You're more susceptible to bugs and bacteria while you're pregnant so it's all the more important to watch what you eat.
So, to help you and baby stay as healthy and fit as possible we explain the foods that you should steer clear of while you're expecting.
It's a good idea to avoid eating blue cheese such as Stilton, Roquefort and Gorgonzola and mould ripened soft cheese such as Brie and Camembert as they are more likely to contain harmful bacteria such as listeria. Unpasteurised cheese made from sheep's and goat's milk should also be avoided.
However, thorough cooking should kill any bacteria so eating a small amount of any of these cheeses in a piping hot meal shouldn't cause you any problems.
Hard cheese such as Cheddar and Red Leicester, soft cheese such as Feta, Mascarpone, Mozzarella, processed cheeses, cream cheese and cottage cheese are all considered safe.
Liver pate is a no-go in pregnancy as it contains high levels of retinol based vitamin A which can be harmful to your baby's development. However, other meat, fish and vegetable based pates should also be avoided as they are likely to contain high levels of the bacteria listeria.
Because of the risk of salmonella food poisoning it's important that you stay away from foods containing raw or undercooked eggs as you are more susceptible to this illness while you are pregnant.
When you buy eggs at the supermarket choose varieties that have the red lion stamp as this means they have come from hens vaccinated against salmonella and make sure that both the white and yolk of any eggs you eat are solid. You should also store eggs separately from other food, wash your hands thoroughly after cooking with egg and never use eggs that have either gone past their sell-by date or have been cracked.
Remember that home-made or deli-bought mouse, mayonnaise, coleslaw and salad dressing may contain raw egg so it's always a good idea to check before you tuck in. Shop bought varieties tend to contain pasteurised egg so most are fine to eat during pregnancy.
Raw or undercooked meat is more likely to carry bacteria that will cause food poisoning. For this reason it's important that any meat you eat has been cooked thoroughly so that there are no pink bits and the juices run clear. Uncooked meat such as parma ham and salami should also be avoided.
Remember to wash your hands thoroughly after handling meat and to store it separately from other foods.
Unwashed fruit and vegetables
There is a small chance that fruit and vegetables carry the harmful toxoplasmosis parasite on their skin so it's important to either thoroughly wash or peel any fruit and vegetables before you eat them.
As you're more susceptible to tummy bugs during pregnancy it's a good idea to steer clear of raw or undercooked shellfish such as cold prawns, oysters, mussels and crab as these are more likely to carry sickness-causing bacteria. However, it is fine to eat these foods as part of a piping hot meal.
If you, your partner or children have a history of allergies, asthma or eczema it's recommended that you avoid eating peanuts while you're pregnant as it may increase the risk of your baby developing an allergy.
The Department of Health currently recommend that you don't drink any alcohol at all while you're pregnant because of the risk that heavy drinking poses for fetal development. However, new research has suggested that occasional drinking (1 or 2 units every couple of weeks) won't do your baby any harm, so if you do feel like sharing a little celebratory tipple on the odd occasion you shouldn't feel guilty about indulging.
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