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Foods to avoid during pregnancy

Food Why avoid?
Liver Not a common favourite but avoid liver or liver products such as liver pâté or liver sausage, as they may contain a lot of vitamin A and too much can harm your baby. Multivitamins and fish liver oil can also be high in vitamin A. Speak to your doctor or pharmacist about your pre-pregnancy and pregnancy supplements as you still need some vitamin A for your baby’s development. 

 Some cheeses

Mould-ripened soft cheeses, such as brie, camembert and others with a similar rind, including goats’ cheese. Soft blue-veined cheeses, such as Danish blue, Gorgonzola and Roquefort.

Cheeses made with mould can contain listeria bacteria that cause listeriosis. Although an infection with listeria is rare even a mild form can have serious implications in a pregnant woman.
 Uncooked eggs

Following a year long risk assessment, the new advice from the UK government is to avoid raw or undercooked eggs and any foods that contain them, such as homemade mayonnaise unless they carry the British Lion mark.

 Pâté  Avoid all types of pâté, including vegetable pâtés, as they can contain listeria.
 Unpasturised milk  Avoid unpasteurised milk, including unpasteurised goats’ or sheep’s milk, or any food that is made of them, such as soft goats’ cheese.

 Avoid raw shellfish altogether and limit your intake of fish with potentially high levels of mercury, such as tuna, swordfish, marlin and shark. The mercury could affect your baby’s developing nervous system.

Stick to a maximum of two portions of oily fish a week as they contain pollutants such as dioxins and PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls).

 Uncooked meat

 Cook all meat and poultry thoroughly so there’s no trace of pink or blood. Be particularly careful with sausages and minced meat.The latest advice from the Food Standards Agency is that pregnant women should take care when eating cold cured meats such as salami, chorizo, pepperoni and Parma ham because these meats are not cooked but cured and fermented so they may contain toxoplasmosis-causing parasites.

It’s best to check the instructions on the pack to see whether the product is ready-to-eat or needs cooking first.

For ready-to-eat meats, you can reduce any risk from parasites by freezing cured/fermented meats for four days at home before you eat them. Freezing kills most parasites and so makes the meat safer to eat.

 Caffeine  Avoid having more than 200mg of caffeine a day. Caffeine is found naturally in some foods and is added to some soft drinks, so check the label beforehand.
 Alcohol  You should avoid drinking alcohol if you’re pregnant or trying to get pregnant. Too much exposure to alcohol can seriously affect your baby’s development.

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