It's only for nine months!
Just when you think you can ease back a bit on the calorie counting, latest fad diets and pudding refusals, there comes a whole new list of food rules for pregnancy.
At a glance
- Raw shellfish should be avoided because of the risk of food-poisoning
- Pâté may contain listeria and must be avoided
- Eggs with solid yolks and whites are fine to enjoy
Obviously the main mantra for eating during pregnancy is healthy and wholesome – but there are some food stuffs that could pose a health risk and should be avoided while you've got baby on board (but just imagine how great they'll taste when you can have them again nine months down the line!).
Soft cheeses can carry a bacteria which could cause listeria, so avoid mould-ripened cheese like Camembert and Brie, including those made from goats' milk. Soft blue-veined cheeses like Roquefort, Gorgonzola and Danish blue should also be off the menu while you're expecting
Eggs are nutritious and protein rich and can be used for some fabulous dishes. The Food Standards Agency has confirmed that pregnant women can return to eating runny eggs – as long as they have the British Lion stamp on. The new advice, confirmed in October 2017, replaces the previous warning that vulnerable groups should eat eggs only when fully cooked. The British Lion Code of Practice has effectively eliminated salmonella from British Lion eggs.
Your milk needs to be pasteurised, so avoid 'raw' unpasteurised milk (cows', goats' or sheep's) in your cuppa, or any products made from it (so don't cook with it). This is because there is an increased risk of toxoplasmosis, listeriosis and campylobacter in unpasteurised milk. If you have no choice but to use unpasteurised milk, boil it first.
Pâté – including vegetable varieties – can contain bacteria that can cause listeriosis. Listeriosis can harm a baby during pregnancy, or cause severe illness in a newborn. Liver pâté can also have high levels of vitamin A, which is harmful to your baby so pâté is best completely avoided during pregnancy.
Make sure all your meat is well cooked and never pink or rare, and do not eat anything that is raw or undercooked. Liver should be avoided as it can contain a lot of Vitamin A, too much of which can be harmful for your growing baby.
Avoid swordfish, marlin and shark as they have high levels of mercury which could affect your baby’s nervous system. Raw shellfish should be avoided because of the risk of food-poisoning. Tuna should be limited to no more than two fresh steaks or four medium cans of tinned tuna a week as it also has high levels of mercury. Limit oily fish (salmon, mackerel, sardines, trout, herring, pilchards) to no more than two portions a week as they contain pollutants.
If you have any doubts or worries about what you can or cannot eat, have a chat with your midwife or GP to put your mind at rest.