Dispelling 5 Common Pregnancy Nutrition Myths
Finding out you are pregnant can come with a whole host of emotions, from excitement to nerves and at some point, probably concern or worry about what foods you can or can’t eat for the next 9-10 months. Although as a pregnant woman you do need to pay more attention to your diet to ensure you are meeting your nutrition recommendations, there is a lot of scare mongering that goes on within the pregnancy nutrition space, so I’m here to break down five of the most common nutrition myths or areas of concern when it comes to pregnancy, so rest assured you are in safe hands.
1. You should not eat runny or undercooked eggs
This advice is fairly outdated as the egg safety scheme was introduced in 1998, which tightened the safety around eggs. Specifically, reducing the presence of salmonella in UK eggs. Due to these tighter safety regulations, if eggs are stamped with the British lion stamp, they are safe to eat runny, partially cooked, or even raw during pregnancy – no more passing up on the poached eggs! In fact, over 90% of UK eggs now carry the stamp. If you are ever unsure when eating out, always ask, and if they cannot confirm they have a British lion stamp, then always ensure the eggs are fully cooked.
2. You should stay away from sushi
If you are an avid sushi fan, then the advice of no sushi during pregnancy may not be the best news for you to hear. However, you can consume sushi containing raw fish such as salmon and tuna, as long as the fish has been frozen beforehand. The freezing process kills off any parasitic worms which could make you ill. If the fish is farmed and destined to be eaten raw, such as farmed salmon, it does not require freezing before because of the rearing methods used. However, you should never consume raw shellfish, and ensure any sushi made with shellfish is fully cooked before consuming. Be aware not to consume too much fish during pregnancy, such as tuna and oily fish such as salmon and mackerel due to it containing pollutants. Limiting your intake to no more than 2 portions of oily fish per week and 2 fresh tuna steaks per week are the current UK guidelines.
3. Cheese is off the menu
Cheese is a great food to consume during pregnancy as it contains calcium and is also a source of protein, which you will require more of as you are growing another human! You are able to continue consuming hard cheese such as cheddar and parmesan as usual, but make sure your soft cheeses such as cottage cheese, feta, goat’s cheese, halloumi, ricotta and cream cheese is made from pasteurised milks. Pasteurisation kills any pathogens which could be present and harmful to you and baby. You must therefore ensure that any soft unpasteurised cheeses or cheeses with a white rind are fully cooked and piping hot before consuming.
4. No amount of caffeine is safe
Some of us rely on caffeine to get us through the day, or at least make us feel more alert in the mornings, so hearing that caffeine is a no-go during pregnancy may seem daunting. However, there is a dose dependent relationship when it comes to caffeine and pregnancy risks. There is research highlighting increased risks of miscarriage and low birth weight when caffeine intakes exceed 200mg per day during pregnancy. However, as long as you are consuming less than 200mg a day, it is safe to consume some caffeine whilst pregnant. I would advise sticking to only 1 coffee per day, as the caffeine intakes vary greatly, or 2 cups of caffeinated tea. Please also bear in mind that chocolate, energy drinks and some medications may also contain caffeine, so be mindful and take all sources into account.
5. You need to eat for two
Eating for two during pregnancy is one of the biggest nutrition myths I hear and is an idea that often stems from our older generations. I hate to break it to you, but eating double portions throughout your whole pregnancy can’t be entirely justified, as you in fact only require about 200-300 extra calories d day during your third trimester, which may be an extra snack or two. Yes, your body needs some extra protein and nutrients to help grow your baby but eating enough for two the whole way through could lead to excess weight gain which could pose some risks to your pregnancy.
Yasmin Alexander is a BANT Registered Nutritional Therapist, specialising in Women’s Health available for bookings on Aiverley.com. Yasmin aims to transform the health and lives of her clients by guiding them through making smart, sustainable and realistic dietary and lifestyle changes, with protocols backed up by science. Yasmin also inspires and educates people across the globe through delivering corporate presentations, workshops and through social networking platforms.
Book a Free 15 minute consultation with Yasmin to help improve your wellness.