Your safe and healthy eating plan

Simple food rules for mums-to-be, plus what to steer clear of

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Pregnancy is a time when you can ditch the diet books and relax a little about watching your weight. In fact, it’s not only natural but also essential for you and your baby that you put on some weight usually around 22-28lb over the nine-month period.

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There’s no set diet for mums-to-be and most of the foods you ate before will still be okay to eat now. But see the box below for some foods you should avoid, as they could be harmful for your baby, and read on for some simple healthy eating rules.

  1. Drink milk – the new superfood
  2. Don’t forget your folic acid
  3. Eat fruit and veg
  4. Stock up on starches
  5. Get enough protein
  6. Drink up safely

EASY WAYS TO EAT FIVE A DAY

A little bit of planning makes it easy to hit your five-a-day target. Here are some ideas:

  • A glass of fruit juice
  • Dried fruit on cereal
  • Apple slices added to natural yogurt
  • A grilled tomato with scrambled egg
  • A smoothie 
  • A mini box of raisins 
  • Mashed-up avocado in a sandwich
  • A teetotal Virgin Mary (tomato juice with celery and Worcester sauce) 
  • Carrot sticks with houmous
  • A mixed salad
  • Cooked beans (eg kidney beans) added to soups or stews
  • A banana split

FOODS TO AVOID

  • Steer clear of liver and liver products such as pâté, as the high vitamin A content could harm your baby.
  • Don’t eat raw or partially cooked eggs as they could lead to salmonella poisoning. Be wary of home-made mayonnaise and desserts that may contain raw eggs, such as tiramisu, mousses, soufflés and ice cream.
  • Avoid raw shellfish as this could cause food poisoning. If you do eat shellfish such as prawns when you’re outside the home, try to have them as part of a hot dish. 
  • Don’t eat swordfish, shark, marlin or more than four medium cans of tuna a week. The levels of mercury in these fish could harm your baby’s developing nervous system. 
  • Steer clear of mould-ripened or blue-veined cheeses such as Brie, Camembert or Stilton, as they carry a risk of listeria.
  • Avoid peanuts if you, your partner or children suffer from a nut allergy, hayfever, eczema or asthma.
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WHAT IS LISTERIA?

  • Listeria is a bacterium found in soil, vegetation and sewage that can cause listeriosis, a flu-like illness. But in some cases, sufferers aren’t sick at all.
  • Foods that most commonly contain it include mould-ripened cheeses such as Brie and Camembert; unpasteurised milk; veg and salad that hasn’t been washed properly; ready meals and ready-to-eat poultry.
  • If a pregnant woman contracts listeria it can cause miscarriage, stillbirth or make a newborn baby very ill. 
  • Listeria infections usually develop around three weeks after you’ve eaten the contaminated food. From then it usually takes three days to be passed to the baby.
  • Antibiotics can treat it but because there are few symptoms early on sufferers may not realise they have it.
  • Protect yourself by avoiding high-risk foods; sticking to high standards of hygiene in food preparation; keeping cooked and raw foods apart during storage and thoroughly cooking all foods.

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