There’s a vast amount of information available about what you should and shouldn’t eat during pregnancy, but it can feel overwhelming. Here we’ve summarised some of the main food groups you should be careful with.
However, you should always refer to the NHS pregnancy diet guidance and talk to your healthcare provider about your dietary plans.
Dairy and Poultry
Mould ripened, and soft blue cheeses are not advised during pregnancy (including brie, camembert, chevre, gorgonzola and Roquefort). These cheeses are made from raw, unpasteurised milk that often contains the Listeria bacteria.
Listeria is particularly harmful during pregnancy as it can cause miscarriage, stillbirth and preterm labour. Instead, stick to the cheddar, parmesan and pasteurised soft cheeses (mozzarella, feta, cream cheese etc.) If you have a burning craving for unpasteurised cheeses, make sure they’re cooked thoroughly until steaming hot.
Eggs are a great source of nutrition, but make sure they’re cooked thoroughly and stick to British Lion eggs as they have less chance of containing the Salmonella bacteria.
Meat and Fish
You should also avoid raw or undercooked meat, liver products, pate and game meat. The good news is that you can feast on cooked meats as long as you’re still keeping your diet balanced. Although slim, there’s a chance of getting toxoplasmosis from raw meats, which may cause miscarriage. Liver products contain high vitamin A levels, and game meats can contain lead shots; both can impact an unborn baby’s development.
If you’re eating fish, there are strict guidelines during pregnancy. Some fish can contain harmful bacteria, viruses, pollutants and mercury. A maximum of two tuna steaks and two portions of oily fish are recommended per week. However, you should check out the NHS website or ask your healthcare provider for more information about eating fish while you’re pregnant.
Caffeine, Alcohol and Supplements
You should limit your caffeine intake to 200mg per day (around two cups of instant coffee or tea) as it can slow the baby’s development. You can drink herbal tea instead, but limit yourself to four cups a day.
Alcohol consumption is dangerous during pregnancy, and it’s best to take a T-total approach; however, if you are planning to drink small amounts of alcohol, you should first discuss this with your healthcare provider.
When your planning to get pregnant or become pregnant, you should take 400 micrograms of folic acid and a vitamin D supplement each day until you reach 12 weeks. This significantly reduces the chances of complications in the first trimester. Your healthcare provider will give you responsible advice and which supplements to buy and when to take them.