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Not knowing what I can/cant eat is driving me mad! UK

(28 Posts)
Nicolle468 Wed 01-Nov-17 12:16:20


Please can someone help put my mind at ease. This is my first pregnancy and I have just had my appointment with my doctor at 9 and a half weeks and he wasn't particularly helpful!

Now waiting on getting my booking appointment with the midwife, but not fully understanding what I can/cant eat is making life more difficult then it needs to be and then worrying about what I have eaten not being safe.

Isn't it crazy they let you go this far without any advice!

I understand no soft/mouldy cheeses, only pasteurized milk, no under cooked/raw meat, no raw eggs unless they are red lion stamped etc.

Where I'm struggling most is lunch at the office where I would normally just grab a sandwich or something. Can I eat pre-cooked chilled meat? I've seen such conflicting advice online where some say its fine as its already been cooked and others say you have to reheat it before eating.

No cold chicken sandwich or sausage rolls for me?! Am I overthinking things too much?

Thank you x

1stX Wed 01-Nov-17 12:21:07

The NHS website is a good start. It's mostly common sense. Pre cooked meats like ham etc are normally ok from supermarkets etc. You just have to be careful with things that might have been sat about for long periods like on a deli

ZaphodBeeblerox Wed 01-Nov-17 12:45:20

Take a deep breath. And relax.

GP/midwives will all refer you to the NHS website which has a neat handy list of things you can and cannot eat.

I find it useful to also understand why.

For a start : drugs and smoking significantly affect the foetus. So does alcohol although evidence on the quantity of alcohol that’ll affect a foetus are mixed. NHS advice is strongly to completely avoid all three while pregnant.

The other big risks are listeriosis, toxoplasmosis and other bacterial infections. Basically you don’t want to take even the small risks one would take before when it comes to food. Pre pregnancy I might cut off the moldy heel and eat the rest of the bread, now I wouldn’t risk it.

Toxoplasmosis is undetectable and has no symptoms for you but will have a bad effect on foetus. Transmitted from undercooked meat, cat litter, gardening etc. If you’ve always had cats etc you’re likely to have had it before and be immune (I am, a blood test will tell you). If you don’t know, you need to avoid changing cat litter, gardening and any meat that’s not medium-well to well done.

Any processed meat should also be cooked, so pepperoni on pizza is okay, but cold deli meat etc is not.

Listeriosis comes from food that has water in it where the bacteria thrive. And is killed off by heat. So cool or room temperature liquid-y food poses this risk. Hard Parmesan is okay, goats cheese on pizza or a baked Camembert is okay, but a soft cheese sitting out at room temp is risky.

Does that sort of make sense?
Sushi is down to individual preference. My obgyn said okay to tuna and salmon because they are frozen at source anyway, but no to any other sushi,

No shark or any mercury containing foods, tuna only one portion a week. Because otherwise mercury builds up to unacceptable levels.

New advice is that soft / runny eggs are all okay now, previously not.

Go through the website, learn what the risks are - then it makes it easier to remember what is okay and what is not. Otherwise just memorising a long list feels tedious and illogical.

Wish you a safe and pleasant pregnancy!

Hulaballoo Wed 01-Nov-17 12:58:59

Ovia pregnancy app is great. There's an alphabetical list you can find all sorts and check there. X

KarateKitten Wed 01-Nov-17 13:01:46

I just eat everything. It makes life simple. But I do know the rules and why so either don't bother with something if I don't really fancy it or keep to a low amount of it if it's a vitamin A issue.

But yes, NHS is a good start and realising it's 'best to avoid' rather than 'will probably harm your baby'.

Rebeccaslicker Wed 01-Nov-17 13:19:22

I really wouldn't worry too much - just keep it clean and avoid shellfish, raw meat and mouldy/soft cheeses unless you can see they are pasteurised. Eggs are fine soft if they are lion stamped.

