When you become pregnant you will soon realise that there are a long list of things you are not supposed to do.
It is better to adopt a "better safe than sorry" approach to the guidelines, but if you do find that you have done or eaten something listed below - for example eaten a soft cheese - there is probably no need to worry. It is unlikely that it has done the baby any harm as most of the risks are very small.
Foods to Avoid When Pregnant
The following food may contain high levels of listeria, which can cause a flu like illness called literalism and is linked to miscarriage and still birth. It is rare in the UK and America.
* Soft or blue veined cheeses (brie, camembert, stilton). Processed and hard cheeses pose no risk.
* Pate. This includes vegetable pate.
* Prepared salads such as coleslaw.
Food poisoning, in severe cases, can lead to miscarriage or premature labour. Therefore you should avoid:
* Raw or undercooked meat and poultry.
* Unpasteurised milk
* Raw eggs or products containing raw egg, (such as mayonnaise)
* Raw shellfish
Excessively high levels of vitamin A is linked to birth defects. Foods that are high in vitamin A, which it is recommended you should avoid, are:
* Liver and liver products such as pate.
Fish is very good to you and can still form part of a balanced diet when you are pregnant. But you should not eat more than two portions of oily fish a week. Oily fish include:
* Fresh tuna - tinned tuna does not count as an oily fish, but you should restrict your intake of tinned tuna to no more than 4 140g cans a week (equivalent of about 3 tuna salads).
Mercury can damage a developing baby's nervous system if consumed in high levels. Do not eat:
Drinks to Avoid
* Alcohol - Heavy drinking in pregnancy can cause foetal alcohol syndrome. It is recommended by the Department of Health in the UK that pregnancy women consume no more than one or two units of alcohol in one sitting, and should not drink alcohol more than twice a week. Ideally, pregnant women should abstain altogether to ensure no adverse effects to their baby.
* Caffeine - High levels of caffeine in early pregnancy has been linked with miscarriage. High caffeine consumption can also deplete the mother's iron levels which can both inhibit the baby's development and make the mother very lethargic. Try not to have more than 200mg a day.
The best thing to do during pregnancy to keep you and your baby healthy is to use your common sense. Government guidelines and scientific studies are constantly altering or contradicting the current advice on what is safe during pregnancy. So trust your instincts and you are unlikely to go wrong.