During the nine months of pregnancy, there are many foods that you must not eat, foods that are not recommended or foods that sometimes must just be eaten in moderation. Therefore, it isn’t always easy to know what you can eat or not eat when you’re pregnant. Here is a little overview of the food you should pay attention to if you are expecting a bundle of joy!
All dairy products (milk, cheese or yoghurt) containing unpasteurised milk should be avoided because they can cause listeriosis. The bacteria that cause this disease are very resistant and spread very quickly. Therefore, soft cheeses (camembert, brie) or cheeses with a washed rind (Munster) cannot be eaten at all. However, make sure you get enough calcium: you can keep on eating hard cheeses, fromage blanc cheese, as well as yoghurt and pasteurised milk.
All raw molluscs and shellfish are strictly to be avoided throughout pregnancy. Indeed, they can both lead to food poisoning and also cause hepatitis A. However, prawns, shrimps, mussels and scallops are allowed if they are cooked and, more importantly, impeccably fresh. Take care with oysters, as even if they are served hot, oysters remain raw and therefore must not be eaten. So-called predatory fish, such as swordfish, shark and tuna (except for canned tuna), can be eaten a maximum of once a week because it contains a lot of mercury. Finally, all raw fish, either in the form of sushi, carpaccio, surimi or even taramasalata, must also be avoided as a precaution against listeriosis.
All raw meat should be avoided because of listeriosis, but also toxoplasmosis. The latter can be found in most meat, especially lamb and mutton. However, if you have already had toxoplasmosis you are immune to it. There will still be a risk of listeriosis, so carpaccio, raw meat and other very rare or medium rare meat is still prohibited.
Fruit and vegetables:
Like raw meats, many fruits and vegetables may cause toxoplasmosis if you are not immune to them. You need to be very careful when washing fruit and vegetables, especially if they are fresh from the field. Fruits include peaches, nectarines, clingstone nectarines, plums, red berries (blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, etc.), pears, apples, plums, etc.
As for vegetables – artichokes, asparagus, aubergines, beetroots, carrots, mushrooms, cucumbers, the whole bean family (red beans, French beans, cranberry beans), lettuce, lamb’s lettuce, potatoes, leeks, radishes or tomatoes. In general, raw vegetables should be avoided, even vacuum-sealed ones. Finally, some vegetables – in particular the cabbage family (cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, red cabbage, etc.), as well as peppers and chili peppers – can cause digestive problems, so do not eat excessive amounts of them.
All desserts or food made with raw eggs, especially food prepared outdoors, may cause listeriosis and salmonellosis, which can lead to premature birth. Unfortunately, you will have to say goodbye to chocolate mousses, crème anglaise or chantilly cream as they pose a high risk of listeriosis. To limit this risk, choose industrially-made desserts or home-made desserts with very fresh eggs, which have a very short shelf-life.
Plants and spices:
Some plants must be avoided because they can cause contractions, premature birth and sometimes even miscarriages. Therefore you must be very careful with ginger, linden, ginseng, hibiscus, lavender, nutmeg, parsley, liquorice, rosemary, but also rhubarb, which poses higher risks. Finally, cinnamon has an anticoagulant action and may lead to excessive blood flow stimulation, as well as, sometimes, premature birth.
Limit food made with soya, as it contains phytoestrogens, which can disrupt the baby’s hormonal system.
Ice creams and crème glacées can cause listeriosis, so opt for industrially-made ice creams rather than home-made ones. In general, you need to pay attention to sugary products that may cause gestational diabetes, i.e. diabetes that develops during pregnancy. Unfortunately during your pregnancy you will need to limit little pleasures like pastries or sweets.
Alcohol It is advisable to refrain completely from drinking alcohol during pregnancy, as it crosses the placenta and passes directly into the baby’s bloodstream. This can lead to foetal alcohol syndrome, which is very dangerous to the baby’s health.
Caffeine Caffeine is found in coffee but also in tea, herbal teas or cola-based fizzy drinks. This can have adverse effects on the heart rate, stress levels and even sleep. In large quantities, caffeine can cause miscarriage or premature birth with an underweight baby. Pay special attention to tea and herbal teas, which can prevent the absorption of iron for the baby.
Energy drinks should be strictly avoided as they can cause premature birth. If you suffer from water retention or high blood pressure, do not drink too much fizzy water, as it is rich in salt. Syrups and fizzy drinks, which are generally high in sugar, can lead to gestational diabetes.
Food high in fat:
Some foods, like most cakes, sweets but also fried food, dishes with sauce and food from fast-food chains do not provide any vitamins or nutrients and will instead promote weight gain during pregnancy. Despite cravings, try to avoid this kind of food as much as you can!
Here is a brief reminder of the little habits you need to take:
* Wash all your fruit and vegetables,
* Eat fish, meat and eggs shortly after purchasing them and cook them well,
* Avoid unpasteurised dairy products,
* Pay attention to alcohol and caffeine!