Hopefully you are here because you have read Parts 1, 2 and 3 in this short blog series on nutrition in pregnancy. If so, then you will now know what the evidence says you should eat, what you should avoid and what you should limit.
This may have left you with some questions…what about shellfish, nuts etc? You may have been led to believe that these will cause you or your baby harm. If, however, you would like to know the facts then read on.
If, like me, you are partial to prawns then you will be pleased to know that you do not need to avoid or limit these in pregnancy. They contain essential nutrients that you and your baby require. The key is to make sure that they are well cooked through and piping hot before indulging.
Another favourite of mine, spicy food! It is a complete myth that food full of spice will do you or your baby any harm. The issue with it is that it can add to heart burn or indigestion which are common pregnancy complaints. It may also be something that in those early, nauseous days, you just cannot face.
If, however, you don’t experience any of the above and you fancy some spice, go for it! Just be careful not to over do the greasy takeaways and ensure you are consuming plenty of fresh, nutritious food.
Mayonnaise throughout pregnancy is absolutely fine as long as it does not contain raw egg. This is the same for ice cream and salad dressings; as long as they are pasturised then they can be enjoyed ad libitum.
This does mean, however, that you may need to avoid homemade versions as they usually contain raw egg.
Whilst honey should not be introduced to infants younger than 12 months because it contains bacteria that can be harmful to their immune system, it is fine to enjoy during pregnancy. So go ahead and continue to sweeten your food with the nectar of the Gods, just be careful not to over do it. As with anything, moderation is key.
Whilst cheeses that contain mould must be avoided in pregnancy, there are many cheeses that you can continue to enjoy. These include;
- cottage cheese
- cream cheeses
Dairy is extremely important in pregnancy as calcium requirements do increase so it is wise to include some cheese within your diet. Options such as cottage cheese and ricotta are great choices that are lower in calories and fat but all of the above can be enjoyed as part of a healthy, balance diet.
Contrary to popular belief, peanuts in pregnancy are absolutely fine to enjoy. In fact, they offer nutrients, minerals, antioxidants and vitamins that are essential for optimum health. There is no evidence to suggest that consuming them in pregnancy will lead to an allergy in an unborn infant.
Interestingly, new research even suggests that limiting them for too long in babies can in fact lead to an allergy. It is still advisable to wait until after 6 months, when the immune system is well developed, to introduce nuts but any longer can have the opposite effect. The key is to introduce one new food at a time so that if an allergy does emerge, it is easy to identify.
There is a distinct lack of evidence to suggest that herbal teas are harmful when drunk during pregnancy. With that said, the guidelines suggest that no more than 4 cups a day should be consumed because of the POTENTIAL side effects. There is no need to avoid them completely though and they can be a great alternative to more harmful, caffeinated beverages.
So that concludes my 4 part blog series on nutrition in pregnancy. Whether you are in the throws of pregnancy, considering or or know someone who is, I do hope you have found this information useful. Pregnancy is a time of great joy that should be enjoyed to the max! It brings it’s anxieties and worries but nutrition shouldn’t be one of them and I do hope that you can move forward equipped with all the essential information you need to have a perfect pregnancy.
I wish you all the luck in the world – enjoy x