Maintaining a well balanced diet and staying on top of your nutrition during pregnancy is key to your health and the development of your baby. Whilst it is okay to have junk every so often, there are foods that you may usually indulge in that you should avoid for the safety of your little one. Here are 5 foods you should take care to avoid during pregnancy:
- Soft and blue veined cheeses, such as stilton and brie: Eating soft or blue veined cheeses during your pregnancy will increase your risk of contracting listeria. Listeria is a form of bacteria that can potentially be very harmful to your baby and listeriosis is a disease that may remain symptomless up until a few weeks after you have consumed a food product that may expose you to it. There is no risk of listeria from harder cheeses (such as cheddar) or from cheeses that appear to be 'soft' such as cottage cheese.
- Fish high in mercury, such as swordfish or marlin: You must avoid fish that is high in mercury such as swordfish or marlin during your pregnancy altogether. Consuming large levels of mercury whilst pregnant can hinder the development of your baby's nervous system. You should also reduce the amount of tuna you consume to 2 portions a week (i.e 2 small tuna steaks)
- Pate, including vegetable pate: Pate, including vegetable pate, may be a firm favourite at certain times of year (i.e Christmas!) but it is essential that you avoid it during your pregnancy. Pate is another food product that carries listeria and it is not due to the raw meat element, it is because of the way it is prepared and stored.
- Raw or partially cooked eggs: Raw or partially cooked eggs should be avoided as you and your baby have an increased risk of contracting salmonella. This includes soft cooked scrambled eggs, fried eggs with a soft yolk, soft boiled eggs, poached eggs and other ways of cooking eggs that will leave the yolk or white 'runny'.
- Raw shellfish: During your pregnancy you are at an increased risk of exposing yourself to illnesses such as food poisoning or salmonella, which will then be passed on to your baby. Eating raw shellfish (i.e oysters) exposes you and your baby to such harmful diseases. It is however safe to eat prawns, shrimp and other popular types of shellfish that are well cooked.
Remember to take extra care with your food when eating out and ensure the place you eat in has good food hygiene practices.