What makes a healthy pregnancy diet? Beware of these foods, which can harm you and your baby. The Department of Nutrition & Dietetics at KK Women's and Children's Hospital (KKH) shares more.
Maintaining a healthy and well-balanced diet during pregnancy is just one part of what constitutes a healthy pregnancy diet. Knowing which drinks and foods to avoid during pregnancy is equally important too.
“During pregnancy, you are more susceptible to infections. And if you do get a bug, it may be harder for your immune system to fight it off. Bacterial infection and consumption of toxins during pregnancy may then lead to serious health problems for your baby,” says Ms Kellie Kong, Dietitian from the
Department of Nutrition & Dietetics,
KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH), a member of the
Dietitians further elaborate on the drinks and foods you should avoid during pregnancy as well as the reason why they should be avoided.
What not to eat during pregnancy:
Unpasteurised soft cheeses and meat pâtés/meat spreads
Unpasteurised soft cheeses such as camembert, brie and gorgonzola, as well as liver pâtés are not recommended during pregnancy. These foods may be contaminated with the bacteria called Listeria. Listeria may cause food poisoning and even lead to miscarriages and stillbirths.
However, you don’t have to say goodbye to cheese completely during pregnancy. Hard cheeses such as cheddar, swiss and parmesan as well as processed cheese are safe to consume during pregnancy – so long as they are made with pasteurised milk.
Raw and undercooked meat, eggs and seafood
It is best to avoid sashimi, eggs benedict and medium rare steaks when you’re pregnant. Eating raw or undercooked meat, eggs and seafood during pregnancy can expose you and your baby to bacteria that cause food poisoning such as Salmonella, E. coli and Listeria.
Cooking these foods thoroughly and at the right temperature can help eliminate the bacteria. When these foods are served, they should be hot, and not at room temperature. Bacteria in food can multiply in room temperature and make you ill.
Homemade sauces that contain raw eggs should be avoided too.
Large deep-sea fishes like shark, swordfish, king mackerel and tilefish
In the US, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not recommend eating large fishes such as shark, swordfish, king mackerel, tilefish and bigeye tuna during pregnancy. This is because they may contain high levels of mercury, a heavy metal that is toxic to the development of your baby’s neurological system. The agency also advises pregnant women to limit fishes higher in mercury levels to only one serving per week (approximately 4 ounces) with no other fishes consumed in the same week - they include chilean seabass, grouper, monkfish, snapper, albacore (white) tuna, yellowfin tuna and spanish mackerel (batang).
In Singapore, the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority (AVA) monitors the mercury levels of imported fish and recommends eating a variety of fish.
Read on for
more foods you should avoid during pregnancy.