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Foods To Avoid During Pregnancy

Pregnancy is such a precious time and one where the new mother really wants to take extra care of herself, her growing baby and their diet.

Of course it is important to eat what you like and fancy, but there are certain foods that really do need to be avoided during pregnancy.

The main foods to avoid during pregnancy are the groups that could cause Salmonella, listeria or toxoplasmosis. What you eat during pregnancy is so important, that making sure you do not eat these is a must!

Foods that could cause Salmonella include:
Raw or Runny Eggs, Mayonnaise made with Raw Egg and Raw or Undercooked Meat.
Salmonella Bacterium can cause food poisoning. It's a risk to both you and your baby as the food poisoning causes high temperature, vomiting, diarrhoea and dehydration. This could potentially cause a miscarriage or preterm labour.

Foods that could cause Listeria include: Liver and Liver pate, Unpasteurized Dairy Products (ripened soft cheeses like brie, camembert and blue veined cheeses), Unpasteurized Milk and Unheated Cooked foods. Make sure that reheating is thorough if you are eating ready meals!
Listeriosis is a bacteria that causes a mild flu like illness in the mother. This could lead to a miscarriage or stillbirth.

Foods that could cause Toxoplasmosis include: Raw or Undercooked Meat, Raw Cured Meats such as Parma Ham and Salami.
Toxoplasmosis is caused by the toxoplasma parasite. It is usually symptomless apart from a mild flu like symptom. Toxoplasmosis can cause serious problems for your baby.

Caffeine and Alcohol also need to be watched and limited!

It is recommended (Food Standards Agency), that you stop drinking Alcohol altogether. If you choose to continue then please limit alcohol consumption during your pregnancy to only 1 or 2 units per week, and never ever get drunk, 1 unit of alcohol = half a pint of beer, lager or cider, or a pub measure of a spirit; A glass of wine measures approximately 2 units.

As for Caffeine, this also needs to be limited if not avoided. As we know it is found in tea, coffee, chocolate, cola drinks and energy drinks, but it can also be found in cold and flu rememdies! Excessive caffeine can result in a low birth weight baby or even a miscarriage.

Recommendation (FSA again), for caffeine daily is 300mg - That still seems high but here is a guide for a monitor:

1 Mug Instant & Brewed Coffee = 100mg each
1 Mug Tea = 75mg each
Can Cola = 40 - 50mg each (plus sugar - best avoided!)
Energy Drink = 80 mg each (plus sugar - best avoided)
Plain Chocolate 50g bar = 50mg Also contains SUGAR!

Alternative hot drinks can include: Green tea (an excellent antioxidant), herbal teas such as Peppermint, Fennel, Camomile, Red Tea, Cranberry etc. These teas are much more hydrating and better for you and baby.

Other Foods That Should Be Avoided include: Shellfish, Peanuts (peanuts could increase the risk of your baby developing an allergy to nuts, especially if it is in your family) and Buffet foods (the reheating thing again!)

Eating too much tinned fish, especially Tuna, can be harmful due to the mercury levels (high levels can harm a baby's nervous system). Therefore, I would avoid tinned tuna and if you can and limit tuna steaks to only 1 or 2 per week. Other fish to avoid is swordfish, shark and marlin.

Please note that it is NOT recommended under any circumstances to DETOX during pregnancy!

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