Without the proper nutritional care and food hygiene, both you and your baby might be at risk. By simply following essential safety tips, though, problems can easily be avoided.
Make sure that cold food is kept below 5 Celsius and hot food kept above 60 Celsius before serving. This helps prevent the development of bacteria which can cause food poisoning.
Be sure raw and cooked foods are kept separate. Never make use of the same utensils, like knives, plates and chopping boards, for both.
Never ever defrost frozen food by leaving it at room temperature all day. Defrost overnight in the fridge, or use a microwave.
Use cooked food within 12 hours.
Wash hands carefully with warm, soapy water, then dry them, both before and after handling food.
Listeria can cause listeriosis – a very serious infection. Symptoms can take up to six weeks to occur. If the bacteria is transmitted to your newborn baby, it can cause miscarriage, infection, or stillbirth. Hygienic storage and handling of food is critical.
This can cause headache, fever, abdominal cramps, nausea, diarrohea and vomiting. In some cases, it may also cause miscarriage.
A parasitic infection carried by cats (link to pets and pregnancy) and also found in raw or undercooked meats. It can lead to brain damage or blindness in your unborn child.
Avoid changing the cat litter and any foods or drinks that contain raw egg. When gardening, ensure you wear gloves to protect yourself from coming into contact with cat poo.
All types of sprouts, such as alfalfa sprouts, broccoli sprouts, onion sprouts, sunflower sprouts, radish sprouts, snowpea sprouts, mungbeans and soybeans (raw or cooked) are also best avoided.
Other foods to avoid include:
Cold, smoked and raw seafood, especially oysters
Pre-cooked diced chicken, the type you buy at delicatessans and sandwich shops
Ham and other manufactured meats
Self-service salad bars or packages salads, such as coleslaw and pasta salad
Soft cheese, such as brie, camembert, fetta, cottage and ricotta
Soft-serve ice-cream and thick-shakes
Liver. Although liver is a rich source of iron, it also contains high levels of vitamin A – something which, in excess, can be harmful to a developing baby. Liver should only be consumed in small amounts during pregnancy (a maximum of 50g per week).