Pregnancy can be a really exciting life stage for everyone involved and a key time to think about our health and wellbeing. Did you know that, from the moment of conception, the foods a pregnant mother eats can impact the development of her baby not just in the womb but for years to come?
Although this might sound daunting, eating well during pregnancy is actually much easier than you think. It comes down to that age-old message of a healthy balanced diet. Take a look so you know what not to include.
Soft blue cheeses such as Roquefort, Gorgonzola and Danish blue – theses cheese have veins of mould through them which are usually blue in colour.
Also soft cheeses with a mould rind such as camembert, brie or chevre or other cheeses with a similar mould rind.
The mould in these cheeses can contain listeria – a type of bacteria which causes food poisoning and can be harmful to your unborn baby.
Liver, liver products, fish liver oils or other supplements containing vitamin A, which can be toxic to your baby.
Swordfish, Marlin or Shark These types of fish contain very high levels or mercury. These may be harmful to your unborn baby.
Pate, including vegetable pate because pate can also contain listeria bacteria.
Raw or undercooked foods including meat, cured meats, fish, shellfish, eggs or ready meals should be avoided. So should unpasteurised foods or foods which may contain raw eggs e.g. home-made ice cream, home-made mayonnaise. These foods may cause toxoplasmosis, salmonella or other types of food poisoning.
Pregnant women are more susceptible to food poisoning and should be careful to cook all foods thoroughly. Foods should be piping hot throughout and meat should have no pink or undercooked patches.
Additionally, some foods should be eaten in moderation e.g. too much oily fish which may contain mercury and contaminants, caffeine, which can increase the risk of miscarriage in large quantities and alcohol. The NHS outline what can and cannot be consumed.
AUTHOR: CATHERINE LIPPE
Catherine is a Registered Nutritionist (RNutr) accredited by the Association for Nutrition (AfN), and founder of Catherine Lippe Nutrition. She has over 10 years’ experience as a paediatric nutritionist and has worked within both the private and public sectors, including the NHS.