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14th Jun 2019

7 foods to avoid during pregnancy (that you might not have known about)


Some of it is pretty obvious: don’t drink alcohol; don’t smoke; don’t munch on sashimi or tuck into blue cheese.

Then other dietary advice for pregnant women is vaguer: for example, what about caffeine?

Well, a straightforward solution is – of course – to chat to your GP.

However, in addition, here are seven lesser-known foods that mamas-to-be should probably consider avoiding…

1) Pate

Because of the bacteria – listeria monocytogenes – it may continue. This can be really dangerous during pregnancy; listeriosis can result in miscarriage and stillbirth as well as a sickly newborn baby. Smoked salmon is absolutely fine (in this part of the world at least).

2) Melons

Not all melons – but cantaloupe ones (the green-skinned variety with the orange flesh). That’s because the fruit is cultivated and listeria monocytogenes bacteria can invade the bumpy skin.

Washing the rinds will help, but it’s possibly a risk best avoided. The shop-bought mixed melon fruit packs are safe as the skin has been removed and the melon washed.

3) Pepperoni

Pepperoni and salami are packed with nitrates – preservatives which could be harmful to a developing baby (they’re also both full of salt).

In a similar vein, hot dogs are off the menu for the nine months – although only if they contain pre-cooked meat like Frankfurters. That’s because sausages can be a source of that nasty listeria monocytogene bateria.

However, if you MUST have a cured-meat hit, the NHS in the UK says that “you can reduce any risk from parasites by freezing cured or fermented meats for four days at home before you eat them. Freezing kills most parasites and makes the meat safer to eat”.

4) Liquorice

Any link between liquorice sweets or tea and miscarriage hasn’t been exactly determined – but there is a connection meaning you might want to consider avoiding the sugary treat and hot drink for the duration of your pregnancy. This is especially true of the herbal remedy, liquorice root.

5) Soft cheese

A lot of women are aware that blue cheese is out, but you should scrap the likes of chèvre, brie, and camembert too. Basically, anything with a white rind should be avoided, because these varieties are mould-ripened cheeses. The exception is if they’ve been cooked before eating.

6) Multivitamin supplements

Don’t take high-dose multivitamin supplements, fish liver oil supplements, or any supplements containing vitamin A – as these can harm your unborn baby. Indeed, you should always chat to your GP before popping any sort of pills during your pregnancy.

7) Hollandaise sauce

If you’re a big brunch fan, don’t order eggs benedict. That’s because restaurants will often make sauces and dressings from scratch – using raw egg in the process.

Although the risk of salmonella from raw eggs is much lower now than it was in the past, it’s still best to give home-made Hollandaise sauce or mayonnaise a wide berth.