Pregnant women need to be aware of the risks associated with everyday foods. Pregnancy increases your vulnerability to infection and there's the added uncertainty that infection and toxins in food can cause serious developmental harm in the fetus.





Checklist: Foods to Avoid In Pregnancy

As pregnancy lowers your immunity, you and your unborn baby are more susceptible to infections from bacteria, viruses and parasites that cause food borne illness. Even though you may not develop any symptoms with an infection, some micro-organisms can cause serious problems in your unborn child. Your baby is also more sensitive to toxins in the food we eat. There's quite a lot to take in and remember, so here we have provided a summarised chart that flags high-risk foods and suggests safe solutions on how to cook and eat them. You can print it off as a handy pocket-size guide to take shopping with you.


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Mercury and fish

Mercury and Fish

Fish is nutritious and the Australian Dietary Guidelines recommend that we consume 1-2 serves per week. However some fish are high in mercury, which is toxic to the developing neurological system. The Food Standards of Australia and New Zealand have published guidelines that limit the amount and types of fish that should be consumed by women planning to become pregnant, are pregnant, breast feeding and children under 6 years. 

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Vitamin A

Vitamin A in Liver, Pate and Supplements

Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin and daily requirements are easily derived from a balanced diet. In pregnancy there is no need for any extra supplements. Studies of pregnant women who have used oral synthetic Vitamin A to treat acne during pregnancy have shown an increase in the incidence of serious abnormalities of the baby's face, brain and heart. For that reason it is advised that pregnant women do not take additional Vitamin A during pregnancy. This includes multi vitamins that are not labeled for use in pregnancy.

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Alcohol Caffeine Smoking

Alcohol, Caffeine and Smoking in Pregnancy

Alcohol in pregnancy continues to cause controversy. Fetal alcohol syndrome is usually associated with repeated binge drinking. However it is now known that in vulnerable women, even a drink per day of alcohol can cause subtle neurological problems in their unborn child e.g. symptoms similar to ADHD . The safest option is to avoid alcohol altogether whilst pregnant. There is no safe level of smoking in pregnancy and women who smoke should be supported to decrease and cease where possible. The safe level of consumption of caffeine per day during pregnancy is 200 mg, equivalent to 2 cups of ground coffee.


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