I spent an hour tearfully googling "does Leon use pasteurised eggs in its tahini sauce" when I was about your stage with DD; then I went on holiday at 28 weeks with a pregnant friend who lay on her back; sunbathed all day; drank one glass of wine each day of the weekend; ate goats cheese and generally had a great time. Both babies were equally healthy!!

I think we worry too much. Just try and relax; there really isn't that much you can't have.

hometownunicorn Wed 01-Nov-17 13:22:54

I second reading the nhs advice list, which is pretty straightforward.

Also, have a read of expecting better which lays out the risks and evidence of various things in pregnancy (food, exercise, booze, caffeine). It’s clearly written and I found it really helped me relax about the food choices I was making.

EssentialHummus Wed 01-Nov-17 13:25:07

Great post from zaphod.

Ecureuil Wed 01-Nov-17 13:27:05

At both my booking appointments I was just told to read the NHS was website for advice anyway.

TonicAndTonic Wed 01-Nov-17 13:28:19

Yep another vote for the NHS website that @hometownunicorn has provided the link to. Pretty straightforward. Don't just stick the names of different foods into Google followed by '... In pregnancy' or similar, you'll just get lots of rubbish info back. And don't use advice written for women in other countries, their food processing practices may be different so their pregnancy advice will be different.

Jojopugh Wed 01-Nov-17 13:28:58

Full fat milks (I think all things pasteurised?)
Raw meats not good.
Offle shouldn’t be eaten apparently
Fish you should be careful with if raw
Shell fish avoid
Soft mouldy cheese avoid
Liver avoid
Eggs are good if cooked properly
Alcohol I’m sure a Guinness won’t hurt (I probably had a pint a week)
Smoking, no!
Drugs, definatley not!
Gardening is good (just wear gloves)
Farms (be careful)

I think anything the baby can eat if the first 12 months you can too. If the baby shouldn’t have it then neither should you when you are carrying.

I am nooo expert just thinking of when I had mine x

KarateKitten Wed 01-Nov-17 13:33:37

Jojo, when is your advice from😂? A pint of Guinness is definitely over the limit for one sitting (2•5 units I think, like a massive glass of wine) And it doesn't contain iron contrary to what people used to say in the 70's.

HaHaHmm Wed 01-Nov-17 13:34:07

Great posts, especially from Zaphod, but:

mouldy/soft cheeses unless you can see they are pasteurised


This is a really common misinterpretation of the guidance. No mould-ripened soft cheeses like brie or camembert even if they are pasteurised because it is the rind which presents the risk of listeriosis. All hard cheeses are fine, regardless of whether they are made with pasteurised milk.

Unpasteurised Stilton, Gruyère etc: fine. Pasteurised brie or chèvre: not fine unless cooked.

HaHaHmm Wed 01-Nov-17 13:35:36

Eggs are good if cooked properly

This advice has changed. Raw and soft-cooked eggs perfectly fine as long as they are lion-stamped, meaning that the hen has been vaccinated against salmonella.

AccrualIntentions Wed 01-Nov-17 13:35:57

NHS website. A lot of the advice out there on the net is for an American audience and isn't relevant here because we have different food standards. Eg you can have a bit of ham. Eggs with the lion mark are fine to eat runny. And so on.

mindutopia Wed 01-Nov-17 13:39:11

Just look at the NHS website, but at the same time, I have truly not avoided anything as an absolute. I've just been smart about how it's cooked, how it was stored and where it came from.

I eat rare steaks (who can eat a well done steak?), actually I've had quite a few since I got pregnant. I eat all fish and shellfish, though I do moderate tuna consumption because of the heavy metals in it (no more than twice a week, but rarely that much). Eggs are generally considered fine now in the UK, so you can have them however you like. I've never avoided soft cheeses (most supermarket ones are pastuerised, just check) or chilled meats. I've even had sushi from reputable places (not like at the supermarket that's been sitting there for days). I allow myself very small amounts of pate or liver on ocassion (haggis, very little offal in it anyway, and had some pate this weekend, only a few toasts, but I didn't take my pregnancy vitamins that day to keep my vitamin A levels down). I also allow myself a small glass of wine or prosecco about 3-4 times over the course of each pregnancy. All fine.

