Food Safety In Pregnancy

As soon as you find out you’re pregnant, you may want to start considering what foods and nutrients are going into your body and which foods to avoid.

Foods that are best avoided during pregnancy include;

Meat, Poultry & Seafood contain important vitamins and minerals, however there are some that you should avoid, including:

  • Processed meats (e.g salami, ham, chicken slices)
  • Any raw meat
  • Cold meats in a salad bar
  • Raw seafood or ready-to-eat prawns
  • Pate’s & meat spreads
  • Sushi purchased from a shop

Dairy & Eggs are an excellent source of calcium and vitamins, however the following should be avoided:

  • Soft and semi-soft cheeses (brie, camembert, ricotta, feta, blue cheese)
  • Soft serve and fried ice-cream
  • Any unpasteurised or raw dairy products (milk, cream, yoghurt)
  • Raw eggs on their own or in uncooked fresh food products such as mayonnaise, aioli and chocolate mousse.

All the above should be avoided as they could carry harmful bacteria such as salmonella or listeria, which could put your baby at risk during your pregnancy.

Safe to eat:

  • Hot takeaway BBQ chickens, meats, etc. provided they are freshly cooked and eaten whilst still hot.  Only keep for one day, and reheat to over 60 degrees before consuming.
  • Home cooked meats, providing they are cooked to over 70 degrees and eaten within a day – reheated to over 60 degrees.
  • Cooked fish to over 60 degrees, and eaten hot.  To be eaten within a day and re-heated to over 60 degrees
  • Home-made sushi – providing its eaten straight away and doesn’t contain seafood or cold meats
  • Processed cheese, cheese spreads, cottage cheese, cream cheese – eat within 2 days of opening
  • Hard cheeses – to be stored in fridge
  • Normal ice cream – to be eaten whilst frozen
  • Pasteurised milk, cream, yoghurt, custard
  • Cooked eggs (scrambled/fried), quiches
  • Store bought, non-refrigerated commercial products such as mayonnaise are okay to eat as they contain pasteurised eggs. Just be sure to follow storage instructions and check best before/use by dates.

Healthy weight gain during pregnancy

Steady weight gain during pregnancy is normal and important for your health and your developing baby. However, it is also important not to gain too much weight.

If you are pregnant, a good approach is to eat to satisfy your appetite and continue to monitor your weight. For women who are a healthy weight, it is recommended that you gain between 11.5 and 16 kg. Underweight women may need to gain more weight (between 12.5 and 18 kg). If you are overweight, pregnancy is not the time to start dieting or trying to lose weight. However, it is recommended for women who are overweight to gain less weight during pregnancy (between 5 and 11.5 kg).
You need around an extra 300 calories per day during the 2nd and 3rd Trimesters, and it’s a myth that you must “eat for two”.

Alcohol during pregnancy

There is no known safe level of alcohol consumption for women who are pregnant. Consuming alcohol during pregnancy increases the risk of miscarriage, low birth weight, congenital deformities and effects on the baby’s intelligence.
The Australian Guidelines to Reduce Health Risks from Drinking Alcohol recommend that the safest option for pregnant women is not to drink alcohol at all. If you find it difficult to decrease or stop drinking alcohol during pregnancy talk to your Doctor.

Drugs & Medications

There is no safe level of recreational drug use in pregnancy and you need to check any medications with your General Practitioner, Obstetrician or Pharmacist to ensure they are safe during pregnancy.



Pregnancy Resources