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Guide to Food Safety and Foods to Avoid During Pregnancy

Mar10-Food-Safety-Foods-to-Avoid-Pregnant

There are many things a mother-to-be will worry about during pregnancy and the health of the baby is likely to be at the top of the list. There is a wealth of pregnancy advice out there both online and via word of mouth which means that it can often be confusing with what's right and what's wrong. Here is a quick guide on what foods you should avoid as much as possible when you’re pregnant.

Food safety during pregnancy

The immune system of a woman during pregnancy is particularly vulnerable and therefore there is an increased risk of foodborne bacteria and viruses causing illnesses.

1. Eating seafood

Raw seafood is at the top list of foods to avoid during pregnancy. That doesn't mean you can't eat any seafood but you must be more selective with the seafood that you do eat. You may be aware that fish is a rich source of omega-3 and although this is vital to a baby's development, some seafood can contain high levels of methylmercury which can be harmful to the nervous system.

Seafood high in methylmercury that should be avoided:

  • Shark
  • Swordfish
  • King Mackerel
  • Golden Tilefish

2. Eating cheese

Some cheeses also fall into the category of foods to avoid during pregnancy. Soft cheeses are a particular concern for those who are pregnant due to the lack of acidity and the increased moisture working as a perfect breeding ground for bacteria.

Soft cheeses with a white rind such as camembert or brie fall into this category, as do soft blue cheeses such as gorgonzola, Danish blue or roquefort. However that doesn't mean you can't eat them for nine months – as long as they've been cooked, these cheeses are safe to eat.

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3. Eating peanuts

Peanuts are often described as one of the foods to avoid during pregnancy but there is no evidence to suggest that eating peanuts during pregnancy increases the chances of your child having a peanut allergy.

4. Unpasteurised liquids

Whether its juice, cider or milk, unpasteurised drinks are a definite no as these kinds of drinks can contain foodborne illnesses such as E. coli which can result in liver failure or in some cases, death. This is easily avoided by drinking pasteurised drinks or by boiling the unpasteurised drink for at least one minute before consuming.

5. Eating eggs

The risk of Salmonella in eggs is something that everyone should be aware of but for those who are pregnant, this is a particular risk. In order to safely consume any eggs – or a dish that contains eggs –ensure the eggs, or the dish, are cooked thoroughly.

For your reference, here is a list of dishes that contain egg:

  • Raw batter
  • Caesar salad dressing
  • Tiramisu
  • Hollandaise sauce
  • Cookie or cake batter
  • Homemade ice cream

Finding the right food to eat when you’re pregnant can be tricky but if you're ever unsure about what you can or can't eat, then speak to your doctor for professional advice.

Resources:
https://www.foodsafety.gov/risk/pregnant
http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pages/foods-to-avoid-pregnant.aspx

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