So you're pregnant and everyone's telling you to abstain from your favourite foods? BBC Food's extensive database of pregnancy-friendly recipes will make that nine-month stretch a bit more palatable. Remember – it's as much about including foods that can be beneficial to your baby as it is avoiding foods that may be harmful.
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There are foods that should be avoided during pregnancy as they can be harmful to the unborn baby, such as soft unpasteurised rind cheeses and pâté (both can contain the bacteria listeria). Doctors also recommend that pregnant women abstain from alcohol. Some foods such as eggs don’t have to be completely avoided, but caution must be exercised.
When breastfeeding, small amounts of what you consume can be present in your breast milk and will be passed to your baby. Having alcohol and caffeine during this time can affect your baby, so it’s a good idea to limit your consumption.
Fish: most types of fish can be consumed whilst pregnant, but the amount of fish (especially oily fish) eaten needs to be monitored. Some fish can contain low levels of pollutants that accumulate in their bodies over time, so you should have no more than two portions of:
• Oily fish (such as salmon, fresh tuna, mackerel, sardines and trout)
• The following white fish: sea bass, sea bream, turbot, halibut, and rock salmon (sometimes referred to as dogfish, huss or flake)
• Brown crabmeat
It’s best to avoid shark, swordfish and marlin completely as they can contain high levels of mercury that can affect you’re baby’s neural development. Fresh tuna also can contain high levels of mercury, but rather than miss out on it completely, it needs to be limited to no more than the equivalent of two 140g tuna steaks or four 140g (drained weight) cans of tuna per week.
Dietary requirements change over the course of pregnancy, and choosing nutritious foods is important to both the welfare of you and your baby. Increasing certain minerals and vitamins such as folic acid and vitamin D are necessary for the development of the foetus and your health, respectively. Monitoring your intake of nutrients like vitamin A (from foods such as liver or fish liver oils) is essential as an excess build up of the vitamin can be harmful to the baby
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