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  • Writer's pictureMidwife Pip

Foods to avoid in Pregnancy

Updated: Apr 5, 2022

You get a positive pregnancy test and then hit Google, right?

Often in pregnancy women feel focused on what you cannot eat but actually the list of foods is marginally small compared to all the foods that can be eaten so you need not feel restricted.

Pregnancy Nutrition

Food to Avoid in Pregnancy

OK, so let’s look at the foods to avoid in pregnancy:

  • Unpasteurised dairy (check packaging on foods most supermarket products are pasteurised)

  • Mould ripened cheeses

  • Eggs without a red lion stamp (with a red lion stamp you can have them any way you wish- poached, fried, scrambled, boiled)

  • Raw/ undercooked meat including cured meats (risk of toxoplasmosis which may lead to miscarriage)

  • Pate

  • Liver products (high in Vitamin A)

  • Swordfish, shark and marlin

  • Raw shellfish

  • Limit tuna to 4 cans/ week or 2 steaks/ week (high in Mercury)

  • Limit oily fish to 2 portions/ week (can contain pollutants)

  • Limit caffeine to 200mg/ day

A small list, right?

Now, I don’t know about you but 200mg of Caffeine means not a lot to me! So- what does 200ng Caffeine actually look like? It will vary product to product so checking packaging is important but as a rough guide:

  • Coffee (instant) 100mg/cup

  • Coffee (filter) 140mg/cup

  • Tea 75mg/cup

  • Green tea 20mg/ cup

  • Cola 40mg/ can

  • Energy drinks 160mg

  • Milk Chocolate 50g 20mg

Pregnancy is a powerful time to nourish yourself and your baby towards a healthier future. There are direct links between inadequate nutrition and increased pregnancy complications.

Our diets are made up of 3 macronutrients, we then have multiple vitamins and minerals that are essential to health and wellbeing.

Carbohydrates should be your body’s main source of energy. Carbohydrates are broken down into glucose (sugar) and absorbed into your blood so the glucose can enter your cells and be used by your body for energy. Complex 'brown' carbohydrates over refined, white versions gives you extra fibre and helps maintain your blood sugars.

Protein is composed of amino acids which are often referred to as ‘the building blocks of life’. This is because they are found in every cell of the body and are responsible for repair and growth of cells. Protein requirements increase in pregnancy to 1g/kg of body weight.

Fats, specifically the ‘good’ or un-saturated versions are essential to health and the absorption of certain vitamins such as vitamin A, D and E. Aim to limit your saturated fat intake from foods such as cakes and chocolate and increase your unsaturated fats from sources including nuts, seeds, fish, avocados and olive oil.

Each meal should contain foods from each of these groups to make a balanced diet.

If you want to really find out why Nutrition Matters in Pregnancy, Check Out the Midwife Pip Podcast Episode with Midwife Pip and Lucinda Miller:

The Author:

Pip is a practicing midwife in the UK, currently working as a Delivery Suite Sister she has a wealth of experience supporting parents-to-be through all aspects of pregnancy, birth and the postpartum. Pip has trained and worked in some of the leading maternity units, has continued to study through a master's programme and is passionate about all aspects of women's health and wellness.

Don't forget to follow Midwife Pip on social media @midwife_pip and subscribe to her Midwife Pip Podcast

(NHS, 2013)

Midwife Pip


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