Unfortunately, there are some foods and drinks that you should probably stay away from while you’re pregnant. It can be a bummer to be told to give up some of your fave foods, but if your faves include raw steak, brie and pate – it just has to be done… sorry.
Good news though! The list what not to eat while your preggers is not massive and they’re not exactly staples for your Friday night dinner (raw eggs?). You might miss the odd latte and a glass of wine every now and then but it’s all worth it for a happy and healthy baby.
5 foods to avoid during pregnancy
When you’re pregnant, you need to make sure your diet is giving your little one enough energy and nutrients for healthy development. There’s no need to stick to a strict or special diet or spend time worrying about what to eat during pregnancy. Just make sure you’re getting plenty of protein (meat, nuts, beans), healthy fats (dairy products, nuts again) and carbohydrates (fruit and veg), as well as ensuring you’re intaking enough vitamins and minerals and keeping yourself hydrated.
Other than that, here are 5 foods that should probably be avoided while you’re pregnant…
Undercooked or raw meats
Eating undercooked or raw meats can increase the risk of infection from parasites in the meat – which can affect the health of your baby. When meat is cooked all the way through, with no traces of blood, dangerous bacteria and parasites are killed.
This goes for non-preggers people as well but undercooked poultry can cause nasty food poisoning that you’ll want to be super careful of when you’re pregnant. You’re still free to enjoy a steak night, if that’s something you look forward to – but just make sure the steak is well done and there are no signs of pink.
Good rule of thumb – if the smell of cheese takes up the whole kitchen, put it down. Certain cheeses can contain listeria, which can be dangerous, causing serious illness for pregnant women and their babies.
Hard cheeses like cheddar, stilton, parmesan are all fine, and soft pasteurised cheeses such as mozzarella, feta and halloumi are good to go. But try to stay away from mould-ripened soft cheeses with a white coating (like brie and camembert) and blue cheese while you’re pregnant.
Portions of oily fish or raw fish
A lot of fish is highly recommended while you’re pregnant as a great source of omega 3. But there some fish that have high levels of mercury, which can go into your bloodstream and negatively affect your baby’s developing brain.
Common fishy meals are still safe – tuna (in moderation), salmon, cod etc. But it’s best to stay away from shark, swordfish and marlin… honestly, who eats shark on the regular anyway. You’ll also want to stay clear of raw fish, for the same reason as you’d avoid raw meats – they can carry harmful bacteria if not cooked all the way through that could be dangerous for you and your little one.
All pates – even veggie pate – could contain listeria which, as we’ve mentioned, is one to avoid at all costs while you’re pregnant.
For obvious reasons – raw or undercooked eggs may contain salmonella, which is a nasty bacterium that can cause food poisoning. For this one, just ensure that your eggs are cooked thoroughly, and your whites and yolks are solid.
Certain foods can contain raw eggs, like hollandaise sauce, some custards and uncooked cake mix among others. So it could be wise to avoid your poached egg and hollandaise sauce breakfast, and let someone else lick the spoon for a while.
Drinks to avoid when pregnant
While pregnant, a massive factor to keep in mind is staying hydrated! Try and aim for around 6 to 10 glasses of water per day to keep your little one happy and healthy throughout your pregnancy. You can also fill your boots with orange juice, which is a super tasty source of potassium and vitamin c, among other things.
There are, however, some drinks that are best avoided while you’re growing your little one – just a few, we promise.
There is no safe amount of alcohol to drink while pregnant – your baby can’t process alcohol like you can so this can negatively affect their development, as well as increasing the risk of miscarriage.
A tasty and healthy alternative to drinking alcohol while you’re pregnant is non-alcoholic ginger beer. As well as being super scrumptious, ginger is also perfect for fighting morning sickness and nausea – win, win.
Consuming large amounts of caffeine while you’re pregnant can affect the growth and development of your unborn baby. A good rule is to just limit your caffeine and have no more than 200mg per day (probably about 2 cups of instant).
And it’s not just coffee that you should be looking out for. Caffeine can also be found in tea, chocolate and cola. Instead, give fruit juice or decaf coffee a go, you might not even notice the difference.
In other words: raw, right from the teat, milk. Raw milk can contain harmful bacteria that can cause listeria, among other dangerous diseases. And it’s not just cows to be mindful of – raw milk from goats, sheep or any other animal, can carry harmful bacteria that can cause food poisoning.
When milk is pasteurized, it kills the harmful bacteria by heating the milk – this doesn’t decrease the nutritional value either, so you can still get that sweet calcium and protein from your everyday cereal milk.
If you’ve eaten or drank something on this list, don’t immediately panic. These things are risky and should be avoided, but they don’t always make you and your baby ill. If you’re starting to feel unwell or you’re worried about a tiny bit of pink in your steak, just contact your doctor or midwife to advise.