Pregnancy – Food Do’s & Do Not’s

Leyton’s Mumma Says…


Pregnancy… for a process which hasn’t changed in forever, we seem to change the ‘rules’ for it all the time. I was really strict in my pregnancy for what I did, ate, positions I slept in…. I tried to follow all the rules I could in an attempt to help things along in something that can’t actually be controlled. (For more pregnancy related posts click here.) Maybe it was my way of trying to control things, to influence something which the outcome feels so out of your hands. Everyone is different and a lot of people will tell you how drinking a few glasses of wine, or eating a few runny eggs and pink steaks doesn’t make a difference, but in my eyes it’s only 9 months without a few items and it’s a pivotal developmental time for your baby so I’ll personally do whatever I can to ensure the best start as possible…. But considering the rules change all the time, I’m sure things I did/ate in pregnancy now will in years to come be not suitable!

The general rule is: anything that could put you at risk of food poisoning avoid in pregnancy.

We are learning things all the time. We have more information around than ever before, more research and tips on what we should or shouldn’t do, I’ve collated it below…



Well-done steak – don’t worry its only for 9 months!

Do not eat raw or undercooked meat, including meat joints and steaks cooked rare, because of the potential risk of toxoplasmosis. Cook all meat and poultry thoroughly so it’s steaming hot and there’s no trace of pink or blood.


Many cold meats, such as salami, Parma ham, chorizo and pepperoni, are not cooked, they are just cured and fermented so could still put you at risk of toxoplasmosis. I didn’t eat any in pregnancy but if you want to, make sure you read the packet in case you need to cook it first.



Avoid all types of pâté, even vegetable pâtés, as they can contain listeria.



Don’t eat liver or liver-containing products such as liver pâté, liver sausage or haggis, as they may contain a lot of vitamin A. Too much vitamin A can harm your baby.



Don’t eat marlin, shark or swordfish.


You should also avoid having more than two portions of oily fish a week, such as salmon, trout, mackerel and herring. Oily fish has great health benefits but because it can contain pollutants you should limit the amount [pollutants such as dioxins and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)]. There is a guideline on Tuna too, of no more than 140g of Tuna a week as it is high in mecury.


Don’t eat raw shellfish, ensure they are cooked thoroughly first.




The latest advice on Nuts is that you can eat peanuts or food containing peanuts (such as peanut butter) during pregnancy, unless you are allergic to them, or a health professional advises you not to. Apparently studies show avoiding peanuts altogether might actually increase your risk of an allergy and it seems nuts are a good thing to eat in pregnancy due to their health benefits, but you would need to do your own research on this and make your own mind up!



Don’t eat mould-ripened soft cheese (cheeses with a white rind) such as brie and camembert, including mould-ripened soft goats cheese and soft blue-veined cheeses. Some websites say they are ok cooked but this is personal choice as to whether you risk it. Because soft cheeses contain more moisture they can be an ideal environment for harmful bacteria, such as listeria, to grow in leading to illness that could result in miscarriage or illness in your baby.


You can eat Soft Cheese that uses pasteurized milk, such as cottage cheese, mozzarella, feta, cream cheese, ricotta, halloumi, goats’ cheese, processed cheeses (such as cheese spreads).


You can eat hard cheeses such as cheddar, parmesan and stilton, even if they’re made with unpasteurised milk as they contain less moisture and therefore much lower risk of listeria.



Avoid raw or partially cooked eggs (even runny eggs) if you’re pregnant as they carry the risk of salmonella food poisoning. Also avoid foods that contain raw and undercooked eggs, such as homemade mayonnaise. Jars are usually ok.



Yes that is a soft drink!

Yes that is a soft drink!

In November 2012 a new study claimed even moderate drinking in pregnancy could lower your child’s IQ, and there could be potential health problems. New recommendations in the Uk is although guidelines say a maximum of 2 units a week, ideally don’t  drink any alcohol whilst pregnant.




Limit your intake to 200g a day which is roughly the same as 2 cups of instant coffee or 4 cups of tea – but with a lot of decaf options available in the shops now, that would be a safer option. Remember chocolate, some fizzy drinks etc contain caffeine too so in my pregnancy I opted for drinking decaf but eating lots of chocolate instead! Remember fruit teas are a lovely alternative too but anything with Raspberry Leaves should be avoided until after 37 weeks as some people say it can bring on/ speed up labour. Also avoid Sage and Parsley Tea as it could cause miscarriage.


Generally with all of the above, just do things in moderation!!

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