Pregnancy/Maternity

Avoiding certain foods and eating healthy during pregnancy

Eating shouldn’t be a worry during pregnancy, but there are many types of food that pregnant women should watch out for. Learn how to keep you and your baby safe.

There’s always been a lot of grey area—and not a whole lot of consensus—around what you can and can’t eat during pregnancy. Because you shouldn’t have to constantly be worried about what you’re eating during pregnancy, here are a few handy tips that will let you chow down in peace.

Forbidden Foods

Some foods and drinks are definitely riskier than others. Even though a glass of wine might seem innocent, it’s best to avoid alcohol altogether so you’ll never have to find out what might happen.

Here are some other things that should be avoided when you’re pregnant:

  • Sushi (raw fish)                        
  • Alcohol
  • Cheese rinds
  • Raw-milk or unpasteurized cheese
  • Processed meats (mortadella, roast beef, turkey breast)
  • Cold meat in aspic
  • Raw eggs (in salad dressing, pancakes, cake and cookie preparation, eggnog, etc.)
  • Meat spreads (pâté, etc.)
  • Unpasteurized fruit juice
  • Uncooked sausages
  • Raw oysters, clams and mussels
  • Steak tartare
  • Blue cheese
Foods to eat in moderation

Some foods should be eaten only in small doses or prepared with special attention. Coffee, for example, should be reduced to one cup a day.

Many species of fish, meanwhile, shouldn’t be had too often. Pregnant women should eat no more than 150 grams of yellowfin tuna, escolar, sea bass, shark, marlin, swordfish or barracuda per month, and no more than 300 grams of canned albacore tuna, cod, bass, redfish and trout per week.

Foodborne illnesses

Take extra caution when defrosting large cuts of meat or poultry. Immerse any meat in cold water, in its original packaging, and change the water often so it’s always cold. That way, the meat will defrost progressively and you’ll reduce your risk of food poisoning, the consequences of which could be disastrous for you and your baby.

How disastrous? During the first three months of pregnancy, food poisoning can cause a miscarriage. Plus, some viruses, bacteria or parasites can affect the placenta, resulting in premature delivery, stillbirth or serious illnesses for your baby. Long story short, the health of your baby depends on the quality and safety of your diet.

If after eating, you suddenly feel nauseated, begin vomiting, suffer from abdominal pain or have diarrhea, contact your doctor.

Preventing cross-contamination

When placing your groceries in your cart, shopping bag or refrigerator, separate fruit and anything else that will be eaten raw such as meat, poultry, fish and seafood. Bacteria contained in meat could contaminate other foods that won’t be cooked, which can lead to food poisoning.

Use plastic bags at your disposal in the produce section to wrap fruits and veggies individually. Do the same with meat, poultry and fish, even if it means swiping a few plastic bags from another section. When you get to the checkout, ask your cashier to place raw foods and meat in separate bags.

Finally, once home, separate these foods in the refrigerator and, if possible, check the internal temperature of your meat with a thermometer designed for this purpose.

Sources: Health CanadaOntario.ca.

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