Pregnancy is one of the most special moments in a mum-to-be’s life. It is filled with excitement, joy, and anticipation about meeting their new little one. But let’s face it, pregnancy can also be a stressful time thanks to the do’s and don’ts all meant to keep your baby safe and healthy. One area that can cause a lot of confusion is what not to eat during pregnancy. Yes, there is a list of foods women should avoid when pregnant, but for first-time mums in particular it can be hard to keep track of what’s okay to eat and what isn’t.
We’ve gone ahead and created a complete guide on what not to eat during pregnancy that you can refer to throughout. This will make meal planning a breeze, allowing you to focus on other things.
Some Fish May Not Make the "Safe" List
Fish is a wonderful dietary option for just about anyone, as it is loaded with healthy vitamins and nutrients. With that said, some types should be avoided during pregnancy, as they can pose a risk of listeria, which is dangerous for the baby.
A few types of fish to avoid during pregnancy include:
- Raw shellfish
- Cured fish
- Cold smoked fish
If you're craving fish make sure to practice moderation and pick ones that are low in mercury but contain high levels of Omega-3 fatty acids. Some great examples of this type of fish are sardines, salmon, and freshwater trout. So what's considered a safe amount of fish to consume? Experts suggest no more than two portions of oily fish per week.
Meat Carries a Few Precautions
For meat lovers out there, the good news is that there are plenty of options that are safe to eat when pregnant. Consuming lean meat during pregnancy acts as a healthy source of high-quality protein. If you need a boost in vitamin B and iron, then pork and beef are great choices.
So what meat should be avoided? Cured meats can be tricky as they need to be cooked thoroughly. This includes items like prosciutto, pepperoni, and salami. Game meat is a category that should be avoided entirely when pregnant.
One final tip regarding meat is to ensure you cook it well. This means the juices run clear and the meat is no longer pink.
Unpasteurised Dairy Is a No-Go
Dairy is something that people often consume daily. Things such as cheese, cream, yoghurt, ice cream, and milk are all delicious items. The good news is that you don't need to give up dairy, rather you need to ensure you pick pasteurised items.
Some examples of dairy that should be avoided include:
- Unpasteurised sheep's, cow's, or goat's cream or milk
- Soft blue cheese whether pasteurised or not
- Soft-ripened goat cheese made from unpasteurised milk
- Mould-ripened soft cheese whether pasteurised or not
Craving cheese but you aren't sure what is considered safe? Always reach for pasteurised or unpasteurised hard cheeses like parmesan or cheddar. Even pasteurised semi-hard cheeses are generally safe to eat when pregnant.
What About Fruits and Vegetables
The good news is that in the categories of fruits and vegetables, you are pretty much free to eat whatever you like, with one big caveat. Everything needs to be thoroughly rinsed before eating them. So take the extra time to rinse items well, and spend longer than you may think is necessary doing so.
For added doses of vitamins, nutrients, and minerals some great choices include:
- Sweet potatoes
Is Every Drink Considered Okay?
This guide has focused mainly on food, but there are some drinks you should avoid too. Many women are under the impression that caffeine is off limits, but in reality, it's about restricting the intake. Generally speaking, you can have up to 200mg per day of caffeine as long as you and your baby are both healthy.
Too much caffeine can increase the risk of certain health issues with the baby such as low birthweight, complications, and miscarriage so when in doubt - speak to your GP first about whether you can have caffeine. If caffeine is something you can give up during pregnancy, then that’s the most cautious option.
Then there are alcoholic beverages, which shouldn't be consumed in any quantity during pregnancy. Alcohol can pose a risk to your baby's health, so avoiding it completely is advised.