No doubt many of you have read or heard about what foods you should be avoiding in pregnancy. This is to avoid the contamination of listeria. This is a bacteria that can contaminate food thereby causing infection, which can be passed on to the baby, leading to miscarriage or possible stillbirth.
Thankfully it isn’t common and the risk can be reduced by following a few simple food handling practices such as; washing your hands and utensils prior to handling food, washing raw vegies, keeping cold food refrigerated, using cooked food within 12 hours and always reheating food to boiling point.
Having said that, there are a number of foods to avoid when pregnant, as they are more susceptible to contamination including:
- Soft cheeses such as brie, camembert, feta, cottage, ricotta and goats cheese
- Deli meats and pre-packaged meats such as ham, salami and chicken
- Pre-packaged, self-serve, smorgasbord salads, pastas, coleslaw and fruit
- Cold smoked and raw seafood such as smoked oysters, sushi, prawns
- Soft serve ice cream and thick shakes
Is alcohol safe in moderation?
So what we do know is that we don’t know what level of consumption is safe during pregnancy! Drinking 7 or more drinks per week and binge drinking can be harmful. It can interfere with the development of the baby’s brain and slow down physical growth. Consumption also increases the risk of miscarriage, low birth weight, congenital deformities and effects intelligence. Babies affected by alcohol also tend to have low birth weights. To eliminate the risk therefore, it’s best to cut out alcohol completely.
What about caffeine?
Caffeine is a chemical, a stimulant found most commonly in tea, coffee, cola, energy drinks and chocolate. There is no evidence that large amounts of caffeine contribute to birth defects, but I think it is wise to exercise caution. I recommend limiting your intake. Try doing a decaf coffee or tea.