Pregnancy and baby

Foods to avoid in pregnancy

There are some foods to avoid or take care with when you're pregnant because they might make you ill or harm your baby. Make sure you know the important facts about which foods you should avoid or take precautions with when you're pregnant. You can read this whole page or click on the links below to go directly to the topic you want to know about.

Some types of cheese Pâté
Raw or partly cooked eggs Raw or undercooked meat
Caffeine Liver
Vitamin/fish oil supplements Cold cured meats
Peanuts Fish
Milk and yoghurt Raw shellfish
Ice cream Smoked fish
Foods with soil on them Sushi
Herbal teas Liquorice

 

 

Cheeses to avoid in pregnancy

Soft cheeses with white rinds

Don't eat mould-ripened soft cheese (cheeses with a white rind) such as brie and camembert. This includes mould-ripened soft goats' cheese such as chevre. These cheeses are only safe to eat in pregnancy if they've been cooked.

Soft blue cheeses

You should also avoid soft blue-veined cheeses such as Danish blue, gorgonzola and roquefort. Soft blue cheeses are only safe to eat in pregnancy if they've been cooked.

The advice to avoid some soft cheeses is because they are less acidic than hard cheeses and contain more moisture, which means they can be an ideal environment for harmful bacteria, such as listeria, to grow in.

Although infection with listeria (listeriosis) is rare, it is important to take special precautions in pregnancy because even a mild form of the illness in a pregnant woman can lead to miscarriage, stillbirth or severe illness in a newborn baby.

These are the symptoms of listeria. If you're pregnant and showing signs of listeria infection, seek medical help straight away.

Cheeses that are safe to eat in pregnancy

All hard cheeses are safe in pregnancy

You can eat hard cheeses such as cheddar, parmesan and stilton, even if they're made with unpasteurised milk. Hard cheeses don't contain as much water as soft cheeses, so bacteria are less likely to grow in them. It is possible for hard cheese to contain listeria, but the risk is considered to be low.

Soft cheeses that are safe to eat in pregnancy

Other than mould-ripened soft cheeses, all other soft types of cheese are OK to eat provided they're made from pasteurised milk. These include:

  • cottage cheese
  • mozzarella
  • feta
  • cream cheese
  • paneer
  • ricotta
  • halloumi
  • goats' cheese
  • processed cheeses such as cheese spreads

Cooked soft cheeses that are safe to eat in pregnancy

Thorough cooking should kill any bacteria in cheese, so it should be safe to eat cooked mould-ripened soft cheese, such as brie, camembert and chevre, and cooked soft blue cheese, such as roquefort or gorgonzola, or dishes that contain them. It's important to make sure the cheese is thoroughly cooked until it's steaming hot all the way through. 

Read more about cheese and pregnancy:

Pâté in pregnancy

Avoid all types of pâté, including vegetable pâtés, as they can contain listeria.

Avoid raw or partially cooked eggs if you're pregnant

Make sure eggs are thoroughly cooked until the whites and yolks are solid to prevent the risk of salmonella food poisoning. Salmonella food poisoning is unlikely to harm your baby, but it can give you a severe bout of diarrhoea and vomiting.

Avoid foods that contain raw and undercooked eggs, such as homemade mayonnaise. If you wish to have dishes that contain raw or partially cooked eggs, consider using pasteurised liquid egg.

Raw or undercooked meat is risky in pregnancy

Try not to eat rare meat because of the potential risk of toxoplasmosis. Cook all meat and poultry thoroughly so it's steaming hot and there's no trace of pink or blood – especially with poultry, pork, sausages and minced meat, including burgers.

The Department of Health previously advised it was fine to eat whole cuts of beef and lamb rare, as long as the outside had been properly cooked. As a precaution, this advice has now been removed while a food safety committee (The Advisory Committee on the Microbiological Safety of Food) looks into the issue of toxoplasmosis.

Toxoplasmosis is an infection caused by a parasite found in meat, soil, cat faeces and untreated water. If you are pregnant, the infection can damage your baby, but it's important to remember toxoplasmosis in pregnancy is very rare.

Toxoplasmosis often has no symptoms. But if you feel you may have been at risk, discuss it with your GP, midwife or obstetrician. If you are infected while you're pregnant, treatment for toxoplasmosis is available.

Wash all surfaces and utensils thoroughly after preparing raw meat to avoid the spread of harmful bugs. Also wash and dry your hands after touching or handling raw meat.

Read more about toxoplasmosis.

Be cautious with cold cured meats in pregnancy

Many cold meats, such as salami, Parma ham, chorizo and pepperoni, are not cooked, they are just cured and fermented. This means there's a risk they contain toxoplasmosis-causing parasites. It's best to check the instructions on the pack to see whether the product is ready to eat or needs cooking first.

For ready-to-eat meats, you can reduce any risk from parasites by freezing cured or fermented meats for four days at home before you eat them. Freezing kills most parasites and makes the meat safer to eat.

If you're planning to cook the meat (for instance, pepperoni on pizza), then you don't need to freeze it first.

If you're eating out in a restaurant that sells cold cured or fermented meats, they may not have been frozen. If you're concerned, ask the staff or avoid eating it.

Pre-packed meat is safe to eat if you're pregnant

Pre-packed meats such as ham and corned beef are safe to eat in pregnancy. Some websites (maybe from other countries, such as the US) may suggest you avoid pre-packed meats in pregnancy, but this is not the advice in the UK.

Liver can harm your unborn baby

Don't eat liver or liver-containing products such as liver pâté, liver sausage or haggis, as they may contain a lot of vitamin A. Too much vitamin A can harm your baby.

Vitamin and fish oil supplements

Don't take high-dose multivitamin supplements, fish liver oil supplements, or any supplements containing vitamin A.

Fish in pregnancy

You can eat most types of fish when you're pregnant. Eating fish is good for your health and the development of your baby. But you should avoid some types of fish and limit the amount you eat of some others.

Fish to avoid:

When you're pregnant or planning to get pregnant, you shouldn't eat shark, swordfish or marlin.

Fish to restrict:

You should also limit the amount of tuna you eat to:

  • no more than two tuna steaks a week (about 140g cooked or 170g raw each), or
  • four medium-sized cans of tuna a week (about 140g when drained)

This is because tuna contains more mercury than other types of fish. The amount of mercury we get from food isn't harmful for most people, but if you take in high levels of mercury when you're pregnant, this could affect your baby's developing nervous system.

When you're pregnant, you should also avoid having more than two portions of oily fish a week, such as salmon, trout, mackerel and herring, because it can contain pollutants such as dioxins and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).

Remember, fresh tuna is an oily fish, so if you eat two fresh tuna steaks in one week, you shouldn't eat any other oily fish that week.

Tinned tuna doesn't count as oily fish, so you can eat this on top of the maximum of two portions of oily fish (as long as it's not fresh tuna or swordfish). But remember not to eat more than four medium-sized cans of tinned tuna a week when you're pregnant or trying to get pregnant.

Fish that's safe to eat:

There is no need to limit the amount of white fish and cooked shellfish you eat when you're pregnant or breastfeeding, apart from shark, swordfish and marlin.

Shellfish in pregnancy

Always eat cooked rather than raw shellfish (including mussels, lobster, crab, prawns, scallops and clams) when you're pregnant as they can contain harmful bacteria and viruses that can cause food poisoning. Cold pre-cooked prawns are fine.

Read more about eating shellfish in pregnancy.

Smoked fish in pregnancy is safe

Smoked fish, which includes smoked salmon and smoked trout, is considered safe to eat in pregnancy.

Sushi and pregnancy

It's fine to eat raw or lightly cooked fish in dishes such as sushi when you're pregnant as long as any raw wild fish used to make it has been frozen first. This is because occasionally wild fish contains small parasitic worms that could make you ill. Freezing kills the worms and makes raw fish safe to eat. Cooking will also kill them.

Certain farmed fish destined to be eaten raw in dishes like sushi, such as farmed salmon, no longer need to be frozen beforehand. This is because farmed fish are very unlikely to contain parasitic worms because of the rearing methods used. If you're unsure, contact the Food Standards Agency (FSA) for advice.

Lots of the sushi sold in shops is not made at the shop. This type of sushi should be fine to eat – if a shop or restaurant buys in ready-made sushi, the raw fish used to make it will have been subject to an appropriate freezing treatment. If you're in any doubt, you might want to avoid eating the kinds of sushi that contain raw fish such as tuna.

The safest way to enjoy sushi is to choose the fully cooked or vegetarian varieties, which can include:

  • cooked seafood – for example, fully cooked eel (unagi) or shrimp (ebi)
  • vegetables – for example, cucumber (kappa) maki
  • avocado – for example, California roll
  • fully cooked egg

If a shop or restaurant makes its own sushi on the premises, it must still be frozen first before being served. If you're concerned, ask the staff.

If you make your own sushi at home, freeze the fish for at least four days before using it.

Peanuts are safe in pregnancy

Go ahead and eat peanuts or food containing peanuts (such as peanut butter) during pregnancy, unless you are allergic to them or a health professional advises you not to.

You may have heard peanuts should be avoided during pregnancy. This is because the government previously advised women to avoid eating peanuts if there was a history of allergy (such as asthma, eczema, hay fever and food allergy) in their child's immediate family.

This advice has now been changed because the latest research has shown no clear evidence eating peanuts during pregnancy affects the chances of your baby developing a peanut allergy.

Milk and yoghurt in pregnancy

Stick to pasteurised or ultra-heat treated (UHT) milk – sometimes also called long-life milk.

If only raw (unpasteurised) milk is available, boil it first. Don't drink unpasteurised goats' or sheep's milk or eat foods made from them, such as soft goats' cheese.

All types of yoghurt, including bio, live and low-fat, are fine. Just check homemade yoghurt is made with pasteurised milk  and if not, avoid it.

Ice cream in pregnancy

Soft ice creams should be fine to eat when you're pregnant, as they are processed products made with pasteurised milk and eggs, so any risk of salmonella food poisoning has been eliminated.

For homemade ice cream, use a pasteurised egg substitute or follow an egg-free recipe.

Foods with soil on them

Wash fruit, vegetables and salads to remove all traces of soil and visible dirt.

Caffeine in pregnancy

High levels of caffeine can result in babies having a low birth weight, which can increase the risk of health problems in later life. Too much caffeine can also cause miscarriage.

Caffeine is naturally found in lots of foods, such as coffee, tea and chocolate, and is added to some soft drinks and energy drinks. Some cold and flu remedies also contain caffeine. Talk to your midwife, doctor or pharmacist before taking these remedies.

