When you’re pregnant, especially for the first time, it can be a bit daunting because there are so many things to bear in mind in order to keep you and your baby safe throughout your pregnancy. One of the most important things to be careful about is the types of food you’re eating. A lot of foods are unsuitable for pregnant women because they may harbour bacteria that can cause potentially life threatening infections.
So here are some foods that you should steer clear of when you’re expecting:
Salmonella can be found in raw eggs so ensure that you eat only well-cooked ones. Don’t forget that many foods contain raw egg including some types of mayonnaise, hollandaise, Caesar salads and those tempting cookie batters that you make. Resist the urge to lick the spoon to reduce the risk of contracting salmonella.
Some types of fish including shark, orange roughy, swordfish, marlin and southern blue fin tuna contain high levels of mercury so pregnant women should avoid eating these types of fish to avoid neurological damage to the baby. It’s not known how much of these types of fish one would have to consume to cause damage to the baby’s nervous system, but to be safe avoid them completely. Raw shellfish should also be avoided because they can contain harmful bacteria that can cause food poisoning and listeria.
Raw or undercooked meat
Toxoplasmosis is an infection caused by a parasite found in meat (as well as in cat poo, soil and untreated water) so ensure that the meat you’re eating is cooked thoroughly and there is no trace of pink meat or blood. Remember to wash your hands thoroughly after handling raw meat too.
Soft cheeses and pate
Soft cheeses such as brie, camembert, feta, cottage, ricotta and blue should be avoided because they may contain the harmful bacteria Listeria. Any products made with unpasteurised milk as well as pate should also be avoided for the same reason. Although adults with listeria can show no symptoms it can cause major complications to the foetus.
You should avoid eating cold meats from the delicatessen including salami, ham, chorizo and pepperoni because there is a chance they could contain listeria. Be careful of ready-cooked chickens too – ensure they are steaming hot when you eat them, otherwise you may be at risk of contracting listeria.
Fruit and vegetables
Fruit and vegetables that have been in contact with sprays and soils can be harmful to your baby so ensure they are washed thoroughly before you eat them. Toxoplasmosis can be found in soil so don’t take any chances and wash thoroughly.
Too much caffeine in your diet can result in your baby being born with a low birth weight or there is even the chance of miscarriage. Limit your coffee intake to one per day but remember there are many other drinks that contain caffeine too, including tea, cola, energy drinks and even chocolate. If you can’t get by without coffee, try decaffeinated.
If you’re ever unsure about what you should and shouldn’t eat during pregnancy, don’t risk it – talk to your midwife of doctor.
Image via americanpregnancy.org