Today I'm going to be looking into nutrition in pregnancy, What foods you should avoid and why!
Everyone knows it is important to have a healthy diet in pregnancy, but did you know that following this healthy diet can greatly reduce the risk of your child having heart disease or diabetes in later life!! Definate food for thought when making your meal choices!!
There are 5 food groups that, if chosen well, can maintain a healthy pregnancy for both the mum and baby, these include....
1. Bread,cereals and potatoes.. Always choose the wholegrain variety where possible.
2. Fruit and vegetables.. Eat a variety - at least 5 portions a day. Remember that potatoes do not count as 1 of your 5-a-day!
3. Milk and dairy products..Eat or drink moderate amounts but choose the low fat options.
4. Meat, fish and proteins..These include beans, eggs, lentils and soya. Eat moderate amounts, again choosing low fat options.
5. Food/drinks containing high amounts of fat and/or sugar, should be consumed sparingly. And watch out for hidden sugars, as in fruit juices as these can cause tooth decay.
It is important to keep hydrated throughout the day too! You need to drink about 6-8 medium sized glasses of fluid per day. Ideally this should be water or "no-added-sugar" cordials, or skimmed or semi-skimmed milk. Keep a check on your coffee and tea intake as this increases your caffeine levels which have been associated with miscarriage and small-for-gestational-age babies.
It is recommended that pregnant women should limit their caffeine intake to 200mg per day. Bearing in mind that a cup of instant coffee contains 100mg and a mug of tea has around 75mg! This can be avoided by choosing the decaffinated options that are now widely available.
Foods to avoid during pregnancy include;
1. Liver and liver products..This is due to the high levels of Vitamin A which is a teratogen (causes congenital malformations)
2. Undercooked meat/poultry.. Increases the risk of toxoplasmosis (a tiny parasite) It is better to avoid raw cured meats such as parma ham.
3. Unpasteurised milk... Again due to toxoplasmosis although all milks bought in supermarkets in the UK are fine as they are pasteurised, although take care if drinking milk on a farm or purchasing from a farmers market.
4. Pate... Pate, including vegetable pate, can contain listeria which is a bacteria that can cause an infection called listeriosis which is harmful during pregnancy and can cause severe illness in the newborn.
5. Mould ripened cheeses.. These may be produced using unpasteurised milk therefore you should choose hard cheeses such as cheddar or cottage cheese bought from a supermarket, again due to the risk of listeria.
6. Raw eggs.. Make sure eggs are cooked until both the yolks and whites are solid throughout. Avoid foods that contain raw eggs such as homemade mayonnaise, although foods which are cooked such as cakes, are fine. This is due to the risk of salmonella which is a common cause of food poisoning.
7. Certain fish.. A current dilemma is that of oily fish. It is an important source of omega 3 fatty acids but can contain a high level of mercury, which is harmful to fetal development. The current advice is that you should consume two portions of fish per week, one of which should be oily (mackeral, salmon etc), but no more than two. You should avoid eating swordfish, shark or marlin and should have no more than two tuna steaks per week or four medium sized tins.
Also remember.... It is important to wash hands before and after touching food and wash all salad, fruit and vegetables before eating.
For further information on healthy eating during pregnancy, please look at the following websites;