You don't need to cut out caffeine completely, but don't have more than 200mg a day. The approximate amount of caffeine found in food and drinks is:

  • one mug of instant coffee: 100mg 
  • one mug of filter coffee: 140mg 
  • one mug of tea: 75mg
  • one can of cola: 40mg 
  • one can of energy drink: 80mg 
  • one 50g bar of plain (dark) chocolate: around 50mg
  • one 50g bar of milk chocolate: around 25mg

So, if you have one bar of chocolate and one mug of filter coffee, for example, you have reached almost 200mg of caffeine. Don't worry if you occasionally have more than this amount – the risks are small. To cut down on caffeine, try decaffeinated tea and coffee, fruit juice or mineral water instead of regular tea, coffee, cola and energy drinks. 

Herbal and green tea in pregnancy

There's little information on the safety of herbal and green teas in pregnancy, so it's best to drink them in moderation.

The FSA recommends drinking no more than around four cups of herbal or green tea a day during pregnancy, and to seek advice from your GP or midwife if you are unsure about which herbal products are safe to consume.

Liquorice

You can eat liquorice in pregnancy  there is no recommendation to avoid it.

Read more about how to avoid food poisoning in pregnancy.

Find out about healthy eating in pregnancy, including healthy snacks.

Page last reviewed: 15/01/2013

Next review due: 15/01/2015

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Comments

The 262 comments posted are personal views. Any information they give has not been checked and may not be accurate.

Pavlova8 said on 17 October 2014

Hello,

Are chestnuts safe to eat?

Thank you :)

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CG_1982 said on 28 September 2014

Hi and thanks for the information. Can someone at NHS Choices help with a couple of cheese related questions?!

Just to check, are all blue cheeses fine to eat if cooked thoroughly? Does it matter if it is unpasteurised to start with? Same with mould ripened soft cheeses?

Does the cooking process make any/ all unpasteurised cheeses safe to eat? I was wondering what the NHS guidelines were.

Thanks!


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Pavlova8 said on 22 September 2014

Hello,
Are parsley and rosemary safe to eat?
Thank you!

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Downunder2014 said on 20 September 2014

Last night I ate some store bought garlic and herb bread my partner heated in foil in the oven but only had it in oven for 5minutes and it was warmish but not hot when it came out of oven. Wondering if this poses any risk during pregnancy? Feeling a bit off today. We are in Australia. Thanks.

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MumToBe2014 said on 15 September 2014

Hi,

Is food containing coconut milk safe to eat?

Thank you :-)

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Danielle_84 said on 24 August 2014

Hi,
I'm 10weeks pregnant and I'm confused about cheesecake.... I bought a frozen one and had a slice thinking it was fine as I've had that brand of one before, but when I double checked the box it doesn't state if it's pasteurised or not?? Normally they do, but it just says on the ingredients 'free range eggs' I'm panicking slightly as I'm worried I wasn't meant to eat it?

Can you advise if frozen cheesecake is ok? Is there anything else I need to look out for with them?

Thank you!!

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Gem5514 said on 19 August 2014

Hi
May sound like a really silly question. I recently opened a packet of wot sits that were in date . After tasting a few I realised they were stale and noticed a whole in the packet. Are there any risks?

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Susie4 said on 14 August 2014

User891189 - milk and cream in a commercially-produced ready meal should be pasteurised. As it is being cooked anyway, it will be safe to eat.

Darcyhels234 - thorough cooking will destroy any harmful bacteria in prawns. Although toxins are not destroyed by heat, it is very unlikely that there will be toxin-producing bacteria in prawns, which is why the UK advice is that they are safe to eat cooked whilst pregnant.

Regarding salmon, as it says on this page (and the information has been checked by the Food Standards Agency), you can eat smoked salmon in pregnancy.

GardeningAngel - we checked with the Food Standards Agency on this and they said it is safest to stick to pasteurised juices when pregnant. Most (but not all) juices sold in supermarkets will be pastuerised, but it is safest to check the label.

Susie at NHS Choices

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Susie4 said on 14 August 2014

Amw406 - this may be due to the difference between fish liver oil and fish oil. Fish liver oil supplements (such as cod liver oil) contain much higher amounts of vitamin A than other fish oil supplements because they are obtained from the liver of the fish, which is where vitamin A is stored.

The product labels on fish liver oil will not necessarily mention that they contain vitamin A (unless it is added as an additional ingredient) as it is naturally present in the liver oil. Pregnant women are advised not to take supplements containing vitamin A, including fish liver oil supplements, or to eat foods such as liver which may be very high in vitamin A, due to the possible risks of birth defects. So do avoid any fish liver oil supplements.

Official advice is that it is best to get vitamins and minerals from a healthy balanced diet, but pregnant women are also recommended to take supplements of:
-10 micrograms per day of vitamin D throughout pregnancy, and
-400 micrograms per day of folic acid, ideally taken from before you get pregnant until the 12th week of pregnancy.

You can find out more about healthy eating in pregnancy on this page:
http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pages/healthy-pregnancy-diet.aspx

and vitamins and supplements in pregnancy here:
http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pages/vitamins-minerals-supplements-pregnant.aspx

Susie at NHS Choices

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Susie4 said on 14 August 2014

OxRox - we asked the Chemical Safety Division at the Food Standards Agency to help with your query. To sum up their response: if there is no clean water source available, you should use chlorine water purification tablets rather than iodine tablets. The risk of drinking water that hasn't been adequately disinfected is higher than drinking water that has been purified using chlorine purification tablets. You shouldn’t use iodine purification tablets.

The use of iodine-based water purification tablets could increase your daily iodine exposure considerably, resulting in short-term intakes well above the tolerable upper intake level. Such high intakes may be harmful to an unborn baby.

It is important to follow the manufacturer's instructions when using water purification tablets.

Susie at NHS Choices

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Susie4 said on 12 August 2014

Hi, here are answers to some of the questions you have posted:

Chaz88 - mayonnaise used in commercial restaurants is likely to be pasteurised, so burgers with mayo should be safe to eat.

Twins14 - Parma ham that has been cooked so that it is steaming hot is safe to eat. As it says in the article on this page, many cold meats such as salami, Parma ham, chorizo and pepperoni are not cooked, just cured and fermented, so there's a risk they contain toxoplasmosis-causing parasites. It's best to check the instructions on the pack to see whether the product is ready-to-eat or needs cooking first. For ready-to-eat meats, you can reduce any risk from parasites by freezing cured/fermented meats for four days at home before you eat them. Freezing kills most parasites and so makes the meat safer to eat. If you're planning to cook the meat then you don't need to freeze it first.

Katie777 - there is no official guideline on lacto-fermented vegetable products such as sauerkraut. Generally, commercially pickled or brined products are fine to consume as the controlling factor for nasty pathogens or bugs is the pH (acidity/alkalinity level). The pH is lowered in a pickled/brined product. Be careful to follow the storage instructions once opened though.

CazzyB - as it says on this page, smoked salmon is safe to eat in pregnancy. This includes cold, pre-packaged smoked salmon.

Cazzy B - you can eat liquorice in pregnancy, there is no recommendation to avoid it.

Hayley900 - sorry to hear about the heartburn! You can find out more about heartburn and pregnancy on this page:
http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pages/indigestion-heartburn-pregnant.aspx

As for Peperami, according to its website Peperami is salami, so it is cured or fermented, but is also pasteurised. The pasteurisation will make this product safe to eat in pregnancy.

Hope this helps.
Susie at NHS Choices









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GardeningAngel said on 05 August 2014

I've read some conflicting advice about drinking unpasteurised lemon juice, such as in still lemonade, during pregnancy due to listeria. Unfortunately, at 16 weeks I'm still suffering badly with sickness and still lemonade is one of the only things I can drink that doesn't make me sick. Could you please advise? Many thanks indeed,

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Darcyhels234 said on 02 August 2014

Hi there, I'm still rather confused about prawns. It says on this website that cooked shellfish is fine but then says that cooking still doesn't kill any toxins so you might want to avoid them. I love prawns and am finding it hard! I'm also going to Spain for holiday when I'll be about 13-14 weeks and thinking about things like paella! Will they be safe to eat with prawns in?

Also the smoked salmon issue- this website says it's fine and I've eaten it as a starter at restaurants (it was literally the only option off the starter menu that was safe). However, I notice in one of the comments below that someone was told to avoid. Which is right? Many thanks! :0)

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User891189 said on 27 July 2014

Hello
This may be a weird question but I've bought a ready meal and it's made with milk and cream but doesn't state whether it's pasteurised or not. As it's going to be cooked does it matter? Should I not eat it?
Thanks

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Chaz88 said on 29 June 2014

Is it safe to eat a mcchicken sandwhich with the mayo ? Craving it so bad as I'm feeling awful today. What about Burger King chicken royales ? Heard many different answers and don't know what to believe. Thank you

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OxRox said on 19 June 2014

Hello,
Can you advise on drinking chemically treated water during pregnancy? For example, when out camping and using water from a stream, we'd normally purify it with tablets e.g. chlorine or iodine tablets. I can't see any advice on whether it's safe or harmful to do this when pregnant, so have avoided it so far.
I realise it's an odd question and might not apply to many other people. Thanks very much for your time.

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Amw406 said on 13 June 2014

Are you able to explain why it's ok to take the fish oils capsules in pregnancy specific vitamin supplements but not to take other fish oil supplements?

As far as I can see on the label cod liver oil capsules don't contain vitamin A and are a quarter of the price of the pregnancy vitamins with fish oil capsules.

Thank you

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twins14 said on 09 June 2014

Hi

Please could you let me know what the situation is with Parma ham that is cooked? I am currently 10 weeks pregnant with twins and made pasta wiyj Parma ham, which I cooked. I have read conflicting info on whether it's ok to eat if you cook it.

Any info will be greatly appreciated

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Tankgerl79 said on 04 June 2014

Thank You NHS!!!

I am in Australia and found out I recently I am pregnant and have been struggling to get some clear concise and sensible guidance around the do's and don't of food while pregnant.

This article is VERY interesting! There are a lot of foods we in Oz are told to avoid and for very vague reasons. The government recommendations are (I think) overly cautious, general/unspecific and unclear. There is little to no detail around the why, just a lot about microwaving your ham sandwich to the point of disintegration - I'd rather abstain from ham altogether!

Of course I understand that this is for UK mum's and I should consider the Aus guidelines as suitable for me, but I think we could take a leaf out of the NHS book and get more clarity around the rules for pregnant women. I completely freaked out the first week of my pregnancy, and bought 3 lunches and threw them away in one day because I'd unwittingly 'broken the rules' - its scary, and a HUGE responsibility.

