Pregnancy – What to Avoid

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Pregnancy is a very special time for mother and baby.

As a mother during pregnancy you are connected to your baby via the placenta, it is your baby’s lifeline. The placenta brings important things, such as oxygen and nutrients, to your baby and it removes the waste products that your baby produces while in your womb.

However the placenta cannot stop harmful substances such as alcohol and nicotine, from smoking, crossing from you to your baby.

· Avoid alcohol – this could lead to Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
· Avoid caffeine – this can reduce absorption of certain nutrients
· Avoid smoking – this can cause problems for mother and baby
· Avoid drugs & medicines – only take prescribed medicines but always consult your doctor before doing so or if you are unsure
· Avoid herbal supplements – the effects of some herbal drugs are not known, always consult your doctor if you are unsure
· Avoid fish at risk of contamination by mercury – this means such fish as fresh tuna, swordfish, shark, king mackerel or tilefish
· Avoid fish at risk of contamination by chemicals such as PCB’s (industrial pollutants): bluefish, stripped bass, salmon, trout, walleye. Supplements can offer a pure source of essential fatty acids
· Avoid foods at risk of contamination by listeriosis bacteria: unpasterised milk, soft cheese (such as brie, camembert, cambozola & stilton), raw vegetables and raw seafood (such as crabs, oysters, prawns)
· Avoid foods at risk of contamination by other bacteria: raw meat such as sushi, seafood (shellfish), rare or uncooked meat or poultry.
· Avoid raw egg foods such as caesar dressing, mayonnaise, home made ice cream or custard, tiramisu or hollandaise sauce.
· Avoid foods such as liver and liver products (pate or liver sausage) and fish liver oils (cod liver oil) contain high levels of vitamin A. Excess levels of which have been shown to be harmful to growing babies.
· Avoid excess salt intake – cut back on your intake of table salt (sodium chloride) by avoiding obviously salty foods, checking labels of pre-bought foods (75 per cent of dietary table salt is hidden in processed foods) and avoid adding it during cooking or at the table
· Avoid trans fatty acids – this includes highly processed foods and foods that have been cooked using oils taken to very high temperatures (hydrogenated foods). These are not only associated with high cholesterol but also the reduction in absorption of essential fatty acids. Use olive oil or rapeseed oil during cooking, do not re-use oils. When you need a snack try fruit or raw vegetable nibbles instead of pastries, cakes, biscuits or crisps.
· Avoid refined sugars and try to regulate sugar intake, keep your intake of sweets, chocolates and sugary, fizzy rinks to a minimum.

Some of these foods are very difficult to eliminate but you must try to reduce them if you can.

Some last tips – Good Housekeeping

· Keep your kitchen clean and dry
· Keep fridge temperatures below 5°C (41°F) and freezer below -18°C (0°F)
· Wash hands thoroughly before preparing foods
· Store raw meat at the bottom of the fridge, covered, and keep it separate from cooked foods
· Defrost frozen produce thoroughly before cooking
· Cook foods thoroughly, and throw away any that are past their use-by dates
· Finally, keep pets out of the kitchen at all times.

Finally it is good to remember – You are what you eat and Your baby is also what you eat.

For more information on many of the above topics and a week-by-week view of your pregnancy visit the From Little Acorns Academy website.

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