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Goodness Me is your source for useful health, wellness and lifestyle information. We cover an interesting and comprehensive range of topics, tapping into the knowledge and expertise of staff and doctors at Epworth HealthCare, the leading private not-for-profit hospital group in Victoria, Australia.

Foods to avoid when you're pregnant

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Foods to avoid when you're pregnant

Epworth HealthCare

The best advice is to be smart about your diet. Anything that’s naughty for you is usually bad for your bub. Coffee, cigarettes and alcohol are obviously out. There are a couple of healthy foods you should avoid too. You probably already know most of the main foods that are a problem. Below are some reasons why.

Why you need to avoid some foods

The hormone party that’s happening in your body is causing your immune system to be up and down. Therefore, you are more susceptible to infections and other illnesses. Some bacterial illnesses can either be passed on to your bub or in some cases cause miscarriage.

The following foods have the potential for dangerous bacteria:

  • All deli meats
  • Precooked cold meats from a Bain Marie and a sandwich shop
  • Mould based soft cheese – cottage, brie, feta, camembert and ricotta
  • Raw or rare cooked meats (especially gamey meat like kangaroo)
  • Sushi, smoked salmon and oysters
  • Thick-shakes and soft serve ice cream (sorry cravings!)
  • Coleslaw and other salads that have dairy and mayo dressings should be avoided, as they can be a petri dish for bacteria

Be diligent about…

Chicken has to be cooked fresh and served hot. Be very careful with stuffing, it’s best to be cooked separately.

Avoid liver and pate as they have very high amounts of vitamin A. At really high levels, this vitamin can be harmful to a developing baby.

When having a sprout all other sprouts should be avoided. These include alfalfa, radish, broccoli, onion, sunflower, soybean, snowpea sprouts and mungbeans.

Be diligent during food preparation. It’s best to use a separate chopping board and utensils for the food described above if others are eating it.

Older fish, especially deep-sea fish, can contain high amounts of mercury. It isn’t exactly great for adults, and it can be quite harmful to a bub in the second trimester. Older fish are usually big and come in fillets if you want a rough guide. The following can contain mercury: orange roughy, shark, ling, barramundi, swordfish, gemfish and southern bluefin tuna.

Other seafood is important. Omega 3 fatty acids are necessary for the development of your bub’s central nervous system. Omega 3 fatty acids are found in many fish.

Cook eggs well if you want to use them. Only use pasteurized fresh dairy. Make sure salad and fruit are washed well.

For everything else, be very diligent with use-by dates.

What you can have

There are plenty of health foods to enjoy. Diets high in iron, folate, calcium and iodine are the best.

You can enjoy:

  • bread, cereals, pasta (wholemeal if possible), rice and noodles
  • fruit, vegetables and legumes
  • yogurt, milk, hard cheese (all low fat if possible)
  • poultry, fish, lean meat, cooked eggs and nuts.

For further advice on diet during pregnancy consult your obstetrician.