Anyways, thats a lot of words to say thanks - but thanks :)

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Katie777 said on 21 May 2014

Could you let me know if there are any NHS Guidelines on eating lacto-fermented vegetable condiments, such as sauerkraut, while pregnant? I know people that are doing this for the beneficial bacteria, but who want to know if it is considered safe during pregnancy. There are lots of sites on the internet advertising the health benefits of doing so, but I wondered what the official guidelines (if any) were? Thanks

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CazzyB said on 21 May 2014

Hello, you state on the website that smoked salmon is safe to eat in pregnancy. Does this include cold, pre-packaged smoked salmon? Also it is safe to eat liquorice as I have heard mixed views on this? Thank you

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CazzyB said on 21 May 2014

Hello, you state on the website that smoked salmon is safe to eat in pregnancy. Does this include cold, pre-packaged smoked salmon? Also it is safe to eat liquorice as I have heard mixed views on this? Thank you

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Hayley900 said on 16 May 2014

Hello,

Can you eat Pepperami snacks when pregnant? I am 17 weeks and have had 2, one last night and one tonight then I thought oops. It is a pasteurised snack but I am unsure. I am also new to this site so any tips for heartburn? And yes I know peperami won't help :) Thanks

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Kally15 said on 08 May 2014

Hi I have 2 queries -
Is it ok to use bubble bath/bath oils during pregnancy?
I have some champagne truffle chocolates - I'm not drinking any alcohol but are these ok to eat and also is it ok to have cooked sauces with wine in it?
Thanks!

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Kathryn at NHS Choices said on 06 May 2014

Dear honeyharris,
It's safe to eat kidneys and most other offal in pregnancy as long as they are cooked thoroughly. When it comes to offal, it's only liver that pregnant women should avoid as this is high in vitamin A, too much of which in pregnancy may be harmful for the unborn baby.
Hope that helps,
Kathryn Bingham, NHS Choices editor

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honeyharris said on 29 April 2014

Is it safe to eat kidney in pregnancy? I've eaten steak and kidney pie twice but have heard since that I shouldn't have eaten offal. I thought it was ok as I've never seen it on any lists of foods to avoid.

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Kathryn at NHS Choices said on 25 April 2014

Dear gomez8888,

Please try not to worry about the raw sprouts you've already eaten, but you are right to take care with them for the rest of your pregnancy.

Pregnant women are more at risk of suffering health complications if they contract food poisoning from contaminated raw or lightly cooked sprouts. That's because the warm, moist conditions required to grow sprouts are ideal for rapid bacteria growth. Make sure to cook all sprouts thoroughly until they are steaming hot before eating them.

You can find out more in this article: http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/homehygiene/Pages/sprouted-seeds-advice.aspx

Hope that helps,
Kathryn, NHS Choices editor

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gomez8888 said on 24 April 2014

I'm 5 weeks pregnant and yesterday I eat some uncooked bean sprouts. Now I am really worried I've harmed the baby as I heard through eating them raw or just warm they are really bad.
Is this true?

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Kathryn at NHS Choices said on 23 April 2014

Dear beck2821,

Try not to worry about eating cured meat in the past - if meat is cured, this does not mean that it is contaminated with harmful bacteria or parasites (such as toxoplasma).

The FSA are constantly reviewing emerging evidence on the risks of certain foods, and we update our advice accordingly. The new advice still doesn’t say you have to avoid cured meats, the freezing advice simply gives a safer way to consume them.

Thanks,
Kathryn Bingham, NHS Choices editor

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Kathryn at NHS Choices said on 23 April 2014

Dear arp2014,

It's fine to eat watermelon at any stage in pregnancy.

Thanks,
Kathryn, NHS Choices editor

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Mrs Ricko said on 15 April 2014

Hi just discovered I'm pregnant but concerned about some of the things I've eaten before I knew ie pate regarding the vitamin A content. Will this cause harm? Also I read things like carrots and sweet potatoes and eggs are high in vitamin A to, do these need to be avoided to? I'm also wondering if moisturiser and creams I use on my body may need changing? Any advice would be great thanks.

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arp2014 said on 13 April 2014

Hi,wanted to know if watermelon is safe during first trimester of pregnancy?

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beck2821 said on 07 April 2014

I like popster had read the information saying that cured meats were fine and the UK didn't advise avoiding them, and now a couple of weeks ago changed to say avoid them. Having eaten some myself a couple of times in the past month or two, should I now be really worried about this?? I feel if you're going to make a change to something with something as serious as toxoplasmosis and it's consequences you should make a public notice about this so people are aware, as like myself others have also read the advise that it was ok only a couple of weeks ago and are now in a state of panic. How high is the risk?? If you are changing it from it's safe to then avoid, you need to make people aware of how high the risk is if people have already eaten some on the advice that the NHS says it was safe.

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Kathryn at NHS Choices said on 28 March 2014

Dear nicoletteB,
Coconut water, along with other juices sold in supermarkets, should be safe to drink as they are almost always pasteurised.
Frozen berries are fine to consume during pregnancy. Check the label for instructions on storage and usage of the product.
Thanks,
Kathryn, NHS Choices editor

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1stTimeMum82 said on 27 March 2014

I'm more than a little confused regarding eating fish and shellfish during pregnancy and since I eat a fair bit of it and am 7 weeks pregnant, I would like some clarification please.

Is there a maximum amount of fish you are allowed during a week?

I've read that a maximum of 2 meals with oily fish per week is recommended. Does this then mean I could then eat a portion of cooked shellfish or non oily fish in the same week? Or does this mean that I should only eat seafood (including oily/non oily fish and shellfish) twice a week at most?

Can't seem to find a straight answer...

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nicoletteB said on 22 March 2014

hi,
is coconut water safe?
and frozen fruit bought from the supermarket?
would love an answer as cannot find this anywhere,

thank you!

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Kathryn at NHS Choices said on 20 March 2014

Dear kerrycat,
There is little information about the safety of herbal and green teas in pregnancy so it's best to be cautious. The FSA advises that during pregnancy women drink herbal teas in moderation -
approximately 4 cups of tea per day. Get advice from your GP or midwife if you are unsure about which herbal products are safe to consume.
I've updated the page to include advice on herbal and green teas.
Thanks, Kathryn, NHS Choices editor

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Smudge78 said on 19 March 2014

Hi, I am rather worried as I ate raw bean sprouts in a salad today but then read that pregnant women were advised not to eat them raw because of a risk of salmonella. The salad was prepared in our work canteen so I do not know whether they were 'ready to eat' or not. I am now in a panic! I can't see any guidance on this on this page, pleas advise!

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Kathryn at NHS Choices said on 17 March 2014

Dear Origin,

All types of honey are fine to eat in pregnancy.

Thanks, Kathryn, NHS Choices editor

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kerrycat said on 17 March 2014

Hi, I cut right back on caffeine and opted for herbal teas, but reading some sites on the internet, it claims a number of herbal teas should be avoided. I then read that supermarket herbal teas are largely safe, but the list of ingredients on the boxes I purchased contain Hibiscus, Lemongrass, Raspberry, Liquorice root. I've heard from a number of sites that these are to be avoided. (?) I'm so confused and scared on what's safe and what's not. Please advise.

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Despina2014 said on 14 March 2014

Hi

I've recently read that buffalo mozzarella is usually unpasturised, however if it is cooked can you eat it?

I has a few slices of pizza which I later discovered had buffalo mozzarella on it but the packet didn't state if it was pasturised or not, it just said made from milk. I am 27 weeks pregnant, could this harm my baby?

Despina

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Origin said on 14 March 2014

Is there any specific NHS advice on eating honey in pregnancy?
I have heard pasteurized honey is recommended, but the brand I've been eating doesn't appear to be pasteurized. I have been having honey all through pregnancy

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Kathryn at NHS Choices said on 13 March 2014

Dear Popster10,
Yes, we have updated our advice for pregnant women re cold cured meats such as Parma ham and salami in response to new advice from the Food Standards Agency.
All our pages should now have been updated with the new advice.
Thanks,
Kathryn, NHS Choices editor

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Popster10 said on 07 March 2014

This is the page the info is on: http://www.nhs.uk/chq/Pages/917.aspx?CategoryID=54#close

It says:

Meat
Do not eat raw or undercooked meat.
Cook all meat and poultry thoroughly so there’s no trace of pink or blood. Take particular care with sausages and minced meat.

Some countries advise pregnant women not to eat cold meats (for example, salami, chorizo and parma ham) or smoked fish because of the risk that the food may contain listeria bacteria. In the UK, pregnant women are not advised to avoid these foods because the risk of infection is so low. However, if you’re concerned, you may choose to avoid them.

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Popster10 said on 07 March 2014

Hi have you recently changed your guidance on eating cold cured meats such as Parma ham as I'm sure about a month ago the website said that it was safe if the cold cured meat was from the UK? I'm a bit confused as I purposefully sought guidance from this website when purchasing a salad with Parma ham and would never have eaten it had I read it might be unsafe! Thanks

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Kathryn at NHS Choices said on 07 March 2014

Dear Daisy boo

Pregnant women aren't advised to avoid any particular herbs and spices in pregnancy, if they are used for general cooking purposes, ie adding herbs or spices to flavour a dish. Do make sure, though, that you use herbs before their 'use by'/'best before' dates and that you store them correctly.
Thanks,

Kathryn, NHS Choices editor

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Daisy boo said on 06 March 2014

Hi, there is quite a lot of conflicting information about herbs in pregnancy. My questions regards cooking with herbs rather than using essential oils or herbal supplements.
What herbs are NOT safe to eat/cook with in pregnancy please?
Also I've read conflicting info about whether sesame seeds are safe to eat in pregnancy or not....would appreciate some advice, thanks

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Kathryn at NHS Choices said on 20 February 2014

Dear Lunababi,

The Food Standards Agency has this advice on eating certain fruits in pregnancy:

Pomegranate: consuming the fruit and the juice in moderation is ok, but pregnant women should avoid pomegranate extract as this is both high-dose and may also contain rind which contains compounds that could have adverse effects.

Pineapple: normal consumption of pineapple and juice during pregnancy should be fine.

Papaya: pregnant women should be cautious with papaya. It's used in traditional medicine (probably when it's unripe) to abort pregnancies, as a contraceptive and to treat certain menstrual disorders. Although there have been no controlled human studies, in the countries where papaya grows, pregnant women generally avoid eating it. Several animal studies have shown that compounds present in unripe and semi-ripe papaya are capable of causing uncontrolled uterine contractions. These compounds along with those found in papaya seeds have also been shown to have an adverse effect on foetal survival and body weight. Although this has not been documented in humans, and the quantities used in animal studies are likely to be much higher than would occur from occasional consumption of papaya, It would be prudent for pregnant women to avoid eating unripe papaya and papaya seeds and to consume ripe papaya in moderation.

