Friends, family, neighbors and in some cases, complete strangers will offer you advice when you are pregnant. But there are many myths and old wives’ tales that persists, many of which revolve around what you can and cannot eat.
HARTMANN Direct have rounded up all the latest advice and suggestions
but always check with your doctor, midwife or health visitor if you are unsure.
Foods to AVOID
Raw Eggs – raw eggs can be tainted with salmonella, a fever, diarrhoea and vomit-inducing bacteria that can prove to be incredibly unpleasant. Be vigilant for dishes that contain eggs that have not been cooked properly including freshly made mayonnaise (jarred mayonnaise is made with powdered egg so doesn’t present a problem), some soft desserts and so on.
Sushi – raw fish is not something you should eat during pregnancy, again because it may contain bacteria that induce illness during what should be an exciting time.
Unpasteurized dairy products – pasteurization is the process of applying heat to milk to sterilise it, killing off bacteria that can spoil the milk as well as make us ill. Supermarket milk and dairy products are safe but avoid products and dishes that use unpasteurized dairy products.
This is why pregnant women are advised to avoid soft cheeses, pates and ice creams as they make contain listeria, a bacteria that causes illness, although this it is rare.
When you are pregnant, your immune system is compromised slightly, making you more susceptible to infections and diseases.
Caffeine – there are often conflicting messages about caffeine but the consensus seems to be that curtailing your intake of caffeinated drinks during pregnancy is sufficient. This means keeping an eye on how many caffeinated drinks you have in a day.
It is also worth noting that some drinks have caffeine in that you wouldn’t expect. For example, some hot chocolate brands can contain caffeine. Stronger drinks such as espresso and energy drinks are high in caffeine, contain double the amount of recommended caffeine.
Foods You CAN Eat!
- Fruit and Vegetables
There are no fruit and vegetables that are off the menu when you are pregnant which is great news as they contain high levels of essential vitamins and minerals.
Increasing fibre in your diet is also a great idea as this will prevent constipation, an uncomfortable situation at the best of times but difficult to handle during pregnancy.
All fruit and vegetables, cooked or raw, are fine during pregnancy and comes down to your likes and dislikes. Eat five different coloured fruit and vegetables every day – they can be fresh, frozen, canned, dried or juiced. ALWAYS wash fruit and vegetables before eating them.
- Carbohydrates or Starchy Foods
Starchy foods are an important source of energy, as well as some vitamins and fibre. They also help you feel fuller for longer but don’t contain too many calories.
Starchy foods include bread, potatoes, breakfast cereals, rice, pasta, noodles, maize, millet, oats, yams and cornmeal.
Chips are also on the menu during pregnancy although you need to watch the fat content of your diet. Make your own by spraying them with a ‘spray oil’ product or use oven chips without adding fat or extra salt.
You need to eat protein every day and there are many foods that contain protein that are safe to eat during pregnancy;
- beans and pulses
- eggs (not raw, see above)
- Meat – but avoid liver and offal
However, choose lean meat and when you cook it, try not to add any extra fat or oil.
Eggs, poultry, burgers, sausages and whole cuts of meat such as lamb, beef and pork should be thoroughly cooked – avoid pink meat during pregnancy.
As for fish, try to eat two portions a week, one of which should be oily, such as salmon, sardines or mackerel. There are some types of fish you should avoid, mainly shark, swordfish, marlin and other kinds of game fish. This is because they live longer and are thought to contain higher levels of mercury.
There are plenty or dairy products that you can still enjoy during pregnancy. They provide calcium essential for your own skeletal health as well as that of your baby.
Milk, cheese, fromage frais and yogurt are important during pregnancy but choose lower-fat varieties wherever possible. Stick to semi-skimmed milk and reduced-fat hard cheese. You can also enjoy dairy alternatives such as soya milk and yogurts.
Eating healthily – and not for two! – will help you and your baby.
HARTMANN Direct supply a range of high quality incontinence products, including a range suitable for use during and after pregnancy.