Discovering you’re pregnant is a big moment and we know advice about what and what not to eat during this time can be overwhelming so we asked our friends, both parents and experts, to help us make sense of it all for you.
Foods to avoid
- Oily fish (like salmon and mackerel) are beneficial, but it’s not recommended to have more than 2 portions a week.
- Tuna is low in fat and provides selenium and iodine, but make sure you don’t have more than 2 fresh tuna steaks or 4 cans of tuna a week.
- Nuts. Women used to be advised to avoid peanuts but this is no longer the case, so you can enjoy your favourites without any worries.
Fact or fiction?
If you eat peanuts your baby is more likely to get an allergy.
Fact or fiction?
There's been lots of research into the diets of mums-to-be and peanut allergies in their children with recent studies showing that avoiding peanuts doesn’t reduce your baby’s risk of developing an allergy to them, and oddly it may actually increase it. So unless you have an allergy yourself to peanuts or any other known allergens like milk, wheat, fish and soya, you can continue to eat them during your pregnancy and this may actually help to reduce the risk of your child developing an allergy.
By the second trimester you’ve hopefully got your appetite back and may be missing soft cheeses and cured meats. As long as they are cooked thoroughly you can eat them in some meals as cooking destroys toxoplasmosis, listeria or other bacteria that could cause food poisoning.
If you choose to have a pizza, you will still need to be careful as some meats are often not cooked and just placed on top. Fiorentina pizzas, topped with spinach and egg, should still be avoided as most pizzerias leave the yolk runny which poses a risk of salmonella.
Once you’ve considered safety, give healthier choices some thought too: try to choose a thin base rather than a thick one and avoid overly fatty or cheesy options.
Preparing food safely
- Wash all your fruit and vegetables thoroughly.
- Use separate chopping boards for raw meats.
- Keep raw food separate from ready-to-eat food.
- Cook all your food well, especially meat, poultry & eggs.
For more information on food safety during pregnancy we recommend the NHS Choices website which has lots of useful tips.
Be extra careful about washing fruit and veg when you’re pregnant. In recent years, outbreaks of food poisoning have been linked to unwashed vegetables including leeks and potatoes, as well as bags of watercress.
When you’re pregnant, changes in your immune system mean you’re more susceptible to food poisoning so it’s very important to wash your fruit and veg really well, even bags of salad leaves that are labelled as “washed and ready to eat”, and don’t forget your knives and chopping boards too.