Hope this helps,
Kathryn Bingham, NHS Choices editor

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Kathryn at NHS Choices said on 11 February 2014

Dear Bugaboo 1975,
Pregnant women are not currently advised to avoid pre-packed ready-to-eat salads, although technically any ready-to-eat food could potentially be considered a listeria risk, even if minimal. The important thing is to read the packaging carefully and to follow storage and use-by dates.
Best wishes,
Kathryn, NHS Choices editor

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Lunababi said on 09 February 2014

I have read a lot of conflicting advice regarding out certain fruits during pregnancy.

I am 5 weeks pregnant.

I have read that you should not eat pineapple, papaya or pomegranate during pregnancy. Is this correct?

Are there any other fruits that are to be avoided?

Does the herbal tea rule also apply to pure red bush (Rooibos) tea? Only 4 cups per day?

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Bugaboo1975 said on 03 February 2014

Are cold pre packed pasta salads safe to eat in pregnancy, I have just enjoyed a spinach and pine nut pasta salad from the supermarket but am unsure if there is a risk with such food? Of listeria? It was meant to be eaten cold and couldn't really be washed! Any advice? Thanks.

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Kathryn at NHS Choices said on 29 January 2014

Dear Flowers2222,

Please try not to worry about foods you ate before you knew you were pregnant. You should make the effort to avoid 'the foods to avoid' like pate from now on, but eating it inadvertently in early pregnancy won't necessarily cause harm. If you are still feeling worried, your doctor of midwife will be able to discuss it with you.

Best wishes,
Kathryn Bingham, NHS Choices editor

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Flowers2222 said on 22 January 2014

I ate pate on toast two to three days in a row over a couple of weeks before I knew I was pregnant. Could this have done any harm to the baby. I would have been about 12 weeks at the time. Thanks

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Kathryn at NHS Choices said on 08 January 2014

Dear Colie 89,

It is ok to eat haggis or black pudding as long as it's cooked properly.

Thanks,
Kathryn at NHS Choices

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Kathryn at NHS Choices said on 08 January 2014

Dear Izzywoowoo,

I asked colleagues at the Food Standards Agency whether it is safe for pregnant women to eat smoked poultry such as smoked goose, chicken and duck.

They say that if bought in a retail supermarket then it should be safe – you could try checking the label just to make sure.

If you're smoking the bird yourself at home, check it is thoroughly cooked by using a temperature probe into the thickest part of the bird – the probe should read at least 70°C for 2 minutes.

Hope that helps,

Kathryn Bingham, NHS Choices editor

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Colie89 said on 03 January 2014

Goodmorning is it ok to eat haggis or black pudding?

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Kathryn at NHS Choices said on 31 December 2013

Dear FirstPreg 2013,

Supermarket products containing milk, yoghurt, cream and soured cream including dips are more than likely to be made with pasteurised versions. If you're unsure and it doesn't say on the packaging, you can ask a member of staff or contact the shop's head office or the product manufacturer.

Thanks,
Kathryn at NHS Choices

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Kathryn at NHS Choices said on 31 December 2013

Dear ClareW82 - you can eat liquorice in pregnancy. There's no recommendation for pregnant women to avoid it.

Kathryn at NHS Choices

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pook77 said on 22 December 2013

I have been drinking Becks blue alcohol free beer which has 0.05 abv as an alternative to alcohol. It also contains malted barley, hops & yeast. Are these ingredients all ok to have while pregnant and do I need to limit how many I have at all?

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Chimpster said on 18 December 2013

I'm trying to remain pragmatic and use some common sense when it comes to what you should or shouldn't eat, but have a few thoughts/queries:

1. If you eat undercooked eggs (e.g. runny poached egg) with the British Lion Mark then the risk of salmonella would be relatively low given these hens are vaccinated against Salmonella?

2. I can't imagine the French eating well done steak when pregnant. I did hear that they are tested for toxoplasmosis immunity - is this so and can we have this test here?

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FirstPreg2013 said on 18 December 2013

I recently ate a pre-made salad from a supermarket and realised afterwards that the dressing contained soured cream, cream and low fat yoghurt. I am now worried as the packaging does not mention whether these ingredients are pasteurised or not. Do you think I am at risk from catching listeria?.

How likely is it that supermarket products containing milk, yoghurt, cream and soured cream use pasteurised versions?. For example - dressings? sauces? dips? desserts (e.g. eclairs)?. Do I need to contact the supermarket before I eat any of these products as they are often not labelled whether they are pasteurised?.

Is butter usually pasteurised too?

Thanks.

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Izzywoowoo said on 17 December 2013

Is it OK to eat smoked goose, smoked duck or smoked chicken?
Thanks

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ClareW82 said on 16 December 2013

What about liquorice that comes from root liquorice? I had some today (not a lot) and then read it could cause miscarriage, but all the info was from herbal supplements of root liquorice, which I would think to have a higher content than Dutch sweet liquorice? Am I right?

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Kathryn at NHS Choices said on 13 December 2013

Dear Worried123,

The duck liver component was probably no more than a fifth of the sausage you ate, so you consumed such a tiny amount (around 500 micrograms) of retinol that it's extremely unlikely to have done your baby any harm.

Hope this reassures you,

Kathryn Bingham, NHS Choices editor

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Kathryn at NHS Choices said on 05 December 2013

Dear Tashabegood,

Cooking with alcohol shouldn't be a problem because if you prepare a sauce with alcohol properly, the alcohol should all be cooked off. Also you wouldn’t be using that much alcohol to flavour a sauce anyway and therefore well within the recommended limits for pregnancy.

You can read more about how much alcohol is safe in pregnancy here:
http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pages/alcohol-medicines-drugs-pregnant.aspx#close

Best wishes,

Kathryn Bingham, NHS Choices editor

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Kathryn at NHS Choices said on 05 December 2013

Hi shu2,

Vegetable dips such as guacamole, salsa, houmous and red pepper dip are safe to eat in pregnancy as long as you follow the storage advice and use-by-dates carefully.

The reason that all pates - including vegetable pates - are on the ‘foods to avoid’ list is because there was a large outbreak of listeriosis in the 1980’s that was associated with pate, and ever since then the Food Standards Agency (FSA) has said that it would be safer for pregnant women to avoid all pates - including vegetable pate.

That said, recent surveillance and outbreak data has not really supported this avoidance, but the FSA prefers to err on the side of caution and doesn't really want to remove vegetable pate from the list in case there are future outbreaks (but in reality this is no more likely than in other ready to eat foods).

Homemade vegetable pates are ok to eat as long as the vegetables were prepared safely (washing, avoiding cross contamination etc) and then cooked thoroughly. Homemade vegetable pate should be stored in the fridge and consumed within two days or discarded.

Pregnant women are not currently advised to avoid pre-packed ready-to-eat salads/fruit, although technically any ready-to-eat food could potentially be considered a listeria risk, even if minimal. The important thing is to read the packaging carefully (some packaged salad will still need washing if it doesn’t say it is ready to eat) and to follow storage and use-by dates.

Hope that helps,
Kathryn Bingham, NHS Choices editor


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Worried123 said on 29 November 2013

I accidentally ate some sausage, and after a few bites (maybe a quarter of the sausage), it struck me that it contained duck liver, and immediately stopped. I'm now desperately worried that I would have done some harm to my baby as I know I'm supposd to avoid liver products. I've had a miscarriage before and this pregnancy has been pretty up and down. Can you please tell me if one time consumption of liver product in early pregnancy has put my baby in real harm?

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Tashabegood said on 26 November 2013

Can you cook with alcohol in recipes, such as Coq Au Vin, French Onion Soup and Flambé Banana's etc?

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shu2 said on 21 November 2013

Hi

I am wondering in particular about shop bought vegetable dips such as guacamole, salsa, humus, red pepper dip etc etc. I am confused because of the statement about not being able to eat vegetable pate. Why can I have humus / guacamole etc (if I can) but not veg pate. Also would be really interested to know about pre packed salads, sandwiches and fruit as I travel a lot for my job and have started to worry they are not 'safe' / washed or prepared properly.

Thank you for any advice, some really useful answers given so far!

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lauren5982 said on 19 November 2013

Adding to my previous post below what about salads that say 'prewashed ready to eat' salads?
I have read on other sites that these still are at risk for listeria or need washing again after purchase which I was unaware of?

thanks

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lauren5982 said on 15 November 2013

Would you be able to clear up the situation regarding pre-packed sandwiches?

On this page it is not on the list of foods to avoid but on the 'Listeriosis' page on NHS it says listeria is found in pre-packed sandwiches? Several of which chicken sandwiches I have eaten through this pregnancy and am now concerned

Thanks

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Kathryn at NHS Choices said on 08 November 2013

Dear Cally40,

Yes, it's fine to eat cooked chorizo, salami and parma ham.

Kathryn, NHS Choices editor

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Kathryn at NHS Choices said on 08 November 2013

Dear ClareW82,

Please refer back to the comment posted on 14th August 2013 for information on tonic water in pregnancy.

Kathryn Bingham, NHS Choices editor

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ClareW82 said on 07 November 2013

Can anyone tell me if it is safe to drink tonic water while pregnant? (minus the Gin of course!). Thanks

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Jay Mac said on 11 October 2013

I was wanting to try and get some clarification on the subject of cheese and unpasteurised milk.
On the page entitled 'Milk and dairy foods' on nhs.uk it states:
"Pregnant women should avoid soft blue cheeses, and soft cheeses such as brie and camembert and others with a similar rind, whether pasteurised or unpasteurised. This is because they can contain high levels of listeria, which is a bacteria that can cause miscarriage, stillbirth or severe illness in a newborn baby.
"Cottage cheese, processed cheese, feta, mozzarella or hard cheeses, such as cheddar or parmesan, are considered safe to eat while pregnant, so there is no need to avoid these."

However, the page entitled 'Foods to avoid in pregnancy' on the nhs.uk states:

"Many soft types of cheese are OK to eat provided they're made from pasteurised milk. These include:
cottage cheese
mozzarella
feta
cream cheese
paneer
ricotta
halloumi
goats' cheese
processed cheeses such as cheese spreads"

To me, one page is stating it is absolutely OK to eat things like cottage cheese, feta, mozzarella, etc. and there is no need to check their origin, whereas the other is putting on a disclaimer saying "as long as they're made from pasteurised milk". If you are in a supermarket you can check the labels (although from my experience products like pizzas merely state "mozzarella (made from milk)" on them, so are we to assume it is pasteurised?
Worse still, if you happen to be out at a restaurant do you have to check whether any of these cheeses have been pasteurised before ordering a a salad with mozzarella or feta, for example?
This mix of information is confusing and is making meal choices more and more difficult!


