Hooray you’re expecting now here’s a long list of things you can’t do! I remember being terrified as the nurse sprouted off nearly everything I lived on and what also felt like every food group. So what can you eat? Why will it harm your baby? And how did anyone survive years ago?
I’m going to simplify it for you and it’s important to remember to be sensible. We all know how bad sugar is now, so reducing your intake will help to balance hormones and moods and remember eating even a small amount of sugar kicks off the craving and you will just want more. You should also limit your sugar intake as sugar is obviously a problem for people with diabetes and who develop gestational diabetes during pregnancy.*(see below) I would also advise staying away from all refined carbohydrates and instead choose brown pastas, rice and breads.
If we look at cheese, eggs, meat, milk and fish, the common denominator here is to stay away from raw and uncooked foods. So don’t eat raw or undercooked eggs and avoid foods that contain them, such as homemade mayonnaise. Make sure all eggs are thoroughly cooked until the whites and yolks are solid, this goes for your omlettes too; make sure they are not runny as this prevents the risk of salmonella food poisoning.
Don’t eat raw shellfish as it can cause food poisoning and limit fish with a high risk of mercury like swordfish and tuna.
Don’t drink raw (unpasteurized) milk, including unpasteurized goats or sheep’s milk and don’t eat food that is made out of them either such as soft goats cheese. It is also advised to stay away from raw or undercooked meat and make sure you cook all meat and poultry thoroughly so there’s no trace of pink or blood. Take particular care of sausages and minced meat. Some countries advise pregnant women not to eat cold meats or smoked fish at all because of the risk that they may contain Listeria but the risk here is low.
Listeria however is a bacteria that can cause listeriosis and even a mild form of this infection in a pregnant woman can lead to miscarriage, stillbirth or severe illness in a newborn baby. Foods like Pate including vegetable pate and mould ripened soft cheeses such as brie, camembert and others with similar rinds such as chevre (a type of goats cheese) or soft blue veined cheeses, such as Danish blue, gorgonzola and Roquefort can also contain listeria so it is advised to stay away from them too.
I remember being warned off Vitamin A when I was pregnant but it’s important to understand vitamin A. There are two types: preformed vitamin A, also called retinol or retinoids, and provitamin A carotenoids. Preformed vitamin A (which is used directly by the body) is found in animal products like eggs, milk, and liver. Provitamin A carotenoids (which the body converts into vitamin A) are found in fruits and vegetables.
It’s important during pregnancy not to get too much of the preformed vitamin A, which in high doses can cause birth defects and liver toxicity so stay away from liver and liver products but eat as much fruits and veg as you like as its important for your baby’s embryonic growth including heart, lung, kidney, eye and bone development and the circulatory, respiratory and central nervous systems.
Alcohol can also harm your baby. I had the odd glass of wine but to be honest just think about how it makes you feel. Good at the time but not great after so think of that little person growing inside you. The same goes for caffeine. You should limit it during pregnancy. Don’t have more than 200mg a day. High levels can cause babies to have a low birth weight and too much caffeine has also been linked to miscarriage. It is found naturally in some foods and is added to some soft drinks so read all ingredients.
Basically you need to eat a really good well balanced diet, take your omegas and vitamin D and give your little angel the best start in life as I do believe the foods we eat during pregnancy have a lasting effect even after they’re born.
HERE ARE MY TOP 5 TIPS:
1 Stick to prenatal vitamins of good quality. TERRANOVA have a great prenatal multivitamin complex and even better there are no binders or fillers used €22.96 www.bodykind.ie
2 Take a good Omega 3 supplement. I recommend the Eskimo Omega 3 with vitamin E €24.99 thehealthstore.ie
3 Take a good quality Vitamin D supplement. I recommend brands Terranova or Quest
4 Stay away from raw and undercooked foods including meats, fish (sushi), eggs (including mayonnaise) and raw milk
5 No liver or liver products
*Gestational diabetes is caused when the insulin in your body cannot do its job properly. The placenta is a system of vessels that passes nutrients, blood and water from the mother to her unborn baby. It also makes certain hormones that prevent insulin from working properly. This can affect about 5 in every 100 women causing gestational diabetes. Please speak to your doctor if you have any concerns. Diet and lifestyle play a key role in controlling it.