Choosing a well-balanced diet filled with vitamin-rich healthy foods is the best way to prepare your body for pregnancy.
Christmas is usually a time to gather with family or friends. Typically these celebrations centre around a variety of foods. Because pregnant people are at increased risk for foodborne illness, and foodborne illness can harm a growing baby, it’s safest to steer clear of some traditional Christmas offerings.
The good news is that there are still plenty of dishes that are pregnancy-safe, as well as many that can easily be modified to be safe to eat during pregnancy.
The following foods pose an increased risk for food-born illness and are best avoided.
Undercooked Ham is not healthy for a Mama to be
For many of us, it simply is not Christmas without a lovely Christmas ham. This talked-about traditional food can still be enjoyed while pregnant however for the sake of your unborn baby please make sure it is cooked to perfection.
You may become infected with the Toxoplasma parasite if you eat meat that is raw or pink and bloody in the middle
Stuffing Cooked in a Chicken
This year, skip the stuffing (which is cooked inside of the Chicken) as stuffing is cooked inside the chicken, it runs the risk of being contaminated by undercooked meat as well as not getting hot enough on the inside to destroy those germs.3
Many people enjoy baking for the holidays. Families traditionally love to make cookies and cakes. Just be watchful that you don’t sample the batter while cooking or contaminate a surface that isn’t cleaned with the raw batter. Uncooked cookie dough contains raw egg and uncooked flour, both of which can harbour dangerous bacteria and must be cooked before eating.
Try snacking on some pregnancy-safe foods as you bake and wait until your baking is done before sampling.
Soft or Unpasteurized Cheeses
If you love a savoury cheese platter then I am afraid the next 9 months may test you, after all, there is nothing as yummy as a big tray full of hors-d’oeuvres like fruit and soft cheeses.
While pregnant, it’s important to opt for cheese made with pasteurized milk. Luckily, many of the cheeses are made with pasteurized milk. Check the ingredient label to be sure that the product was made with pasteurized milk—it should say “made with pasteurized milk” on the label as well as in the ingredient list.
I love that you wish to eat healthy food during your pregnancy however these need to be thoroughly washed before you eat them. They can be exposed to bacteria in the soil, contamination via animal-based fertilizer, and bacteria on other shoppers’ hands at the store. If not properly washed, you’re also exposed.
Take charge of washing them yourself to ensure a good, thorough scrubbing using a vegetable brush.
Your baby cannot process alcohol as well as you can, and too much exposure to alcohol can seriously affect their development. Drinking alcohol, especially in the first 3 months of pregnancy, increases the risk of miscarriage, premature birth and your baby having a low birthweight.
For this reason, watch for hidden alcohol in drinks and always ask if you’re unsure of the ingredients. If you want a fun substitute, consider sparkling Apple cider.
If you love cocktails, you can always choose a non-alcoholic Mocktail this Christmas such as a Watermelon ‘nojitos’
This is our alcohol-free version of a mojito. It features watermelon and fresh mint for real summer flavour.
General Food Safety
You have worked so hard to fall pregnant and it’s now your task to nourish your body and your baby.
Remember to wash your hands with soap and water before, during and after food preparation to avoid germs and contaminating other foods and surfaces (cross-contamination).
Thoroughly clean surfaces and utensils that have come into contact with raw meats, unpasteurized cheeses, and raw unwashed produce with warm, soapy water.
When it’s all said and done, be sure to get food into the refrigerator within two hours for maximum safety.
Although we have spoken about the foods which are harmful to you throughout your pregnancy there are also plenty of foods.
From my family to yours, enjoy a very happy festive season and may your healthy baby be the perfect gift for the new year.