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Cally40 said on 24 September 2013

I was wondering if it is safe to eat cooked chorizo, salami and parma ham?

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Kathryn at NHS Choices said on 06 September 2013

John Dot:
Cold pre-cooked prawns are fine to eat in pregnancy.

SophieP2004
It is raspberry leaf tea that you need to be cautious about
not raspberry flavoured fruit teas - they are completely different products!

pp_rod:
There should be no risk here. All milk and cream served in a restaurant should have been pasteurised. Warming the cream would not increase the risk of listeriosis.

There isn't much evidence around the use of herbal teas in pregnancy, but the widespread use of herbal teas by pregnant women is relatively reassuring. The Food Standards Agency (FSA) advises pregnant women to take a cautious approach, having not more than around four cups of herbal tea a day. They also advise pregnant women to talk to their midwife or doctor about which herbal products are safe to have in pregnancy.

Thanks,
Kathryn Bingham, NHS Choices editor


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Kathryn at NHS Choices said on 05 September 2013

Dear TMarky,

It's fine to eat shop-bought yogurt in pregnancy, whether it's live, Bio, Organic, whole or low-fat. Yogurt is a great pregnancy food because it's rich in calcium and protein! Check, though, that homemade yogurt has been made with pasteurised milk. If not, steer clear.
Hope that helps,

Kathryn, NHS Choices editor

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John Dot said on 03 September 2013

Hello, please could you advise if cold pre-cooked prawns (eg in a prawn mayonnaise) are safe to eat during pregnancy as this is not made clear on your page about shellfish. Thanks!!

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TMarky said on 25 August 2013

I have been advised to increase my diary intake but do not like milk and cheese is rather fattening, I really like yogurts but have found these confusing. ‘Can I eat Organic Bio live yogurt during pregnancy? It is made with whole milk'

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SophieP2004 said on 24 August 2013

Hi
I was wondering if fruit flavoured tea bags from the supermarket are ok to drink. Googled it but getting mixed answers. I only know to avoid raspberry till nearer my due date.

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pp_rod said on 24 August 2013

Hello. Could you please advise on the specific risk of the following two things:
1. I ate some warmed through cream (like single or double cream) in a restaurant - I don't know if it was pasturised as I forgot to ask. What is the rick of listeriosis from warmed cream?
2. On this page it states not to have mopre than 4 cups of herbal tea a day, however I have not seen this advise anywhere else on NHS foods to avoid website. Because I had not seen this advise I have been drinking up to 7 or 8 cups a day of herbal teas such as peppermint, redbush, chamomile and ginger. These were all straight forward teas, not 'remedy' teas with added ingedients. Could you advise of any specific risk associated with these specific teas in large quantites? Many thanks for the help - there's lots of advise out there!

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Julietee said on 23 August 2013

I ate chopped liver and pate a few times in my first trimester - liver wasn't on the sheet my doctor gave me with foods to avoid.

Now I'm really worried - can you advise me on my risk level?

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Kathryn at NHS Choices said on 19 August 2013

Dear Cleaver83,

Please try not to worry. It sounds as if all the salad ingredients have been approved by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) as safe to eat in pregnancy. And as it was a restaurant, you can be almost certain the mozzarella was pasteurised.

Hope that helps,
Kathryn Bingham, NHS Choices editor

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Kathryn at NHS Choices said on 19 August 2013

Dear H369,

Yes, it's safe to eat gorgonzola and other soft blue cheeses provided they're cooked thoroughly to kill bacteria ie steaming hot throughout.

Thanks,
Kathryn Bingham, NHS Choiced editor

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Cleaver83 said on 19 August 2013

Hi,
I am9 weeks pregnant and concerned that without taking much note I ordered a salad I've had before from a restaurant. It wasn't until afterwards I began to worry about its content. I believe there was a mozarella and a cured ham of sorts (a dark meat) with anchovies, olives, rocket lead and lots of oil. I have been nauseous about eating anything and when I sat down just thought I'd order it as I enjoyed it last time. I'm not 100% certain of the ingredients in full or whether any were pasteurised! Should I get checked for listeria!?

Thanks

A x

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H369 said on 17 August 2013

Whilst it says that you can eat cooked brie or camembert, does this also extend to gorgonzola if it is cooked with cream to make a sauce for pasta?

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Kathryn at NHS Choices said on 14 August 2013

Dear EmBlazes:

We asked toxicologists at the Food Standards Agency (FSA) about quinine in tonic water and here is their summary:

There is no official advice on the safety of quinine in tonic water in pregnancy, although the FSA recommends sticking to moderate consumption.

Quinine is available in 200g and 300g tablets for use medicinally as an antimalarial. Side effects, including uterine contractions, have been reported in women taking very high doses of quinine tablets, though the effect appears to be mild and quinine is considered to be safe for use in pregnancy as an anti-malaria drug.

Quinine in tonic water is at a much weaker level of approximately 80 mg quinine hydrochloride/L. The safety of quinine as a flavouring in soft drinks has been evaluated by independent expert committees including the WHO and they have concluded that it is safe to use at current levels up to a maximum of 100mg/L. The lowest level of intake at which an adverse effect was observed was an effect on eyesight at 120 mg/day which is equivalent to approximately 1.5 L tonic water.

Hope that helps,
Kathryn Bingham, NHS Choices editor

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Kathryn at NHS Choices said on 13 August 2013

Hi RSB19,

Don't worry. It is absolutely fine to eat fresh eggs in pregnancy as long as they are cooked - and in Yorkshire pudding they would be.

The only need for pasteurised eggs is in recipes that call for uncooked/partially cooked eggs like some ice-creams and mayonnaise.

That's because uncooked/undercooked eggs can contain salmonella. Although salmonella food poisoning is unlikely to harm your unborn baby, it can give you severe diarrhoea and vomiting.

Pasteurised eggs have been treated to kill any salmonella.

Kathryn Bingham, NHS Choices editor

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RSB19 said on 11 August 2013

Hi, I just ate some eggs from my parents' farm which aren't pasteurised or treated in any way, they were cooked in Yorkshire pudding. Have I put my baby at risk? The advice for eggs above doesn't mention them being pasteurised or not. Is there more risk from salmonella with unpasteurised I guess? I read somewhere that salmonella itself doesn't harm the baby, so what is the risk? Kind regards

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Kathryn at NHS Choices said on 09 August 2013

Dear Jenismith889,

Corned beef is as safe as any other type of pre-packed meat (i.e ham) to eat during pregnancy. Some other sites (maybe from other countries such as the US), may suggest to avoid eating pre-packed meats during pregnancy, but here in the UK we do not.

I've amended the article to include this information.

Thanks,
Kathryn Bingham, NHS Choices editor

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Kathryn at NHS Choices said on 09 August 2013

Dear Sunflower 27,

Ice cream is fine, as long as it's made with pasteurised milk and eggs - and ice cream from Haagen Daz and other big manufacturers would be.

Raw eggs are a worry as they can contain salmonella, the food poisoning bug. That's why it's important to always cook eggs properly - whether you're pregnant or not.

Ice cream, of course, can't be cooked, so it's made with pasteurised eggs instead of normal ones. The pasteurisation process kills any bacteria so pasteurised eggs are salmonella-free.

For home-made ice cream, use a pasteurised egg substitute or follow an egg-free recipe.

Hope that helps,
Kathryn, NHS Choices editor

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EmBlazes said on 30 July 2013

I haven't seen anything here about Tonic Water. Since it contains quinine, I was wondering what amount is safe to consume during pregnancy? Is there a guideline?

Thank you.

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Sunflower27 said on 14 July 2013

Hi I asked Haagen Dazs if I can eat their ice cream while pregnant and this was their reply. Could you pls translate whether it's safe to eat?!
We would like to reassure you that food quality and safety are our prime concerns and considerable care is taken in the preparation and packaging of our products.   Haagen-Dazs uses only fresh egg yolk, which has been double pasteurised making it safe for consumption.
Also I've noticed that a few Gu cheesecakes contain pasteurised eggs or egg yolks so are we allowed those? I'm a bit confused about the pasteurised egg rule. Tks

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Jenismith889 said on 11 July 2013

Hi just wondering if corned beef was safe during pregnancy there seems to be conflicting advice about this on the net.

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JR83 said on 28 June 2013

Hi all,

I've been so careful about what I eat during pregnancy and today I'm a bit worried. I ate a hot chocolate fondant at lunch today and although the middle was hot, it only stuck me afterwards that the mixture usually contains eggs, and having a fondant centre would imply that the mixture is uncooked in the middle.

I am aware that there is more of a chance of getting salmonella than listeriosis from partially cooked eggs, but will the fact that i ate the chocolate fondant be harmful to the baby? I am 34 weeks pregnant.

Thanks

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Bean1978 said on 24 June 2013

Just to make everyone aware, as there isn't any information on hot dogs: Do not eat hot dogs, luncheon meats, or deli meats, unless they are reheated until steaming hot. Avoid getting fluid from hot dog packages on other foods, utensils, and food preparation surfaces, and wash hands after handling hot dogs, luncheon meats and deli meats.

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Kathryn at NHS Choices said on 20 June 2013

Hi everyone, thanks for posting:

Keli_Marie - chocolate is fine to eat in pregnancy from a food safety point of view, whether hard or melted.

Wildspur 42 - there are currently no recommendations advising pregnant women to avoid liquorice.

Guernseygirl - you don't have to avoid feta, as long as it's made with pasteurised milk. And stilton is fine because it's a hard cheese. You only need to avoid the blue-veined soft cheeses like roquefort and the soft, mould-ripened cheeses such as brie and camembert. All other cheeses are fine.

It's true that many other sites do incorrectly list stilton and some other cheeses as a food to avoid. That's because the original official advice got a little twisted in duplication and some sites still mistakenly quote all blue cheeses as being risky, when in fact it's just soft blue cheeses.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) advice is that pregnant women can eat stilton, and many of the other products which other sites have highlighted as risky, for example bagged salad, deli meats, salami and smoked fish products.

Mummy2be2013 - presumably the blue cheese dressing bought from a supermarket (or in bulk for a restaurant) would be pasteurised so the product would be safe to consume when pregnant. If in doubt read the label or ask if in a restaurant.

Hope this helps,

Kathryn at NHS Choices

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Keli_Marie said on 18 June 2013

Hi Susie - I am having an expectant friend round for dinner on Friday (she is 14 weeks gone) and wanted to make hot chocolate fondant. Will this be safe for her to eat? Thanks in advance.