The main concerns are exposure to toxoplasmosis, which is generally not food borne anyway, it comes from soil/found in cat poo, and listeria. But most of the major listeria outbreaks in recent years have no come from any of the foods on the 'banned foods' list. It's most often been in commercially contaminated fruit and veg. So unless you stop eating in general, it's impossible to completely avoid risk. Just be smart about how things are stored and where they come from, but don't stress about it.

Jojopugh Wed 01-Nov-17 13:45:09

Does it not contain iron? My Nan must have lied to me. Well it does but only a very small amount 0.3mg per pint I just googled it. You wait till I see her 😂

KarateKitten Wed 01-Nov-17 14:31:49

Jojo,😂 I think all our nans have to answer for that one. Do you remember in Ireland you'd get a pint of Guinness after giving blood. I think it was Guinness themselves who advertised the iron thing and we didn't know to take advertising with a pinch of salt those days!

I must admit though, alcohol wise, I'd be pretty jolly on a whole pint of Guinness these days being pregnant and drinking so little. I think it might be a teeny but more than you 'should'. Whatever about a small glass of wine.

Leeela Wed 01-Nov-17 14:49:35

Great advice from zaphod but just to add one more thing - toxo can also come from eating unwashed raw fruits and vegetables that still have dirt on them, say eating a salad in a restaurant or whatever and it feels 'gritty'. And then salad from salad bars can have listeria. My midwife basically said to only eat salad at home, where I can make sure I washed it very thoroughly. Hth smile

ZaphodBeeblerox Wed 01-Nov-17 15:29:39

Oh also I forgot to add - no liver (too much vitamin A which is harmful), no pâtés (again, liquid at room temp listeriosis). And I didn’t know the toxo - salad thing above! (But not much of a salad eater anyway).

But also, listeriosis and toxo are v v rare, so yknow don’t freak out about small thing sneaking into your food!

Nicolle468 Wed 01-Nov-17 16:21:49

Thanks so much everyone!

It's at that early stage where I cant really ask for advice from friends with babies as we have only told close family at the moment and not yet met the midwife so felt a little lost for advice.
As you say the internet can through out some scary answers to 'can i eat ... in pregnancy'.

I think I will relax a little more once we have (hopefully) seen a healthy baby at our first scan.

I'm a bit of a worrier about most things, but will try and relax and just think logically smile

I know someone who also didn't change the way they ate when they were pregnant at all, still had medium steaks etc and they have a perfectly healthy 3 year old now x

Jojopugh Wed 01-Nov-17 16:24:34

Hi KK I’m sure our grandparents would still give new babies a bit of brandy in there bottle if they thought they could get away with it “to help them sleep”😊 I know my Nan would. I must admit I do love Guiness! I can remember having some the once and thinking oh my surely this isn’t good for me feeling half gone however I’m like that still now. My husband loves taking me out. Cheap date 😂 it’s lovely to hear someone light hearted on here and not trying to beat me down about what I wrote. I have read some posts on other chat and they are terrible 🙈

Owl1011 Wed 01-Nov-17 17:13:29

I was really paranoid in early pregnancy OP so you're not alone, it's natural to worry! I'm now in third trimester and a lot more relaxed but still sticking to the guidance on the NHS website whilst also trying to be mindful of getting a good healthy balance for my growing baby. As well as foods to avoid it's also important to think about good foods to have as well smile

And congratulations on your pregnancy! grin

dementedpixie Wed 01-Nov-17 17:18:49

Seafood is fine if cooked
Prepacked cooked meats also fine- no need to cook your sliced ham
Hard unpasteurised cheese ok
Mould ripened/blue cheese ok if cooked

dementedpixie Wed 01-Nov-17 17:22:05

Also allowed 2 portions of fresh tuna or 4 medium cans of tuna per week, not just one portion

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