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A healthy balanced diet will help maintain your wellbeing and provide your baby with the nutrients they need to grow and develop. However, there are some foods that you should stay well away from because they can put you at risk of food poisoning or damage your unborn child.

Cheese
Some cheeses can cause an infection called listeriosis, which could endanger your baby. Hard cheeses such as cheddar, parmesan and pecorino are considered to be safe,even if they have been made with unpasteurised milk because the listeriosis risk is low. You should avoid:

  • Cheeses that are mould-ripened like Brie and Camembert
  • Soft blue cheeses, such as Roquefort and Saint Agur
  • Unpasteurised soft cheeses, including those made from sheep’s and goat’s milk, like Chevre

Unpasteurised milk
Unpasteurised or green top milk can harbour listeria bacteria, so swap it for safe, pasteurised alternatives.

Eggs
Some raw or runny eggs can put you at risk of salmonella, a type of bacterial food poisoning. Eggs with the British Lion stamp have a very low risk of salmonella, so should be chosen if at all possible. If not, make sure any eggs are cooked through so that the white and yolk are both firm. Stay away from:

  • Mousse, unless you are sure British Lion eggs have been used.
  • Homemade ice cream, unless you are sure British Lion eggs have been used.
  • Fresh mayonnaise from delicatessens and restaurants, unless you’re sure that British Lion eggs have been used. ( Are you picking up on the general theme here?!)

Supermarket salad dressings, jars of mayonnaise and mass-produced ice creams are usually safe to eat.

Meat
Most meats are safe to eat throughout pregnancy. However, it’s important to ensure they are piping hot and cooked through, with no sign of pinkness or blood. You should avoid: 

  • Liver, as it contains high levels of vitamin A, which may harm your baby.
  • Cured meats like Parma ham may have a small risk of listeriosis.

Pate
Pate, whether it is made from fish, vegetables or meat may contain listeria bacteria. Instead choose heat treated or UHT pate products, staying well away from any made from liver.

Fish
Fish is great for you and your developing baby, however some fish may contain small amounts of pollutants so you should limit it to two portions a week. These include:

  • Oily fish such as mackerel, salmon, herrings, pilchards and fresh tuna (you can have four cans of tinned tuna)
  • Other fish and shellfish including sea bream, turbot, halibut, dogfish, crab and sea bass.

You should avoid:

  • Raw fish, shellfish and oysters may cause food poisoning
  • Shark, swordfish and marlin, these may contain dangerous levels of mercury.

Smoked salmon is thought to be safe to eat, as long as it is from a reliable and trusted source, such as a supermarket.

Coffee
Lots of women go off coffee in pregnancy. Maybe it’s the body telling them something because too much caffeine has been linked to miscarriage and low birth weight babies. If you still love your latte, then cut your caffeine to 200mg a day. That works out as two mugs of instant coffee, just one mug of filtered coffee, two large cups of tea, or five cans of coke a day.

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