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Guernseygirl said on 06 June 2013

I am finding the cheese issue quite confusing - again so many differing advice online. Can I eat stilton, feta, wensleydale and port salut? Although on here stilton and feta are a yes - they are a no on loads of other sites! thanks so much for your help.

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mummy2be2013 said on 22 May 2013

hi just wondered if you could eat blue cheese dressing like the one at the harvester restaurant

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SWm2b said on 20 May 2013

Hello, many jars of processed pasta and curry sauces include the ingredients of milk and sometimes of certain cheeses e.g. mascarpone - will these be pasteurized? it does not say on the labels. Thanks

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curiosity said on 15 May 2013

Hi,
I'm currently 19 weeks pregnant and unthinkingly had a large brie sandwich - is there anything I should look out for now?

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pregnantwife said on 08 May 2013

Hi my wife is worrying a lot after reading articles on the internet about Soy products. Some say that it can cause birth defects.

She has eaten chocolate and other products that have Soy in the ingredients. It seems that many products do.

Please can you advise on the effects of Soy on pregnancy.

Thank you.

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uhhquariyes said on 30 April 2013

I have read in a French book that I am not allowed to eat surimi...also I have questions about fondant au chocolate, if it's okay or not?

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Wildspur42 said on 30 April 2013

Can you eat liquorice when pregnant?

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Susie said on 26 April 2013

Suzanne44 - sorbet is fine

Bambino3 - you can eat pork pies and sausage rolls. There is some risk with all ready-to-eat foods when it comes to listeria, as listeria can survive and multiply at refridgerator temperatures. In the UK, the risk is considered low and pregnant women are not advised to avoid ready-to-eat foods.

Regarding cheese: thorough cooking should kill any bacteria in cheese, so it should be safe to eat cooked mould-ripened soft cheese, such as brie or camembert, or dishes that contain them. It's important to make sure the cheese is thoroughly cooked until it's steaming hot all the way through.

Cat20122 - soft ice creams should be fine to eat when you're pregnant, as they are processed products made with pasteurised milk. However, if you have any concerns about eating these products, you might wish to avoid them while you're pregnant. This applies to gelato too.

The answers to your queries on cheese are in the article on this page. In short: you can eat parmesan made from unpasteurised milk (it is a hard cheese) and you can eat feta and ricotta made from pasteurised milk.

Gillybean2012 - we hadn't heard of beef biltong, but it seems to be a cured meat. In the UK, pregnant women are not advised to avoid cold cured meats. If you are at all concerned, you might choose to avoid cured meats while you are pregnant.

The Food Standards Agency is reviewing its toxoplasmosis and listeria advice to vulnerable groups, including pregnant women, and we'll post the reviewed advice on this page as soon as it's available.

Shirisee - you should avoid soft, blue-veined cheeses whether they're made with pastuerised or unpasteurised milk. Thorough cooking should kill any bacteria, as long as the cheese is steaming hot throughout.

Susie at NHS Choices

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Suzanne44 said on 24 April 2013

Hi, I have a craving for sorbet and was wondering if im aloud to eat it have read a lot of conflicting information please can I have some professional advice? I wanted to get the Sainsbury mango or raspberry one it doesn't seem to mention egg or milk on the ingredients thanks

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jam26dodger said on 17 April 2013

Hi this is a great section of the website and so good considering all the crazy advice on food out there on forums etc. Am I able to eat the prepackaged chicken and sweetcorn sandwich fillers in mayonaise. You can buy these from the supermarket I ate this without thinking and my mum freaked out saying about the listeria risk. Hope u can help x

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Bambino13 said on 08 April 2013

Thank you for this clear information and helpful respones to peoples' comments. I am very new to all this (only just found out 4weeks+4!).

Please could you let me know if the ordinarily unsuitable soft cheeses/ blue cheeses/ unpasturised cheeses are ok if cooked eg. on a pizza or as cheese on toast etc?

Also are cold pork pies/ sausage rolls bought from the shops ok?

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cat20122 said on 05 April 2013

Hi, can I eat italian Gelato when I am in Tuscany? Also, what about parmesan if it is not made with pasteurised milk? Lastly, is soft cheese made with pasteurised milk ok to eat (feta and ricotta) Have read lots of conflicting things. Thanks.

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cat20122 said on 05 April 2013

Hi, can I eat italian Gelato when I am in Tuscany? Also, what about parmesan if it is not made with pasteurised milk? Lastly, is soft cheese made with pasteurised milk ok to eat (feta and ricotta) Have read lots of conflicting things. Thanks.

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Gillybean2012 said on 03 April 2013

I am having a real craving for Beef Biltong but I am not sure if it is safe to eat during some/all of my pregnancy. We order it from a UK company. Can you confirm Biltong is to eat?

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ShiriSee said on 02 April 2013

So I know unpasteurized blue cheeses are to be avoided, but what if they are made from pasteurized milk? Also, would it be fine to have, say, gorgonzola on pizza as long as it's been properly cooked or are blue cheeses just a go in general?

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User378591 said on 22 March 2013

Is it safe to drink alcohol free beer and wine in the first trimester? The alcohol free beer I've looked at contains 0.05% alcohol, but the wine contains 0.5%.

Thanks

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Susie said on 22 March 2013

uhhquariyes -

You don't have to avoid packaged, pre-cooked meat such as ham or turkey. For more details, see the response to confusedjo below, on 20 March.

Susie at NHS Choices

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uhhquariyes said on 21 March 2013

prepackaged slices of ham, chicken & turkey that are refrigerated...yes or no?

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Susie said on 21 March 2013

Ikirb -

Clotted cream is ok if it's made from pasteurised milk. If it doesn't say on the packaging, you could try the manufacturer's website or there might be a phone number you could ring to ask.

Susie at NHS Choices

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lkirb said on 20 March 2013

Is clotted cream safe to eat during pregnancy if its in shortbread biscuits? The pack doesn't say if its pasteurised.

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Susie said on 20 March 2013

confusedjo -

In the UK, pregnant women are not currently advised to avoid chorizo. Please read the section on cold, cured meats on this page for more details.

You can eat ham - pregnant women are not advised to avoid pre-cooked packaged meat products. There is some risk with all ready-to-eat foods when it comes to listeria, as listeria can survive and multiply at refridgerator temperatures. As ready-to-eat foods are not usually cooked before you eat them, there is no step that kills any listeria that may have contaminated the food.

Bear in mind that you can only get listeriosis if the food you eat is contaminated with listeria, and ready-to-eat products are not necessarily contaminated with listeria. In the UK, the risk is considered low and pregnant women are not advised to avoid ready-to-eat foods.

The Food Standards Agency advises pregnant women to avoid soft meringue. Hard shop-bought meringue should be ok. When cooking hard meringue at home, make sure that the core temperature has reached 70C for two minutes.

Susie at NHS Choices

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lkirb said on 20 March 2013

Is clotted cream safe to eat during pregnancy if its in shortbread biscuits? Thanks

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User378591 said on 19 March 2013

Is it safe to drink alcohol free beer and wine in the first trimester? The alcohol free beer I've looked at contains 0.05% alcohol, but the wine contains 0.5%.

Thanks

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confusedjo said on 17 March 2013

Another query - Also shop bought meringue nests? These and the chorizo and ham are foods I've been eating without thinking about whether they are safe but have read of others saying these foods should be avoided.

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confusedjo said on 17 March 2013

The advice is really useful but I am still finding it very hard to understand what I can and cannot eat and still have a balanced diet. I've read today that many recommend that cold meats like ham should be avoided - please can you clarify? For example I've been regularly eating supermarket bought cooked ham to eat cold in sandwiches and also on pizzas. I have also had chorizo in soups and cooked in pasta etc. Is this safe to eat? I don't see it on your foods to avoid list so assumed it would be ok.

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Susie said on 14 March 2013

missg00se - the upshot is that having the fruit and juice should be ok, but you should avoid pomegranate extract. We asked toxicologist experts about this and they say that there is not a lot of reliable information about pomegranate available. Various parts of the pomegranate have been used traditionally as medicines, including the seeds and the rind, as a contraceptive and to induce abortion, but it is unclear whether this is actually effective and if so what quantities would produce such effects.

The consensus on various expert websites (eg Medline) is that consuming the fruit and the juice is OK, but pregnant women should avoid pomegranate extract as this may contain rind which contains compounds that could have adverse effects. The toxicologists suggest this seems a reasonable view and it would also be prudent to consume pomegranate fruit and juice in moderation (ie normal dietary consumption).

Susie at NHS Choices

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Susie said on 14 March 2013

vic1234 - honey is fine.

Yoghurt is fine too, as long as it's made from pasteurised milk. Live yoghurt made from pasteurised milk is safe to eat in pregnancy, you don't have to avoid it because of the live culture.

With any ready-to-eat food there is always some risk of listeria, but in this type of product (live yoghurt) the Food Standards Agency (FSA) believes the risk to be minimal.

Susie at NHS Choices

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Susie said on 11 March 2013

Annieparker - there is a longer answer about herbal teas lower down this page (posted on 10 January). The short answer is:
There isn't much evidence around the use of herbal teas in pregnancy, but the widespread use of them by pregnant women is relatively reassuring. The Food Standards Agency (FSA) advises pregnant women to take a precautionary approach, having not more than around four cups of herbal tea a day. They also advise pregnant women to talk to their midwife or doctor about which herbal products are safe to have in pregnancy.

Hope this helps.
Susie at NHS Choices

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Susie said on 11 March 2013

Worried again - yes, boiling would kill the toxoplasma parasite. It's best practice to wash vegetables before cooking, as agitation (rubbing) the parasites/bacteria is key to removing them - this would also remove any soil.

The reason pregnant women are advised to wash pre-packed salad is because of the risk of toxoplasmosis associated with soil (which you are likely to find on salad produce). The soil contamination is less likely on fruit, but if you want to be extra careful you may want to wash pre-packed fruit as well.

There is no specific advice on dried fruits, but these are not considered a risky food to pregnant women.

You can find out more about healthy eating and preparation of food via these links:
http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pages/healthy-pregnancy-diet.aspx

http://www.nhs.uk/livewell/homehygiene/pages/how-to-wash-fruit-and-vegetables.aspx

Susie at NHS Choices

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vic1234 said on 09 March 2013

Hi........2 things I am currently concerned about...

-Yoghurt-Natural Greek yoghurt. Is it ok? I totally confused with the live, pro biotic labeling although they have confirmed its pasteurized.

-Honey-Is all honey safe to consume?

