Pregnancy diet: 7 foods you shouldn’t eat (and why)
Fact vs fiction: 7 foods to avoid if you’re having a baby.
Pregnancy diet: even if you're not really 'eating for two' there are special things you need to consider. In this time in particular, food becomes an important part of your life. But there are some foods that you need to give up or cut down on during pregnancy. This is due to bacteria or parasites which could harm mother and baby.
While you’re pregnant your immune system is altered. This means your body finds it harder to fight off infection. As with all diets, there are plenty of myths and advice around the internet, from friends or even total strangers, about what you should and shouldn’t be eating. The last thing you need when carrying a baby is stress about eating, so we’ve cleared up the foods to avoid once and for all:
Some eggs can be tainted with the bacterium salmonella, which can cause fever, sickness and diarrhoea. Stay clear of raw or undercooked eggs, or foods which contain them such as some mayonnaise and Caesar salad dressing. Eggs are not off the cards completely, however: maternal child health and nutrition specialist Madeleine Sigman-Grant, PhD, at the University of Nevada states: “If the eggs are cooked, the risk is gone.”
A common infection mothers-to-be should avoid is toxoplasmosis. And it can be found in unpasteurised goat or sheep milk and cheese. If you catch the infection during the early stages of your pregnancy it can cause serious health issues for your unborn baby.
Raw fish and shellfish
Stay away from the sushi bar when there’s a baby on board - raw fish and shellfish has potential to cause food poisoning. There are also some kinds of fish you should limit due to higher levels of mercury, such as tuna and oily fish. Smoked salmon is a grey area when pregnant, too. While the curing process destroys listeria bacteria, sometimes it isn’t heated high enough to kill it.
Raw meat and pâté
If you like your steaks pink and bloody, you’re best to stay clear of them for the next nine months. Meats that are piping hot and cooked throughout are safe to eat, however, you should stay away from liver as it contains high levels of retinol which may be damaging to your baby. Pâté can also contain listeria which can pass into the placenta, as well as cured meats such as Parma ham.
Unwashed fruit and vegetables
Toxoplasmosis can also be present on unwashed fruit and veg. If you’re not already in the habit of washing your salads or snacks such as apples, now is the time to start. Even if packet lettuce or spinach says ‘ready to eat’, washing it again will remove any potential traces of salmonella or E.coli. Unpasteurised juices should also be avoided. They will not have been through the process that kills bacteria and toxins.
It’s no surprise that alcohol is a no-no during pregnancy. It can seriously affect your baby’s development and lead to Fetal Alcohol Syndrome when your little one is born. Even moderate amounts can have long-lasting damage, so stay clear.
Sorry, coffee lovers. Caffeine should also be limited during those special nine months. High levels of caffeine can cause low weight in babies and could even cause a miscarriage. Limit your caffeine fix to no more than 200 mg a day.
Now that you have the list of the foods you should avoid, find out how you can also keep healthy with our workout for pregnancy suggestions.