While most moms-to-be know that they can’t eat sushi or have a glass of wine, there are some foods that you might be surprised to hear aren’t safe for pregnant women to eat because of their increased risk of bacterial or parasitic contamination. If you’ve eaten some of these but your pregnancy is going fine, don’t panic – just add them to the list of foods to avoid in future.
Hot dogs and sandwich meats
Those viennas might taste great sandwiched in white bread with a good helping of tomato sauce, but they’re not safe to eat as they can be contaminated with the Listeria virus. The same goes for cold cut ham, chicken and other processed meats. The exception? If you heat them up by cooking them before serving. This will kill off any bacteria that might be present in the meat.
Freshly squeezed fruit juice
Fresh fruit juices definitely give you a healthy dose of vitamins and fibre, but it turns out that it isn’t a great bet for pregnant women. There’s a risk of cross contamination from the quick juicing and chopping, and you can’t tell if the fruit has been properly cleaned, so fruit and veggie juices can carry E. coli, which you definitely want to avoid.
Luckily, you don’t have to give up your coffee entirely but experts recommend you limit it to one cup per day. High levels of caffeine are thought to be linked to higher incidence of miscarriage, as well as birth defects and premature birth. Though more research is needed, most experts say that it is safest to limit your intake. Remember that there can often be high caffeine content in soft drinks and chocolate, so check those labels!
Anything with raw egg
Obviously, you probably know about the risk of eating raw eggs, but you may not be aware of some of the foods that could contain them. Meringue, for instance. Or homemade salad dressing and ice cream? Tirasmisu? Hollandaise sauce? And no licking the bowl before you bake brownies, cake or cookies either – these raw or undercooked eggs could give you Salmonella.
South Africans love a good bowl of peri-peri livers with some bread rolls on the side to mop up the sauce. While liver is usually considered a very healthy good, it contains extremely high levels of retinol which is a type of Vitamin A. Too much retinol is associated with a higher risk of birth defect so liver should really only be eaten in moderation, if at all.
If you're pregnant, why not check out the MiLittleLife Birth Benefit? We'll be there to ease your worries about birth defects and abnormalities, by providing financial protection against some of the birth common ones.