Things not to eat while pregnant
Avoid raw fish, oysters, sashimi, smoked salmon and smoked oysters. Consuming two to three serves of most fish (one serve is 150g) per week is fine, but avoid more than one serve in a week of orange roughy (sea perch) and one serve per fortnight of shark (flake) or billfish (marline, swordfish, broadbill) because of their high mercury levels.
The following foods can make both you and your baby ill:
- pate and processed meats
- unpasteurised soft cheese and blue vein cheese
- raw or undercooked eggs
- liver (eating too much or taking excess fish liver oil can lead to an overdose of vitamin A)
- raw seafood, including sushi and sashimi
- smoked fish
- pre-prepared salads and fruit (especially from salad bars)
- raw mushrooms (fine when cooked).
Recommended Daily Serves
- 8½ Bread/cereals, pasta, rice and noodles
- 5x Vegetables
- 3½ Lean meat, fish, poultry, eggs and legumes
- 2½ Dairy
- 2x Fruit
No safe limit for the consumption of alcohol has been established for pregnant women, so medical experts recommend you avoid alcohol altogether for nine months. Instead, aim to drink at least two liters of water a day to prevent dehydration and constipation.
Health professionals warn that drinking alcohol when pregnant can give your baby foetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD), which leads to growth and development delays, as well as brain problems and facial abnormalities.
Cut down on coffee and tea because caffeine is a diuretic that eliminates fluids from the body and suppresses the appetite. Check the safety of herbal teas you intend to drink as some, such as pennyroyal tea, may contain ingredients harmful to an unborn baby.
Remember: Whatever goes into your bloodstream will make its way to your baby via the umbilical cord.
Smoking & Drugs
If you are a smoker, try to give it up before you fall pregnant. Women who smoke in pregnancy are at increased risk of miscarriage, while the danger of stillbirth or their baby dying from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is greater.
Smoking during pregnancy can cause a low birth weight baby, which can be life-threatening. Research has also shown that children who were small at birth are at greater risk of experiencing heart disease, diabetes and strokes later on in life.
Children whose mothers smoked during pregnancy are also more likely to have lung problems later in life and are more likely to develop asthma.
Completely avoid any narcotic substances. Whatever goes into your bloodstream will make its way to your baby via the umbilical cord. If you need to take drugs because of a medical condition, consult your midwife or doctor; if the medication is not safe during pregnancy, there may be an alternative.