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List of Foods to Eat When Pregnant
Pregnancy is a nerve wracking time and while there are so many things out of your control one thing you can look after is your nutrition, making sure you eat lots of healthy meals and avoiding foods that could be harmful to the baby.
Here’s a handy list of foods to avoid during pregnancy, as well as a reminder of what you can safely enjoy.
Healthy Food for Pregnant Women
You don’t have to give up all your favourite foods for nine months. Here are some good foods you’re encouraged to eat while pregnant:
- Whole grains. They are packed full of vitamins and of course fibre and will support your increased calorie requirement in a healthy way.
- Beans. They are also high in fibre but also calcium, iron and folate. You can add beans into so many different foods from pasta or rice dishes and of course into a delicious chilli.
- Well cooked salmon. Eating fish that is rich in omega 3 fatty acids is good for your baby because it supports their healthy cognitive development. You shouldn’t eat smoked salmon as that might contain listeria, so make sure you understand how to eat fish safely.
- Berries. These are rich in vitamin C and high in water content.
- Low-fat Yogurt. Pregnant women need to increase their calcium intake and yogurt contains more calcium than milk or other dairy products.
- Legumes. Legumes such as peas and lentils are rich in iron, protein, calcium and folate (B9). Folate (or folic acid) is really important for the baby’s development and reduces the risk of neural tube defects.
- Sweet Potatoes. Vitamin A is essential for your baby’s healthy development and sweet potatoes are rich in beta-carotene which is converted to Vitamin A by your body.
- Avocados. If you suffer from leg cramps then reach for an avocado, they’re also great for your baby too as they are filled with healthy fats to support the development of their brain and skin.
- Leafy Vegetables. These are high in iron, antioxidants, vitamins and more fibre to support your immune system.
8 Foods to Avoid During Pregnancy
The main reason for avoiding foods while you’re pregnant is that they may have been contaminated in some way. Here’s a breakdown of the foods most moms-to-be worry about:
- Raw meat. If meat is raw or undercooked there is a risk of salmonella or coliform bacteria.
- Raw eggs. Again there is a salmonella risk. Think before you eat mayonnaise or other foods containing uncooked eggs. If you buy them from the store then you should be ok as the eggs will have been pasteurised. If a friend makes mayo from scratch then pass as the eggs will be raw.
- Fish and shellfish. Large fish and shellfish contain high levels of mercury which can adversely affect unborn infants’ growing brains and nervous systems.
- Soft cheeses. Unless they state that they have been made from pasteurised milk they should be avoided because they might contain listeria which can cause miscarriage and still birth among other complications.
- Pâté. Avoid Pâté, even if it is made from vegetables, because it could contain listeria.
- Unpasteurized Dairy Products. Only eat or drink dairy products that are clearly marked to say they have been pasteurized. Unpasteurized products could all potentially contain listeria.
- Processed meat. There is a risk that processed meats could contain listeria too, even if they state that they have been precooked.
- Alcohol. Drinking alcohol during pregnancy makes your baby more likely to have premature birth, birth defects and fetal alcohol spectrum disorders. If you still want to enjoy a lively drink during your pregnancy try a mocktail instead.
Advise from doctors is that: “Pregnant women should ensure that their food is obtained from reputable establishments; stored, handled, and cooked properly; and consumed within a couple of days of purchasing.”
Print out this handy infographic and stick it to your fridge to remind yourself of the foods to avoid while pregnant.