Which Foods To Avoid During Pregnancy?
Are you confused about which foods to avoid during pregnancy? I totally get you. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed and nervous, especially if this is your first pregnancy. You want to make sure you’re doing everything right to keep your baby safe.
In fact, when I was pregnant, I’ve spent a lot of time researching the current evidence and food safety guide from the health authorities. What surprised me the most was, I’ve also come across much-conflicting information from Dr Google, which can be unsafe for you and your baby – It just makes me mad!
Why Do You Need To Avoid Certain Foods During Pregnancy?
When you’re pregnant, your body immunity is weakened due to the hormonal changes and makes it harder to fight off infection. That’s the reason why preventing foodborne illness and avoiding high-risk foods during the whole pregnancy need to be at the top of your priority list.
What Is Listeria?
Listeria is bacteria that can cause a severe foodborne illness called listeriosis. Listeria bacteria are found widely in nature (such as in soil). It can be transferred to food through foods grown in the soil or through humans contacts, e.g. dirt on shoes, crates, pallets and forklifts.
It survives in a cold and moist environment, meaning Listeria can grow even if you store food in the fridge. It’s also more likely to occur in food with a longer shelf life (greater than seven days) and pre-packaged food without any preservatives.
What Are the Symptoms?
Listeriosis is usually caused by eating food contaminated by certain types of Listeria bacteria. The common symptoms may include fever, headache, tiredness, aches and pain.
In pregnant women, listeriosis may have no symptoms, or the symptoms may be mild, just like the above and sometimes diarrhoea. It can take a few days or even up to six weeks to appear.
If transmitted to your baby, it can cause miscarriage, premature labour, or stillbirth¹. Pregnant women are up to 13 times more likely to get listeriosis from contaminated food when compared to healthy individuals.
How Can You Minimise The Risk?
The good news is with careful preparation, food handling practice, as well as avoiding high-risk food, you can minimise the risk.
List Of The Foods To Avoid During Pregnancy:
- Cold meats, including pate and meat pastes
- Cold cooked chicken, e.g. purchased (whole, portions or diced) ready-to-eat
- Cold smoked seafood and pre-cooked prawns
- Raw seafood, including oysters, sashimi and sushi
- Soft cheeses, e.g. brie, camembert, ricotta, feta and blue
- Soft serve ice-cream
- Unpasteurised dairy products, e.g. raw goats milk
- Pre-cut fruit, pre-packaged salads and unpasteurised juices
- Raw or lightly cooked sprout
More Useful Resource
I highly recommend you to check out the latest pregnancy food safety guide from the Food Authority NSW, where you’ll find more information about safe food handling practices.
Put What You Learnt Into Action
Now I’d love to hear from you. Which foods surprised you the most? Do you feel like you’re more confident in making your food choices now? Let me know in the comment below.
With so much love❤️,