during this special time of your life.
You don’t need to cut out caffeine completely just because you are pregnant. You should however make sure that you don’t drink more than three cups of caffeine containing drinks per week (coffee, tea, cola, and energy drinks). Caffeine is a stimulant drug that has been linked to miscarriage and low birth weight in large amounts. It’s also a diuretic, which causes dehydration.
Raw or undercooked meat, poultry, need to be avoided during pregnancy. Meats that are ‘smoked’ or ‘cured’ are also unsuitable, unless they are fully cooked before eating.
Some fish are high in mercury e.g. shark and swordfish and should be avoided or limited in pregnancy. Tuna intake should be limited to a maximum of 2 cans a week.
Liver contains vitamin A levels that exceed those recommended for pregnant women. You should avoid it and its products e.g. paté and fish liver oils.
To reduce your risk of food borne illness (which becomes even more dangerous when you’re pregnant), wash all fresh fruits and vegetables before using them. Wash your hands frequently and be sure to clean thoroughly with warm soapy water all utensils, countertops or cutting boards that have been in contact with uncooked meats. These simple precautions can make a huge difference to how you feel while you are pregnant and reduce some serious complications.
Our last advice is this: Enjoy your pregnancy! It is a unique experience causing a miraculous changed to your body. Enjoy the ride, however challenging it may be.