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Do you know which foods to avoid in pregnancy, or the reasons why you are advised to avoid them? This article is worth a read to avoid any unnecessary complications in your pregnancy.

Cheese to avoid

You should avoid eating soft blue-veined cheese and soft cheeses with a white rind in pregnancy. This is because they may contain harmful bacteria, such as Listeria which can cause listeriosis.

Listeriosis is a very rare condition, but even a mild form of the disease is dangerous to pregnant women as it can lead to miscarriage, stillbirth or severe illness in your newborn baby, read more here.

These types of cheese are safe to eat when cooked.

Cold cured meats such as salami

As these products are cured rather than cooked there is a risk of toxoplasmosis. Toxoplasmosis, although very rare, can cause pregnant women to have a miscarriage or still birth, or the infection could spread to the baby and cause serious complications (congenital toxoplasmosis) read more here.

The risk can be reduced by freezing it for a minimum of four days before you eat it. Packaged meat, such as cooked ham or corned beef, is safe to eat as it has been cooked.

Fish to avoid

Pregnant women are advised to avoid the following types of fish during pregnancy, as they contain high levels of mercury which can negatively affect your baby’s developing nervous system

  • Marlin
  • Raw shellfish
  • Shark
  • Swordfish

See foods to restrict in pregnancy and foods that are safe to eat in pregnancy.

Liver

Liver is very rich in vitamin A (retinol) which can have adverse effects on your baby’s growth if consumed in excessive amounts.

See Foundations of a healthy diet: part two for more information about vitamin A.

Pate

All pate, even vegetable pate is a potential source of Listeria which can cause listeriosis and should therefore be avoided in pregnancy.

Listeriosis is a very rare condition, but even a mild form of the disease is dangerous to pregnant women as it can lead to miscarriage, stillbirth or severe illness in your newborn baby. Read more here.

Raw, undercooked or soft-boiled eggs

All foods containing undercooked eggs such as homemade mayonnaise, hollandaise sauce, meringues, ice creams etc. should be avoided as there is a very small risk of salmonella poisoning.

Raw or undercooked meat

Undercooked meat is a potential source of the parasite Toxoplasma Gondi, which can cause toxoplasmosis. Toxoplasmosis, although very rare, can cause pregnant women to have a miscarriage or still birth, or the infection could spread to the baby and cause serious complications (congenital toxoplasmosis). Read more here.

All meat should be cooked so that there is no trace of blood when you cut it.

Raw or undercooked fish

It is actually safe to eat sushi dishes as long you know that the fish has been frozen first. Freezing the fish makes sure any unwanted bacteria has been killed and will not harm you or your baby. Always ask your waiter or check the label if you are buying it in a supermarket. If you are unsure, it is best to leave it.

Soya

Soya contains a group of plant chemicals called phytoestrogens which according to some theories may affect the fertility and sexual health of your baby if consumed in large amounts during pregnancy.

Unpasteurised milk (cow, goat or sheep’s milk)

Milk you buy in the shops in the UK will be pasteurised, so you do not need to worry. However, it is not safe for pregnant women to drink unpasteurised milk – unless it is boiled first.

Vitamin A

Large amounts of vitamin A (retinol) in pregnancy can harm your baby. Therefore, high dose multivitamin supplements, fish liver oil or any supplements containing vitamin A should be avoided in pregnancy. See the foundations of a healthy diet: part two.

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Information provided in association with Bump and Beyond Nutrition

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