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Worried again said on 05 March 2013

Please can you advise if you should wash pre packaged fruit such as melon or mango?

Also, does boiling vegetables kill the toxoplasmosis parasite? (I forgot to wash some sweetcorn prior to boiling).

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Susie said on 05 March 2013

pixietown - pregnant women are not advised to avoid any particular herbs and spices in pregnancy, if they are used for general cooking purposes, ie adding herbs or spices to flavour a dish. Make sure you stick to the storage/usage instructions.

Pregnant women should aviod having more than approximately four cups of herbal tea a day, because there is not much evidence about the effects of herbal teas in pregnancy.

Pregnant women also need to be cautious with herbal remedies. Not all 'natural' remedies are safe in pregnancy. If you decide to use herbal remedies, contact the Institute for Complementary and Natural Medicine (http://www.icnm.org.uk/) to make sure that your practitioner is qualified. Tell the practitioner that you are pregnant, and tell your midwife or doctor, and your pharmacist, which herbal remedies you are using.

Susie at NHS Choices

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Susie said on 05 March 2013

sorahliyba - yes, you can eat cheese-flavoured crisps.

emsiell - we are still waiting for the updated advice on cured meats and cured fish, including gravadlax. We'll put the information on this page as soon as we have it. Try not to worry about eating cured meat in the past - if meat is cured, this does not mean that it is contaminated with harmful bacteria or parasites (such as toxoplasma).

firewood - yes, you can eat pre-packed sandwiches containing mayonnaise.

Smiffy3 - eating vegetables that contain vitamin A is fine, including spinach. This is because the vitamin A we get from plant foods is actually beta-carotene, which can be converted into vitamin A in the body.

It's the vitamin A (retinol) that we get from foods of animal origin, such as liver, that pregnant women should avoid. Too much vitamin A as retinol may be harmful to a developing foetus and cause birth defects. Beta-carotene however does not have the same effect.

You can read about vitamin A in more detail in the article and comments on the page about vitamins and minerals:
http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pages/vitamins-minerals-supplements-pregnant.aspx

Susie at NHS Choices

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Worried again said on 03 March 2013

Please can you tell me what the uk guidelines on pre packaged fruit such as mango is? Thanks.

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Annieparker1980 said on 27 February 2013

Hi
I'm 7 weeks pregnant for the first time. Can somebody tell me if I'm ok to drink the pukka ginger and lemongrass or three ginger tea as a way of curbing sickness. I've been having a couple of cups a day but now I've read that some herbs are not good for the baby.
Thanks in advance for any advice.

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missg00se said on 25 February 2013

Is there any specific guidance on whether pomegranate is recommended in pregnancy or not? I did a quick web search and found advice from sites advising pregnant women to eat pomegranate as a healthy snack and also advice about avoiding against it as large quantities can cause uterine contractions. Couldn't find any advice either way from a reputable source, which leads me to believe it's probably ok but it would be good to have it confirmed here.

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Smiffy3 said on 23 February 2013

I want to eat a mixture of fruit & veg however should I avoid ones such as spinach as it is high in vitamin A?

Thanks in advance

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pixietown said on 20 February 2013

Could you please tell me which herbs and spices I should avoid while pregnant?

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firewood said on 19 February 2013

Thanks for coming back to me.

One other question - is it safe to have pre packed sandwiches with mayo in them, from supermarkets and sandwich takeaways like Pret and Eat? Not sure whether that would classify as them using home made mayo..?

Thanks

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emsie11 said on 18 February 2013

Hello - do you have any update/clarification on cured meats yet? I have avoided them throughout pregnancy but remember that I was eating Spanish Serrano cured ham (uncooked) and pastrami in the weeks leading up to my pregnancy and I am now worried that I could have had a toxoplasmosis infection at the time of conception. I am 4 months pregnant with my first.
Thanks!

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sorahliyba said on 18 February 2013

Hi

Is it safe to have cheese flavored crisps in pregnancy ? Says the ingredients include ' dried cheese' . Im 30 weeks pregnant and had a 1 0ff craving for them. Should i be worried? Thanks

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DMDunk said on 14 February 2013

Hi,

I have decided to follow the NHS dietary advice during my pregnancy however having returned from my first appointment I am slightly confused.

The NHS midwife I saw said I was not allowed to eat sushi during my pregnancy and stood by this even when being shown the information relating to eating sushi on this website. she confirmed I could not eat it even after having consulted the senior midwife on duty.

Similarly the same goes for cooked Brie and Camembert. I don't really mind whether I am allowed to eat it or not but it would be good to get some clarity just to be on the safe side.

Thanks!

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Susie said on 14 February 2013

simonehungry - It's safe to eat doughnuts and eclairs with cream in them, as long as the cream is made from pasteurised milk. The doughnuts and eclairs on sale in supermarkets are likely to contain whipped cream made with pasteurised milk. If you're unsure and it doesn't say on the packaging, you can ask a member of staff or contact the shop's head office.

Susie at NHS Choices

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Susie said on 14 February 2013

zowie55 - cocnut oil is safe to eat in pregnancy - pregnant women are not advised to avoid it. We have not come across any evidence that it can help with breastfeeding though.

Susie at NHS Choices

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Susie said on 14 February 2013

Michelle T - yes, manuka honey is safe to have in pregnancy. Enjoy!

Susie at NHS Choices

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Susie said on 14 February 2013

kvmorgan - we asked the experts at the Food Standards Agency (FSA) about this. The upshot is that having goji berries in moderation, e.g. sprinkled on your cereal, should be fine - the scare stories online don't seem to have much strong basis to them. You can read the full response:

Betaine is an amino acid which occurs in a range of foodstuffs, notably wheat, shellfish and spinach. There are very few data on the betaine content of goji berries (none in the published scientific literature) but one source suggests around 1%. If true, this would make it equivalent to the levels in foods such as wheat bran or wheat germ.

Betaine is involved in numerous body processes. Its main use as a supplement is to improve cardiovascular health (a recent European Food Safety Authority review noted that 1.5g a day would be needed to get this effect, but did not give any warnings about pregnancy). It also seems to turn up on body builder websites, where it is used to preserve muscle during weight loss. These often quote warnings about pregnancy, but more through lack of data than any suggestion of adverse effects.

Various websites suggest goji berries may increase uterine contractions or as a uterine stimulant, but this seems to be based on a mix of anecdotal/case reports or traditional use/folklore and hard to substantiate. An abstract of a 2010 paper reviewing the safety of goji does not mention adverse reproductive effects.

In summary, there are few data on goji and/or betaine with respect to pregnancy. From the available data, moderate consumption of goji berries during pregnancy (as described, sprinkled on cereal) would not be of concern as the levels of betaine would be comparable to those in other foods. But it would be prudent to avoid high levels, not because there is any evidence of harm, but because there is not much evidence at all about the effects of higher levels of consumption.

Susie at NHS Choices

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simonehungry said on 13 February 2013

Is it safe to eat 'whipping cream' or whipped cream during pregnancy? In particular the cream that you would find in fresh chocolate eclairs/donuts etc they sell at supermarkets and other such place?

The only thing it says is made with whipping cream and nothing about pasteurized.

Thanks

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Susie said on 11 February 2013

Cononia - if milk doesn't sit well with your stomach, talk to your doctor as they may want to check you for intolerances.

It is safe to have Yoplait and other yoghurt drinks in pregnancy, as long as they are made from pasteurised milk. It may say on the packaging, or you can contact the manufacturer.
Bear in mind that yoghurt drinks often contain added sugars, so check the label and choose varieties that don't contain added sugars.

The Department of Health advises pregnant women to eat a healthy diet and a variety of different foods every day. You should aim for two to three portions a day of dairy foods such as milk, cheese, fromage frais and yoghurt. Try to choose low fat varieties where possible. There is no mention of consuming at least 200ml of milk a day.

There are also other sources of calcium in the diet, such as fish with edible bones (like sardies), fortified breakfast cereals, dried fruit, bread, almonds and green leafy vegetables like watercress, broccoli and curly kale.

Full-fat milk, semi-skimmed and skimmed milk all contain similar amounts of calcium, so you won't be losing out by choosing skimmed or semi-skimmed milk.

Hope this helps.
Susie at NHS Choices

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zowie55 said on 10 February 2013

Hello,

I'm 29 week pregnant and would like to know if it's okay to eat coconut oil? I've heard that it could be beneficial for future breast feeding, but would like some clarification. I would like to use it for cooking and also as a moisturizer to combat stretch marks.

Thank you

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simonehungry said on 07 February 2013

Hi, please can you tell me if it is safe to eat products such as fresh cream donuts, chocolate eclairs etc? E.g. Ones made at say a supermarket?
I have checked packaging and it doesn't say anything helpful really except that it is made with whipping cream. Not sure if that is the same as whipped cream or if that is safe either!

Many thanks

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baby79 said on 07 February 2013

Susie,

Thank you for your response re goat's cheese and deli meats. However may i suggest that you re-word the advise offered on 'Some Types of Cheese', as currently it is confusing and unclear.
As i said previously 'Chevre' is goat's cheese, so in one paragraph you're saying to avoid goat's cheese and in the latter paragraph you say that other cheese are 'ok' such as goat's cheese! I'm sure you can see how these two statements are totally contradictory!

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BlueCheeseFan said on 06 February 2013

Can you really eat Stilton when pregnant now? I'm sure the advice in my last pregnancy (18 months ago) was to avoid all blue cheese. What has changed? And what makes the mould used in Stilton safer than the mould in soft blue cheeses? I understand the listeria risk is reduced because Stilton is a hard cheese but the article seems to suggest that the risk of soft blue cheese is two-fold: listeria; and mould. Thanks for your help. If it really is okay to eat Stilton I will be very happy!

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BlueCheeseFan said on 06 February 2013

Can you really eat Stilton when pregnant now? I'm sure the advice in my last pregnancy (18 months ago) was to avoid all blue cheese. What has changed? And what makes the mould used in Stilton safer than the mould in soft blue cheeses? I understand the listeria risk is reduced because Stilton is a hard cheese but the article seems to suggest that the risk of soft blue cheese is two-fold: listeria; and mould. Thanks for your help. If it really is okay to eat Stilton I will be very happy!

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Susie said on 06 February 2013

firewood - cold meats that have previously been cooked, such as sliced ham, are considered safe to eat.

Some countries advise pregnant women to avoid eating cold cured meats (such as salami, parma ham, chorizo and pepperoni) or smoked fish (such as smoked salmon) as there is a small risk of these foods harbouring listeria, or the toxoplasma parasite that causes toxoplasmosis.

