A pregnant woman's stomach sitting on the couch with a bowl of muesli and a piece of toast in her lap

Foods to avoid during pregnancy

During pregnancy there are a few foods that are best taken off the menu as they can contain certain bacteria that could possibly make you or your unborn child ill.

We suggest steering clear of the following foods while pregnant;

  • Deli meat  - deli meat may contain listeria or salmonella bacteria which can be harmful to your baby. 

  • Uncooked seafood - more likely to contain parasites or bacteria

  • Unpasteurised and soft cheese - may contain Listeria, a bacteria that can cause flu-like symptoms but can be very dangerous for unborn babies.

  • Uncooked eggs - This is due of the risk of the eggs containing salmonella, a bacteria that can cause food poisoning. When you're pregnant, your immune system is weaker, so you're more susceptible to bacteria that can cause food poisoning.

  • Deep sea fish that contain high levels of mercury

  • Sprouts - sprouts are largely consumed raw but eating raw sprouts may increase your risk of developing E.coli and Salmonella.

  • Alcohol - the baby's brain is rapidly developing throughout pregnancy and can be affected by exposure to alcohol at any time.

  • Sushi - Eating raw fish can expose your growing baby to mercury, bacteria, and other harmful parasites.

    A plate of deli meat including salami

It’s natural to worry about your diet during pregnancy. You want to know that your body is being fuelled by foods rich in folate, calcium, protein, vitamin D, iodine and DHA. These nutrients provide you and your baby the nourishment needed to give you the best chance at maintaining a healthy pregnancy.

While it’s not all bad news, there are some nutritional superstars that you want to ensure are regularly included in your diet during your pregnancy.

  • Lentils – great for protein and folate which is vital for you babies brain and nervous system

  • Sweet potato – high in Vitamin A. While Vitamin A is needed during pregnancy, avoid using Vitamin A on your skin as they can increase the risk for birth defects.

  • Banana – great for your daily dose of potassium and vitamin B6. B6 is a great one if you suffer from pregnancy nausea.

  • Lean meat – high in protein and iron helping to keep your hunger at bay. Also, a great option to reduce your chances of becoming anaemic during pregnancy.

  • Edamame – Packed with protein, calcium, iron and folate

  • Avocado – high in folate and vitamin B6 which promotes healthy tissue and brain growth.

  • Yoghurt – helps to provide calcium for your babies growing bones as well as helping to keep your muscles strong.

  • Salmon – packed with DHA omega 3’s which can help reduce the risk of prenatal and postpartum depression.

  • Mango – a great source of vitamin A & C

  • Nuts – loaded with vitamins and minerals such as magnesium, zinc, potassium and vitamin E.

  • Oats – full of fibre helping to keep you fuller for longer.

  • Capsicum – a wonderful source of vitamins C, A and a whole bunch of fibre

  • Carrots – packed with beta-carotene. The body converts the beta-carotene to vitamin A which is critical for your baby’s developing skin, organs and eyes.

  • Kale – a superfood packed with folate, iron, vitamin C, calcium, vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin K and fibre

  • Eggs – full of protein and vitamin D. Vitamin D helps to build strong bones and teeth for your baby. Another benefit of eggs is that they are packed with Choline which is critical for your baby’s brain and nervous systems development.

  • Quinoa – Protein, iron and fibre rich

  • Milk - calcium to strengthen your baby’s bones and teeth

During your pregnancy if you have concerns about your diet, it is always recommended to speak with your nutritionist or GP. They will advise you if your diet is lacking any key nutrients and how to best fuel your body for the remainder of your pregnancy.

 

A bowl of cooked oats topped with blueberries


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