During pregnancy, the hormones that facilitate the growth of your little bundle have the added impact of lowering and somewhat impairing your immune system.
This means you’re more at risk from the ravages of bacteria found commonly in particular foods. These pesky little germs can cause food poisoning and potentially impact your unborn baby. The most common effect of these foods is listeria poisoning, a serious risk for a developing baby.
Below is a comprehensive list of foods to avoid. The best rule of thumb when it comes to your diet during pregnancy is to eat your food fresh and if it contains meat, to eat it hot. Remember to wash your vegetables and fruits before eating and pay close attention to the use by dates on your food.
1. Processed Meats
This includes most items from the deli section, unfortunately. It’s just not worth the risk, especially as you’re not sure how old the meat is or how many times it has been handled. It’s best to skip this entirely and opt for fresher alternatives.
Examples of processed meats you should avoid includes:
- Salami or Pepperoni
- Beef Jerky
- Hams and other Deli Meats
- Hot Dogs
2. Raw Eggs
Another tricky culprit, avoiding raw eggs even extends to products containing raw eggs such as specialty mayonnaise, some dips etc. Check your labels. When cooking eggs, cook until the yolk is no longer runny and consume immediately. Hard-boiled eggs are a great way to include protein in your diet during pregnancy instead of deli meats in salads or sandwiches.
3. Raw Meat
This includes all types of fish which is why women are told to avoid sushi during pregnancy. Make sure that when you consume meat that it is fresh and has been cooked thoroughly. A rare steak, although delicious, isn’t a great idea to consume during pregnancy.
Not only is the raw fish a breeding ground for listeria, but rice has also been known to cause bouts of food poisoning if it has been left for too long once cooked. Sushi is fine to consume if it is prepared fresh, consumed soon after and made with cooked meats or vegetarian options.
Pregnant women are told to avoid shellfish including mussles, crabs, prawns etc during pregnancy. These are mostly due to how seafood is frozen and then defrosted for sale. It should never be consumed after it has been cooked and then cooled. If you can guarantee that your shellfish is fresh and you’re eating it hot go for it. Otherwise, best to avoid.
Pate, and any other meat spreads including liverwurst etc are a big no-no during pregnancy. Not only are the Vitamin A levels particularly high in foods that contain the organs of animals, but the raw meat content makes it unsafe for consumption when you’re growing a baby.
7. Soft Cheeses
Any mould ripened cheeses are a big no-no during pregnancy, and unfortunately that extends to a lot of soft cheeses on the market. Have a close look at the label however, if the cheese is pasteurised and hasn’t been ripened with mould, it’s safe to consume.
8. Any Non-Pasteurised Dairy
A lot of health gurus these days are spruiking the apparent benefits of ‘raw’ milk. Any form of raw dairy, unless consumed within hours of being produced by the cow, is bad for you. Pasteurisation is undertaken to remove potentially harmful bacteria from the dairy in order to make it safe for us to consume. Just recently in Australia there has been multiple deaths in children linked to the consumption of raw dairy. Just don’t risk it and make sure that your dairy products are pasteurised. Luckily for us, due to Australian hygiene standards, this is the majority of dairy products for sale on our shelves.
9. Bean Sprouts
A super healthy diet staple at any other time in your life except pregnancy! Unfortunately, bean sprouts have been proven to (in some cases) have high levels of the nasty bacteria that can cause listeria. These levels are only of a concern when you’re pregnant and your body is potentially compromised. Incredibly nutritious and safe to consume at any other time, but best avoided for those 40 weeks.
10. Pre-packaged Salads
Salads are fantastically nutritious and highly recommended during pregnancy, however it is advisable never to consume them unless you are able to rinse the ingredients first. It is much safer to make your own to ensure the ingredients are fresh and have been handled by clean hands.
During pregnancy it is highly advisable to only consume supplements as recommended by your Doctor. A lot of supplements contain Vitamin A, a vitamin that should be taken in minimal quantities during pregnancy. Always check with your GP before consuming any supplements during pregnancy.