A healthy, balanced diet in pregnancy is crucial both to the mother and the health outcomes of her unborn baby; if you haven’t already, then please read more here.
There are, however, some foods that are dangerous during pregnancy. Here, I will tell you what they are and why they should be avoided.
Soft blue cheese
Cheeses with a blue vein of mould such as Roquefort, can contain listeria. This is a type of bacteria that can cause food poisoning and is harmful to an unborn baby. During pregnancy, a woman’s immune system is reduced which also makes her more susceptible to these dangerous bacteria which could lead to a serious illness.
Soft cheese with a mould rind
Cheeses with mould rind such as Camembert, Brie and Chevre should be avoided for the same reasons as above.
Liver and any fish liver oils contain high levels of Vitamin A which can lead to serious congenital birth defects that include malformations of the eye, skull, lungs, and heart.
Swordfish, marlin and shark
Fish like swordfish, marlin and shark contain high levels of mercury. This is because they are higher in their food chain which makes them more susceptible to pollutants that are present in the sea. Mercury is a metal that can cause serious consequences; babies exposed to it in the womb can have brain damage and hearing and vision problems.
Pate, even vegetable pate, must be avoided in pregnancy. This is because it also contains the harmful listeria bacteria that is found in mouldy cheeses and causes food poisoning.
Raw or uncooked food
Raw or uncooked foods including meat, shellfish, fish, ready meals etc should be avoided at all costs. This is because they may cause toxoplasmosis, salmonella and other types of food poisoning. As mentioned, pregnant women are more prone to food poisoning so they should make sure that all foods are cooked through and are piping hot. There should be no visible pink in any white meats and juices should run clear.
Any foods that contain raw eggs, so things like homemade mayonnaise, ice cream etc, should be avoided for the same reasons as above. Processed mayonnaise etc is usually fine to consume as it contains egg substitutes but always check the label.
Whist a variety of fresh , whole foods is promoted during pregnancy, there are some things that must be avoided in order to protect mother and baby from harm.
There are also some foods that whilst they can be consumed, they must be limited. To find out more, read here.