What Are the Do's And Don'ts Of Eating During Pregnancy?

Eating During Pregnancy

Besides eating different types of food, it's important to be extra careful to keep your baby safe. When you're pregnant, your body's ability to fight off sickness isn't as strong, so you're more likely to get stomach bugs and other problems. That's why you need to take extra care to stay healthy.

Do’s During Pregnancy

  • Wash fruits, veggies, and salads really well, even if they're pre-packaged and labeled as washed.
  • Drink only pasteurized or UHT milk. If you only have raw milk, boil it first. Avoid unpasteurized goat's or sheep's milk and their products.
  • Heat up ready-to-eat poultry and cooked chilled meals completely until they're very hot before eating.
  • Make sure eggs are cooked thoroughly to lower the risk of salmonella.
  • Limit caffeine to 200mg a day. Remember that cola, hot chocolate, chocolate bars, and energy drinks also have caffeine.
  • Wear gloves when gardening or changing the cat's litter box.
  • Keep raw foods separate from foods that are ready to eat to prevent food poisoning.
  • Wash your hands really well before and after handling food, after using the bathroom, and before eating.
  • Cook all meat and chicken fully until there's no pink or blood left. After handling raw meat, wash all surfaces and utensils well. Keep raw meats at the bottom of the fridge and use a separate cutting board.

Don’ts During Pregnancy

To keep your baby safe during pregnancy, there are some foods you should steer clear of. This is because they might be prepared in a way that can make you sick, or they might contain high levels of things that aren't good for your baby's development. We'll explore these foods below.

  • Pâtés, even veggie ones, and soft cheeses with rinds (like Brie or Camembert) can harbor bacteria that might make you sick, which can also affect your baby.
  • Raw, undercooked, or cured meats (like salami or Parma ham) could contain harmful bacteria or parasites. Best to cook meats thoroughly until steaming hot!
  • Liver and liver products are high in vitamin A, which can be too much for your baby in large amounts. Skip liver pâté or sausage, and avoid vitamin A supplements – opt for beta-carotene instead, which is safe.
  • Some types of fish, such as shark, marlin, and swordfish, contain high levels of mercury, which can negatively affect your baby's developing nervous system. It's best to avoid these fish entirely. Even tuna can be a concern – limit your intake to 2 servings per week of fresh tuna or 4 small cans. This recommendation applies both before and during pregnancy, as well as while breastfeeding.
  • Avoid smoking. If you smoke, it's crucial to quit as soon as possible because it can harm your baby. This advice applies to partners as well, as secondhand smoke can be just as harmful to your unborn baby. Seek assistance and support from your GP or midwife to quit smoking for both parents.