Pregnancy Diet: 6 Foods To Avoid

What you eat and drink while pregnant can have a huge impact on you and your baby. You may not have paid too much attention to what you ate before your pregnancy, but those same foods can now pose health risks. A proper pregnancy diet requires eating the right amount of vitamins and nutrients but also knowing what to avoid. Here are a few items you should avoid during your pregnancy:

Seafood that is high in mercury

While seafood is a provider of protein and omega-3 fatty acids, some types of fish could contain harmful mercury levels. Eating fish that is rich in mercury can have a detrimental effect on the development of a baby’s nervous system. Large fish will more than likely contain a lot of mercury. Swordfish, tilefish, shark and king mackerel are a few of the types of fish that should be avoided.

Unpasteurised products

Unpasteurised products are susceptible to listeria and other food-borne illnesses. Doctors advise that women avoid drinking and eating foods like unpasteurised milk, eggs, cheese, juices and any produce make using unpasteurised ingredients. The product label will tell you whether certain foods are pasteurised or not.

Deli meat

Deli meats can often become contaminated, so replace your usual ham or turkey sandwich with freshly-roasted chicken sandwiches, or veggie sandwiches. A great idea is to roast your own lamb, beef or pork, and thinly slice and use instead of deli meats.

Runny eggs

Eggs may be rich in protein and choline, but they can also pose a danger to pregnant women. You should avoid consuming eggs that are runny and any type of batter that contains raw eggs. Only purchase eggs there are refrigerated and keep the eggs stored in the refrigerator. Discard any eggs that have cracked or dirty shells.

Raw sprouts

Raw bean and alfalfa sprouts have been connected to outbreaks of Salmonella and E. coli. Avoi eating sprouts during your pregnancy, and if you need to add texture to your salad or sandwich, consider baby spinach, arugula or fresh herbs.

Smoked seafood

Refrigerated, smoked seafood is on the list of foods you should not eat because of its potential to expose you bacteria. Examples include anything labeled “lox”,“kippered”,“nova-style” or “kippered”. Only eat these foods if they are prepared in a cooked dish like a casserole. Eating the canned versions of these fish is also safe.

Following a pregnancy diet means avoiding foods that are potentially dangerous and enjoying the ones that will help the development of your baby. If you need more information in determining what you should or should not eat, read this guide on food safety.

March 31, 2014

Your Best Pregnancy Diet

When you are expecting, it’s important to establish a healthy pregnancy diet so you and your baby receive the best nutrition. Remember, everything you consume is also consumed by your baby.

The more you know about prenatal food choices, the easier it is to maintain a healthy pregnancy diet. Incorporating a better diet and understanding nutrition more in-depth allows you to take complete control of your body and baby’s development throughout your pregnancy. Follow these guidelines to ensure you’re eating the right foods.

Your daily diet
Make sure you are enjoying at least three servings of dairy products each day to support your baby’s bone structure and keep your strong throughout your pregnancy. Eat at least three servings of food with a high iron content, allowing you to reach 27mg of iron each day. Foods high in iron include beef, lamb, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, spinach and berries.

It is also important to get at least 70mg of vitamin C each day. Skip the bottled OJ which is high in sugar and opt for a glass of freshly-squeeze juice, and top it up by eating papaya, broccoli, grapefruit and strawberries. Get your daily dose of vitamin A by eating pumpkin, carrots, turnip greens and apricots.

Folic acid is essential for baby’s development, helping to deter against any potential neural tube defects. Load up on leafy green vegetables, chickpeas, black beans and humanely-raised veal.

Foods to avoid
Throughout your pregnancy, there are a few foods you should stay away from to avoid potential health risks to your immune system or to your baby. Do not eat raw fish, soft cheeses and deli meats during your pregnancy, as this can lead to bacterial infections. It is also highly advisable to stay away from seafood during pregnancy to avoid a high mercury level in your blood as well as food poisoning.

Also limit your caffeine intake, as it increases your blood pressure and heart rate and can lead to dehydration. Remember that caffeine is found not just in your morning latte, but tea, soft drinks and chocolate.

