Dietary concerns in pregnancy

The NSW Dept. of Health provides very comprehensive advice on food safety for the pregnant woman (

A simplified summary can be described as follows:

Foods to avoid:

The main concern is “Listeria”. It is a bacteria that can affect an unborn baby. “Toxoplasmosis” is a less common infection that can also affect the unborn baby.

What should be avoided are “soft cheeses” (such as camembert and brie) and uncooked meat (including sandwich ham, sashimi and sashimi used in sushi). Cooked cheese (such as on the pizza) and cooked ham (as used in fried rice sometimes) are fine.

Apart from these absolute restrictions, one should follow general principles regarding food handling, preparation and storage.  For example, salads, fruits and vegetables should be fresh and properly cleaned; leftover meat should also be stored and re-heated properly (to steaming hot) before eating.  These principles should apply at any time, not just in pregnancy.  Similarly, one should always be careful of hand hygiene dealing with pet litter or children’s nappies.  Food poisoning does not usually affect the pregnancy except in extreme circumstances.

Foods to eat more of:

There is no such thing as foods to eat more of during pregnancy. A healthy balanced diet is the key, even for vegetarians and the other important principle is: eat for one, NOT for two.

Posted in: Common Queries Regarding Obstetrics