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Eat your way to a healthy pregnancy
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Foods to avoid when trying to conceive


Certain foods that you should avoid for the 3 months before trying to conceive:

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• Alcohol. It is well known that alcohol should be avoided in pregnancy. This is because it may damage the baby’s developing organs and nervous system or lead to Foetal Alcohol Spectrum disorder with problems such as low birth weight, facial abnormalities and learning and behavioural difficulties. Alcohol can also affect fertility and women who drink less than 5 units a week have been shown to be twice as likely to conceive within 6 months.

• Caffeine. 2-3 cups of caffeinated drinks a day in women may be linked to miscarriage and stillbirth. It is therefore best to avoid caffeine when planning and pregnant until more is understood.

• Foods that may pose a risk of food poisoning. When pregnant, women are advised to avoid foods which could lead to food poisoning. Infection with bacteria such as listeria can often be without symptoms in the mum-to-be or she could have mild fever, headache, nausea, aches and pains which could all be ignored as she could put them down to pregnancy. Unfortunately, the baby’s immune system is immature and not so able to deal with infection and in worst cases it could lead to miscarriage, premature labour or stillbirth.

• As you don’t know if you are pregnant for at least a couple of weeks it is best to avoid these foods when trying as well. The ones to watch are: raw and undercooked eggs and egg products (home-made mayonnaise, ice cream and mousse); pâtés; un-pasteurized milk and cheeses and mould-ripened cheeses (Brie, Camembert, Danish Blue and Stilton); shellfish and raw fish; undercooked meat; unwashed salads and salad bar salads.

• Processed and refined foods. Foods that have been processed in a way that depletes their nutrients should be avoided where possible. Processed foods often have artificial additives and it is not yet fully understood what effects different combinations of these could lead to.


Parenting Editor
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