Eating a variety of foods throughout your pregnancy is highly recommended, but may still not be enough to give you all the vitamins and minerals you need. Speak to your doctor about any multivitamins and prenatal vitamins that you may be lacking.

Increasing your weight
If you are a healthy weight during your first trimester of pregnancy, it is not always necessary to eat more to increase your caloric intake, unless you are underweight. Your doctor will be able to tell you how many calories you should be eating to get to a healthy pregnancy weight.

During your second trimester, it is important to increase your overall caloric intake by about an extra 300 calories to help with gaining weight and providing enough nutrients for your baby.

By the third trimester, increasing your caloric intake by an extra 450 calories is quite common as the baby reaches its final stages of development before birth.

Make sure you discuss your pregnancy diet with your doctor.

What foods did you love (and love less) during your pregnancy? Share them in the comments!

January 31, 2014

6 Tips on What to Eat When Pregnant

Choosing to eat nutritious foods during pregnancy is important to your welfare and that of your baby, so we’ve put together 6 easy-to-follow recommendations to help you on your way.

The ideal diet for keeping you and your baby healthy changes over the course of pregnancy, but sticking to these recommendations is a simple way to ensure you’re keeping a healthy pregnancy diet and cutting out those harmful foods.

1. Increase your intake of certain minerals and vitamins

These include folic acid and vitamin D, as these are necessary for the development of the foetus and your health.

This is particularly important in your first trimester, which is the most critical time in your pregnancy.

You need vitamin D to maintain proper levels of calcium and phosphorous, which help build your baby’s bones and teeth. A deficiency of the vitamin during pregnancy can cause growth retardation and skeletal deformities.

Good pregnancy foods that are high in vitamin D include salmon, mackerel, canned tuna fish in oil, and products fortified with vitamin D.

Folic acid is a man-made form of folate, a B vitamin that occurs naturally in food. It’s unlikely that you’ll get enough folate to protect your baby just from the food you eat, which is why folic acid supplements are recommended.

However, folate-rich foods that can also help you to achieve a healthy pregnancy include whole grain bread, beans, pulses, and green vegetables such as broccoli and spinach.

2. Keep your consumption of vitamin A down

An excessive build-up of vitamin A can be harmful to your baby. Foods that contain high levels of vitamin A include liver and fish liver oils.

3. Your consumption of certain types of fish should be monitored or avoided.

When it comes to fish, it’s difficult to know what to eat when pregnant.

It’s best to avoid shark, swordfish and marlin completely as they can contain high levels of mercury, which can affect your baby’s neural development. Fresh tuna can also contain high levels of mercury, but rather than cutting tuna out of your diet completely, limit yourself to two tinned tuna steaks per week.

The following fish can contain low levels of pollutants that accumulate in their bodies over time, so you should have no more than two portions of them per week: oily fish, such as salmon, fresh tuna, mackerel, sardines, and  trout; some white fish, such as sea bass, sea bream, turbot, halibut, and rock salmon; and brown crab meat.

4. Avoid soft unpasteurised rind cheeses and pâté

These can contain the bacteria listeria. It’s unlikely for listeriosis to seriously affect your health, but the infection can have grave consequences for your developing baby.

5. Abstain from alcohol

Studies have shown that alcohol consumption in pregnancy could cause damage to the unborn child.

In addition to considering what to eat when pregnant, it’s important to be wary of what you consume after having had your baby. Even after giving birth, when breast feeding, it’s best to limit your consumption of alcohol and caffeine, as small amounts of what you consume can be present in your breast milk and may be passed to your baby.

 6. Avoid raw or undercooked eggs

They can carry harmful organisms, such as E.Coli and Salmonella, which can lead to gastrointestinal infection in pregnant women. Infection can be passed through the placenta to the baby.

This can be life threatening for your baby, so as a precaution it’s best to avoid eggs in their raw form, including in sauces, batter and egg nog.

Well cooked eggs, however, can be safely eaten, but make sure you check the best before date and keep them well refrigerated.

Eggs impart several key nutrients in the form of protein, fats, minerals (such as zinc and selenium) and vitamins A, D and some B, which make them a healthy food during pregnancy.

What are your best nutrition tips for what to eat when pregnant?

September 4, 2013