For Healthy Pregnancy, Keep Food Safe
- Practice personal hygience when handling raw foods to prevent food-borne illnesses.
- Wash hands with soap before handling food, after using toilet and contact with pets.
- Limit or quit smoking, drinking alcohol or caffeine.
- Store food at safe temperatures.
There are many things during pregnancy that stress women out; what-to-eat and what-not-to-eat are two of them.
Food safety during pregnancy is important as pregnant women are vulnerable to food-borne infections, owing to the hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy.
Experts advise a balanced diet along with food safety so as to ascertain healthy pregnancy and streamlined growth of the foetus. Food-borne illnesses can adversely affect the mother and the unborn child. Although, the hormonal changes are necessary for foetus’ growth, they suppress the mother’s immune system, thus increasing the risk for infection from certain food-borne pathogens.
Steps for Ensuring Food Safety
The following behaviours will ensure the safety of the food you eat.
- Meeting nutritional needs. A mom-to-be needs to eat a wide variety of nutritious foods to meet her and her baby’s nutritional needs. Pregnancy diet must encompass bread, cereals, rice (wholegrain or wholemeal), vegetables and legumes, fruits, low fat milk or milk products, meat, fish, poultry, cooked eggs and nuts.
- Practice personal hygiene. Always wash hands with soap before handling food (including raw foods), after the toilet and after a contact with pets.
- Cook foods safely. Make sure that you cook foods to safe endpoint temperatures, especially meat, poultry and eggs.
- Avoid cross-contamination. Make sure that your knives, cutting boards and utensils are clean each time you cook.
- Wash fresh produce such as fruits and vegetables under running tap.
- Store foods at safe temperatures. Ensure that all the perishable foods are stored all at or below 40 degrees F.
- Make sure perishable foods (particularly precooked or ready-to-eat) are consumed as soon as possible.
- Avoid foods from unsafe sources, as there is a high risk of infection from the pathogens during pregnancy. Expecting mothers are advised to avoid foods that may be contaminated with these harmful pathogens. These include cold hot dogs, luncheon meats, raw or undercooked meat/poultry/seafood, raw sprouts and unwashed fruits/vegetables, soft cheese, unpasteurised milk and milk products and fresh squeezed juice.
Watch out for
Alcohol: Studies have associated drinking alcohol during pregnancy with miscarriage, stillbirth, premature birth and foetal alcohol syndrome. A mom-to-be should better abstain from alcoholic beverages during pregnancy.
Caffeine: The excessive consumption of caffeine may affect pregnancy, increasing the risk of miscarriage and premature birth.
Smoking: Smoking elevates the risk of premature birth, low birth weight, respiratory problems and SIDS. As there is no safe level of smoking, pregnant women are advised to kick the habit.
Food-borne diseases are a plenty and to know which one may be crawling up to your plate is difficult to tell. Therefore, if you want yourself and your baby safe, make sure that you eat the right food and one is that is well-cooked. Consult a dietician for a close-up on what will suit your body the best.
Read more articles on Pregnancy Diet.
Source: Onlymyhealth editorial team May 28, 2013
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