It’s true that because food poisoning can seriously affect you and your unborn baby during pregnancy, there are a few foods you need to avoid in pregnancy.
However, there is no need to be over-cautious, especially when now as much as ever you want your diet to be varied and satisfying.
For example, women who spend nine months avoiding spicy food because their babies might not like it, endure many an unneccessarily boring mealtime when they could be tucking into a curry or a tasty Thai dish!
Foods you don’t have to avoid in pregnancy
Some foods which tend to be avoided in pregnancy are only a problem if they have not been safely prepared. (And to be honest that could really apply to almost anything, whether you are pregnant or not!) Below are some foods which are perfectly safe, depsite having a ‘no-go’ reputation.
If you like to make your own mayo with raw eggs then yes, you should avoid it during pregnancy. However, if you are using a mainstream brand from a regular shop (eg not a deli where it might have been made the traditional raw-egg way) then you will be fine as the ingredients will have been pasteurised. If in doubt, check the ingredients, or ask how it has been made if you are buying it at a deli or having it served with a meal at a restaurant.
(Whether it has been pasteurised or not, do avoid mayo-based products like coleslaw if they look like they’ve been sitting on the shelf for a little too long, or have been exposed to the sun or warm conditions where bacteria may have had a chance to multiply.)
If you read the side of a jar of honey, it will say it is not suitable for children under one year old. However, it is perfectly safe in pregnancy.
Any pasteurised cheese Hard cheeses are generally considered safe to eat in pregnancy, however many women avoid all soft cheeses. If it is pasteurised, it’s fine to eat even if it’s a soft cheese. Items like cottage cheese and most mozzarellas are fine, as is ricotta, sour cream and most feta cheese. Just check the label to make sure they are pasteurised.
(As with mayonnaise, just make sure you are storing foods like this in the right conditions.)
‘Live’ dairy products Items like pro-biotic drinks and ‘live’ yoghurt might sound a little strange but they are great snacking items in pregnancy and don’t need to be avoided. Fromage frais is also fine, and all of these can be a useful source of nutrients your body really needs, like calcium. However, as with all dairy products, make sure you are storing them safely before you eat them.
Badly stored ice cream (where it has been allowed to defrost a little and freeze again on and off) is not good for anyone to eat, but ice cream generally is not off limits during pregnancy. However, if you are eating it somewhere ‘posh’, do make sure it’s not been made with raw eggs. This is rare nowadays, but some recipes do make ice cream with raw eggs and this is not a good idea while you are pregnant.
It is fine to eat shellfish so long as you are not eating anything raw. Make sure it has been properly cleaned and fully cooked and you’ll be OK.