Avoidance during Pregnancy

When pregnant it is important that staying as healthy as possible is always sat the forefront so that the pregnancy can go without complications and that the baby develops correctly. It often seems that there are a mound of ‘does and don’ts’ but along as the mind is sensible it will seem quite straight forward.

Smoking While Pregnant

Smoking while not pregnant is unhealthy and bad for you so common sense would suggest that smoking when pregnant is also unhealthy and seriously bad for both the pregnant woman and also the baby. It is strongly recommended that giving up smoking even when trying to conceive is essential as harmful chemical from smoking can be passed to the unborn baby.

Drinking Alcohol

It is not definite how much alcohol is actually safe to drink during pregnancy so it is often advised that consuming no alcohol is best practise especially for the first three months. Drinking can be passed to the baby via the blood stream and placenta therefore the foetus/baby will be consuming toxins. Drinking can cause miscarriage, premature birth and may even lead to stillbirth. It can inturn damage the cells in the developing foetus/baby resulting in complications and defects forming. Drinking while pregnant can cause the baby to grow up with social and learning difficulties and in more severe cases developmental and growth abnormalities.

Foods to Avoid

Cheeses seem to be a big one when it comes to foods to avoid but it is important to remember that it is only certain cheeses that should not be eaten as cheese is a good source of calcium. Cheeses such as; brie, camembert and chevre , cheeses that are soft and mould ripened which may grow bacteria such as listeria which is harmful to an unborn baby.

Seafood especially raw seafood may contain parasites which can make a person ill and dry up the body’s nutrients which the foetus/baby will need. Well cooked fish is safe to eat and is often considered a must while pregnant for omega 3 especially if it is oily. Raw shell fish must be avoided as it may contain harmful bacteria and viruses resulting in food poisoning. Limiting the amount of tuna consumed is also recommended as it contains mercury which can be harmful to an unborn baby.
Pate is considered as an avoidance food even if it is vegetarian pate as it may contain high level of listeria which is largely associated with food poisoning. When pregnant the body is more likely to be susceptible to listeria as the body’s defence system against this type of bacteria is lessened. Listeria can cause miscarriage, premature birth and even still birth so it is vital that it is avoided at all costs.

Peanuts is quite a tricky subject, some say it’s fine to consume peanuts while pregnant unless of course the pregnant women has an allergy to them, as unborn baby’s will not go on to have nut allergy or any others allergies as a result while others see the issue as controversy. It was said that pregnant women who have a family history of allergies should avoid eating peanuts as it increased the risk of the unborn child of having an allergy but has lack of evidence in its favour.
Liver is another food to definitely avoid whether it’s actual liver, liver pate, liver sausage or anything else containing liver as it contains high level of retinol, a type of vitamin A. High levels of this certain type of Vitamin A can be harmful to the unborn baby. Other types of vitamin A are needed for skin, eyes and immune system to keep them healthy but can be gathered from foods such as butter, eggs and cheese.

Eggs should be cooked well and is important to avoid uncooked eggs which some food products such as certain mayonnaises may include as they may contain salmonella bacteria.

Meats should always be cooked thoroughly no pink or blood parts left, juices must run clear. Barbeque food can be an issue as it is hard to tell how long or how hot to cook each food. When pregnant all barbeque meats and fishes must be cooked thoroughly and be well done as if not harmful bacteria can form, bacteria such as salmonella E. coli and campylobacter. The type of food poisoning from uncooked meat and fish won’t necessary harm an unborn baby but can make the pregnant women ill.

Salads and Vegetable if unwashed can be harmful to an unborn baby as they may contain a parasite called toxoplasmosis. This type of parasite can be found in cat poo, uncooked meat, unwashed salads and vegetables and any utensils connected with raw meat and unwashed salads and vegetables. There is a very low risk that a pregnant woman will come into contact with toxoplasmosis but if it does occur it can have very serious effects on the unborn baby which can range from learning difficulties, organ damage, blindness, deafness to brain damage. Some pregnancies connected with toxoplasmosis can result in miscarriage or stillbirth.

For more information regarding food guidelines its worth checking out the www.foodsafety.gov>

Drinking coffee, tea and herbal teas all should be limited and consumed in a controlled manner as they contain caffeine even green tea. Caffeine has been connected to miscarriage and low birth weights so it important to weigh up the pros and cons.