Foods to avoid when you are pregnant
There are some foods you should not eat when you’re pregnant because they might make you ill or harm your baby. Make sure you know the important facts about which foods you should avoid or take extra care with when you’re pregnant. The best foods to eat are freshly cooked or freshly prepared food.
Some types of cheese
Don’t eat mould-ripened soft cheese, such as brie, camembert and chevre (a type of goat’s cheese) and others with a similar rind. You should also avoid soft blue-veined cheeses such as Danish blue or gorgonzola. These are made with mould and they can contain listeria, a type of bacteria that can harm your unborn baby. Although infection with listeria (listeriosis) is rare, it is important to take special precautions in pregnancy because even a mild form of the illness in a pregnant woman can lead to miscarriage, stillbirth or severe illness in a newborn baby.
Raw or partially cooked eggs
Make sure that eggs are thoroughly cooked until the whites and yolks are solid. This prevents the risk of salmonella food poisoning. Avoid foods that contain raw and undercooked eggs, such as homemade mayonnaise. If you wish to have dishes that contain raw or partially cooked eggs you should consider using pasteurised liquid egg.
Don’t eat liver or liver products such as liver pâté or liver sausage, as they may contain a lot of vitamin A. Too much vitamin A can harm your baby.
Raw or under cooked meat
Cook all meat and poultry thoroughly so it is steaming hot and there is no trace of pink or blood. Take particular care with poultry, pork, sausages and minced meat, including burgers.
Avoid rare meat. Toxoplasmosis is an infection caused by a parasite that can be found in meat, soil, cat faeces and untreated water. If you are pregnant the infection can damage your baby, but it’s important to remember that toxoplasmosis in pregnancy is very rare.
Supplements containing vitamin A
Don’t take high-dose multivitamin supplements, fish liver oil supplements or any supplements containing vitamin A.
Eat cooked rather than raw shellfish as they can contain harmful bacteria and viruses that can cause food poisoning and have a higher risk of listeria contamination.
If you have milk, drink only pasteurised or UHT (ultra-heat treated) milk – sometimes also called long-life milk. If only raw (unpasteurised) milk is available, boil it first. Don’t drink unpasteurised goat’s or sheep’s milk or eat food that is made out of them, such as soft goat’s cheese.
Avoid soft ice-creams while you’re pregnant as they have a higher risk of listeria contamination.
Foods with soil on them
Wash fruit, vegetables and salads to remove all traces of soil and visible dirt.
Pre-prepared or pre-packaged fruit or vegetable salads, including those from buffets and salad bars have a higher risk of listeria contamination.
Energy drinks are not recommended during pregnancy as they may contain high levels of caffeine, and other ingredients not recommended for pregnant women.
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