I’m quite naughty by nature, but I was really surprised at how easy it was to give up alcohol and cigarettes during my pregnancy.
I genuinely don’t think I have ever, or will ever, be that healthy again – unless of course I have another baby!
I also love my food including sushi and soft cheeses like Camembert and Brie and unlike the cigarettes and alcohol, I found these hard to give up.
It can seem overwhelming when you’re presented with a list as long as your arm of foods you shouldn’t eat because they can cause food poisoning or even harm your unborn baby.
There were so many rules I often wondered how any of us were still alive the way we abused our selves daily according to the rules of pregnancy.
However I did learn to live by some simple food rules, which were:
- Stay away from raw, undercooked foods including meats, fish, eggs (including mayonnaise) and raw milk
- Limit caffeine
- No liver
- No pate
- No mould ripened soft cheeses
- No shellfish
- No alcohol
Cheese’s that are made with mould can contain listeria bacteria, which can cause listeriosis, and even a mild form of this infection carries a risk of miscarriage, stillbirth or severe illness in a newborn. These include the soft blue veined cheeses like Roquefort and Gorgonzola. All pates including vegetarian ones also carry the risk of listeria, as do raw or undercooked meats. There is low risk in Ireland but do be careful if you’re travelling.
Too much vitamin A can cause birth defects and liver toxicity so it’s a good idea to stick to your prenatal vitamins and not a regular multivitamin. You should also stay away from liver and liver products.
Most of us get enough vitamin A in our diets from fruits and vegetables in the form of carotenoids which is good because Vitamin A is important for your baby’s embryonic growth – including the development of the heart, lungs, kidneys, eyes, and bones, and the circulatory, respiratory, and central nervous systems. It also helps with infection resistance and is particularly essential when you are about to give birth, because it helps with postpartum tissue repair.
Always make sure eggs are cooked right through to prevent the risk of salmonella.
I tried to limit my coffee intake, as I can’t even imagine what too much would do to a little foetus if it gives us such a strong kick. Caffeine has also been linked to miscarriage, so watch out for soft drinks as well that regularly have caffeine added.
I do believe the foods we eat during pregnancy have a lasting effect on our baby’s health even after they’re born. Eating nutrient rich food is really important so lots of fruit and veg (washed thoroughly of course), lean meats, fiber (wholegrain pastas and breads), calcium (milk, beans and seeds), omega 3 and vitamin D. Starting your day with porridge and berries is great and I used to love chunky homemade vegetable soup especially on cold days like we’re experiencing now.
My last and very simple tip is if in doubt leave it out!