Eat this, avoid that. You’re eating too much, you’re not eating enough.
It seems everyone has an opinion when it comes to pregnancy. What you can and can’t eat and drink while pregnant is often a topic of much debate. With so much conflicting advice coming from friends, family and even total strangers, it can be hard to know what to believe.
While there is no denying that eating and drinking well while pregnant is essential for the health and development of you and your growing bub, there are a lot of myths and misconceptions out there about what is and isn’t safe.
If you are a bit confused about what you should and shouldn’t be eating while pregnant, don’t stress! We’ve put together a handy guide that outlines what foods you should be enjoying regularly, and those foods you should be avoiding for the next nine months. Of course, always follow the advice of your Doctor or chosen medical professional.
Food and Drinks to Enjoy:
As a mum-to-be, it is integral that you eat well, including all the important nutrients you and your developing baby need. The Dietary Guidelines recommend that you enjoy a wide variety of nutritious foods every day, including:
Washed fruit and vegetables
Wholegrain breads and cereals
Pasteurised dairy foods
Lean meat, chicken and fish – these should be well-cooked
Dried beans, lentils and other legumes
A variety of nuts and seeds
Fully cooked eggs – White and yolk should be hard
Hard cheeses such as cheddar or swiss
Food and Drink to Avoid:
Because pregnancy affects your immune system, you and your growing baby are more susceptible to the bacteria, viruses and parasites that cause foodborne illness. Therefore, the following food and beverages should be avoided (or prepared appropriately):
Soft cheeses made from unpasteurized or “raw milk” – Always check the label and make sure that the cheese is made from pasteurized milk
Runny or undercooked eggs - This includes homemade/restaurant-made desserts or sauces that contain raw eggs such as mayonnaise, ice cream, custard, raw cookie dough and soft scrambled eggs
Some types of fish – Fish is a great source of quality protein, vitamins and minerals such as iodine, vitamin D and omega 3 fatty acids however be careful with the variety you choose. Avoid raw or undercooked fish or shellfish (such as oysters and clams) and fish with high levels of mercury including shark, swordfish, king mackerel and tilefish. Salmon and tinned tuna are great options
Raw or undercooked meat or poultry – cook thoroughly and eat while hot
Refrigerated meat of any kind unless heated until steaming
Soft serve ice cream
Pre-prepared or pre-packaged salads from the deli – Especially if they contain eggs, chicken, ham, or seafood
Raw or undercooked sprouts or any unwashed produce, especially lettuce and cabbage
Stuffing from chicken or poultry – Do not eat unless cooked separately
Unpasteurized (raw) milk
Limit caffeine to no more than 200mg per day
Alcoholic beverages – Alcohol can affect the various stages your body and baby go through while growing. It can affect the baby’s nervous system, change the way the baby’s face, organs and brain develop, it can increase the chances of having a baby with low birth weight and it can raise your child’s risk of problems with learning, speech, attention span, language and hyperactivity. Alcohol is a toxin that rapidly crosses from the mother’s bloodstream into the baby’s blood stream. So essentially, when you drink, so does your baby!