So ladies, this is the low-down on foods to steer clear of, or reduce during your pregnancy. Do the very best you can and if you need further advice see your naturopath or a qualified health professional.
Foods to avoid during pregnancy:
- food hygiene is extremely important, make sure all food is within date, stored properly, thawed properly, and reheating foods is not recommended unless they are ‘recooked’ rather than slightly warmed, in order to destroy bacteria
- Listeria: causes mild unwellness during pregnancy, but can lead to miscarriage, stillbirth, premature birth or issues with the foetus. Foods to avoid include; Smoked fish, mussels, oysters and raw fish, pre-prepared salad and mayonnaise, pre-cooked meat products that do not require further cooking eg: deli meats, pate, Unpasteurized milk and milk products, Soft serve ice cream, Soft cheese; due to the surface moulds eg: Brie, Camembert, Blue, Fetta, Ricotta(very well baked ricotta or fetta is ok because they will have less potential surface moulds which should be eliminated in a very high oven for atleast 20 minutes)
- Alcohol: it is recommended to avoid alcohol consumption during pregnancy as there are proven negative effects on the fetus
- Chilled or uncooked seafood products which may carry harmful bacteria as well as raw and rare cooked meat, chicken and seafood
- Avoid raw eggs and mayonnaise to reduce the risk of Salmonella poisoning
- Caffeine: is best avoided, especially in the 1st trimester as it can increase the risk of miscarriage, heavy caffeine consumption has been shown to affect a baby’s growth and development and it is dehydrating which can have serious consequences in pregnancy, 1 cup of coffee or 2 cups of tea a day are within low dose consumption
- Mercury: according to Food Standards Australia and New Zealand certain fish need to be limited due to their higher mercury content which is dangerous to the developing fetus
- Limit to one serve a fortnight: swordfish, broadbill, marlin and shark, with no other fish eaten that fortnight
- Limit to one serve a week: orange roughy/deep sea perch/cat fish with no other fish eaten that week
- Eating these fish regularly are what cause the build up of mercury in the blood, so making sure to not eat too much too regularly is the key; enjoying them occasionally is fine
- Foods high in salt, trans fats and sugar should all be eaten in moderation; the idea is to increase nutrient density rather than energy density in the diet- eating for 2 during pregnancy is unfortunately not necessary
- herbs and nutrients should be prescribed by a qualified practitioner.
Off the shelf pregnancy multivitamins can meet the needs of general pregnancy- research shows that 400-600mcg of Folic acid daily, started atleast a month prior to conception can prevent neural tube defects – and most pregnancy multi’s will contain this. However specific nutrients and certain safe herbs can also manage pregnancy symptoms very effectively, when prescribed in the right way. And many other nutrients are needed in higher amounts during pregnancy- especially if cravings, nausea and vomiting are reducing an optimal diet. I don’t recommend using standard multivitamins, ones that contain herbs or taking any other supplements apart from a pregnancy multivitamin without getting qualified advice.
For further information about food safety in pregnancy check out: http://www.foodauthority.nsw.gov.au/consumers/life-events-and-food/pregnancy/pregnancy-table/#.UyZgdPS1YkY