In the UK, pregnant women are not advised to avoid cold cured meats or smoked fish. The Department of Health doesn't advise on what to eat if you go abroad. If you are at all concerned, you might choose to avoid cured meats while you are pregnant.

The Food Standards Agency is reviewing its toxoplasmosis and listeria advice to vulnerable groups, including pregnant women, and we'll post the reviewed advice on this page as soon as it's available.

Pregnant women are advised to eat oily fish (such as mackerel and trout), but not more than two portions a week. You can read more about fish in the article on this page.

Susie at NHS Choices

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Susie said on 06 February 2013

baby79- you should avoid all soft, mould-ripened cheeses, whether pasteurised or not, including those made with goats' milk. Hard cheese made from pasteurised goats' milk is safe to eat.

Regarding deli meats - some countries advise women not to eat cold meats during pregnancy, but in the UK women are not advised to avoid cold meats as the risk of listeria is considered to be low.

Susie at NHS Choices

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Michelle T said on 05 February 2013

Is it safe to have Manuka honey during pregnancy? I have it as a hot drink with lemon which I thought would help with fighting colds due to its anti-bacterial properties. However, I'm now concerned whether there are any side effects for an unborn baby. I would appreciate your advice. Thanks.

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firewood said on 02 February 2013

i am planning to go to France and wanted to know whether i can eat any cold or cold cured meat eg, cooked turkey/chicken, salami, parma ham, chorizo and pepperoni. ALso, here in the UK, is it ok to eat smoked salmon, mackerel and trout?

thanks

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baby79 said on 31 January 2013

Can you please clarify your guidance on soft cheeses. I have noticed that you have said that it is unsafe to eat 'chevre' described by the site as 'a type of goat's' cheese. However you have then proceeded to say that pasteurized goat's cheese is safe to consume. It has come to my attention that Chevre is Goat's Cheese and not a 'type of goat's cheese' - chevre is merely the french word for goat!
Is it therefore safe to eat pasteurised goat's cheese or not?

Also, what is your stance on deli meats like ham, turkey etc? A lot of websites warn against these as they are more likely to harbor listeria. Do you think these are safe to consume? e.g. a ciabatta or panini with turkey or salami bought in a coffee shop? Or meats bought from a supermarket deli counter?

Your advice would be greatly appreciated.

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Susie said on 28 January 2013

TorH - there is no scientific evidence associating soya milk and impaired fertility in humans. So there are no indications that women should avoid or limit having soya milk in order to get pregnant.

Hope this helps.

Susie at NHS Choices

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kvmorgan said on 27 January 2013

I read your response from December on goji berries, but am still a little worried. I did a google search and a lot of scary things like "prohibited" and "betaine can cause miscarriage" came up. I just add a sprinkling of some linwoods product on my cereal - it contains ground seeds and ground goji berries. Hopefully this is not enough to cause any harm, but I'm hoping someone with some knowledge about these berries can put my mind at ease.

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Cononia said on 25 January 2013

I am 9 wks pregnant and read I have to drink pasteurised semi-skimmed milk, at least 200ml a day. The problem is that this milk does not sit well with my stomach. Is it safe to drink Yoplait? Some people say yes, some say no. I need to get some calcium in my body and don't know how without tablets. Thank you.

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Susie said on 25 January 2013

spricegirl - live yoghurt made from pasteurised milk is safe to eat in pregnancy, you don't have to avoid it because of the live culture.

With any ready-to-eat food there is always some risk of listeria, but in this type of product (live yoghurt) the Food Standards Agency (FSA) believes the risk to be minimal.

Susie at NHS Choices

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Susie said on 25 January 2013

Gems37 - it is safe to eat falafel and hummus in pregnancy. Make sure you follow the use-by date and any storage instructions. If you make falafel or hummus at home, store them in the fridge and eat them within two days.

You can find out more about having a healthy diet in pregnancy, including some ideas for healthy snacks (including hummus!) via this link:
http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pages/healthy-pregnancy-diet.aspx

Susie at NHS Choices

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Susie said on 25 January 2013

worriedandpregnant - try not to worry about anything you ate before you knew you were pregnant.

The risk from soft, mould-ripened blue cheese is that it may contain listeria bacteria, which could cause listeriosis (food poisoning). Bear in mind you can only get listeriosis if the food you eat is contaminated with listeria, and the cheese you ate won't necessarily have been contaminated.

The same goes for the cheesecake - it won't necessarily have contained unpasteurised cheese or raw egg, and if it did these won't necessarily have been contaminated with listeria or salmonella.

If you have eaten food contaminated with listeria or salmonella, the time that it takes for symptoms of food poisoning to develop can vary from one hour to 90 days. You can find out more about listeria via this link: http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Listeriosis/Pages/Introduction.aspx

and food poisoning, including salmonella poisoning, via this link: http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Food-poisoning/Pages/Introduction.aspx

Remember, eating blue cheese or cheesecake before you knew you were pregnant won't necessarily cause harm.

Susie at NHS Choices

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Gems37 said on 24 January 2013

Are Falafal and Hummous ok to eat whilst pregnant? I have just eaten a Boots Jamie Oliver flat bread with both and am worried that I may have put myself at risk of Listeria? I am 9 weeks pregnant with my first baby.

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TorH said on 20 January 2013

Hi
For about 7 years I have been drinking soya milk as an alternative to milk as I have bronchiectasis. It has worked wonders but now I am trying to conceive (and have been since Aug 12) I am a little concerned with the scary Internet info on the 'dangers of soya' and how it may be stopping me falling pregnant. I have soya every day on cerial and probably 4 cups of (decaf) tea a day. Apart from that I am 31, really healthy/active/don't drink or smoke/ excersise regularly. I chart my temps and cervical mucus and it looks like I'm ovulating- but nothing is happening... Should I cut out soya to see if things will change and if so, can you recommend an alternative? I'm worried I won't get enough calcium if I go to rice milk products. I'm taking pre conception vitamins as well. Any advice would be reassuring!! Thanks

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spricegirl said on 19 January 2013

I am a little confused about whether I can eat live bio yoghurt. I contacted my manufacturer of the brand I use and this was their response.
"I am able to confirm that all our products including the 0% Fat Natural Yogurts are made using pasteurised raw materials. The milk that is used in our yogurt production is pasteurised however the finished yogurt is not pasteurised. The cultures are added post pasteurisation and are therefore live."
I am still confused!

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worriedandpregnant said on 18 January 2013

hi, im very worried as i accidentally ate some blue cheese before i found out i was pregnant and a cheesecake without reading all the packaging - so i am unsure about whether it contained raw egg or the wrong sort of cheese. if i have not been unwell, does this mean that the risk is now over? or are there still unforeseen consequences that may occur? so concerned that i may have done something to damage my unborn child. thank you for your help

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mekalangelo said on 18 January 2013

Thank you so much for the information!

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Susie said on 10 January 2013

Mekalangelo – we conacted the Food Standards Agency about this, their response is as follows.

There is little information about the safety of most herbal products, and therefore the Food Standards Agency (FSA) recommends a precautionary approach, especially during pregnancy. There is no approval system for herbal teas in the UK. It’s the responsibility of the supplier or distributor to ensure that their products comply with UK food law, including the general provisions of the Food Safety Act 1990, which make it an offence to offer for sale a food product which is injurious to health.

During pregnancy the FSA recommends that women drink herbal teas in moderation – not more than approximately 4 cups of tea per day. They also advise women to seek advice from their midwife or doctor if they are unsure about which herbal products are safe to consume.

Peppermint and chamomile teas have been studied in a large cohort study which found that their use was not associated with an increased risk of low birth weight (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22516883). Other pregnancy out comes do not appear to have been looked at, but the widespread use of herbal teas among pregnant women is relatively reassuring. Chamomile has been found to contain substances which may cause adverse effects in the foetus at high levels so avoid excessive use (this would be more than the 4 cups per day recommended above).

Hope this helps.
Susie at NHS Choices

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mekalangelo said on 24 December 2012

Hi,

I have been looking food information up online, and the one thing that really confuses me is herbal teas; especially peppermint tea. They also seem to dislike chamomile.

American websites seem to think it is definitely unsafe to consume peppermint tea during pregnancy, but I can find no guidance from the UK. I have IBS and have gotten used to taking peppermint oil capsules or drinking peppermint tea to calm an upset tummy.

Could you please confirm whether or not I should be drinking either of these two teas? (Also, I have stopped with the peppermint oil to be on the safe side).

Thank you, :)

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Susie said on 21 December 2012

Miss D247, I forgot to add some useful links. You can find more about vitamins and supplements via this link:

http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pages/vitamins-minerals-supplements-pregnant.aspx

and about having a healthy diet in pregnancy via this link:
http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pages/healthy-pregnancy-diet.aspx

Susie at NHS Choices

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Susie said on 21 December 2012

MissD247 - please talk again to your GP or your midwife about finding an iron supplement that is suitable for you. They will be able to help.

A healthy balanced diet is important at any time but especially during pregnancy. It is best to get vitamins and minerals from the food you eat, but pregnant women need to take some supplements as well.

The Department of Health recommends that pregnant women should take 10 micrograms of vitamin D a day throughout pregnancy and when breastfeeding, and 400 micrograms of folic acid a day – ideally this should be taken from before getting pregnant until you are 12 weeks pregnant.

Hope this helps.
Susie at NHS Choices

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Susie said on 21 December 2012

Rolystrike and John Dot - we're still looking into the issue of gravadlax/cured salmon, and will post an answer as soon as we've got one. The Food Standards Agency (FSA) is currently reviewing its advice on this, and we'll put any new information on here as soon as it's available.

Susie at NHS Choices

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John Dot said on 20 December 2012

Please could I get clarification on whether cured salmon is ok during pregnancy (not smoked). Thanks!

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Susie said on 18 December 2012

Seahorse81 - the Department of Health (DH) advice is that stilton is safe to eat in pregnancy, including blue stilton. Stilton is a hard cheese.

You should avoid soft, mould-ripened cheeses such as camembert and brie, and blue veined varieties of these cheeses, such as roquefort, Danish blue or gorgonzola. Some people interpret the DH's advice about soft, mould-ripened blue-veined cheeses to include stilton, which is probably where the confusion comes from.

Susie at NHS Choices

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MissD247 said on 17 December 2012

Dear NHS,
As per the midwife team's advice, I have to take an iron supplement as my iron store is 25. This is an ongoing issue for me, I find it difficult to take up Iron even though I eat red meat and lots of green leafy veg. I also supplement with the pregnacare multi vitamin which has 140mg of iron, but, as I had been taking these for two months, they said to supplement with more iron. The problem is the doctor's ones give me horrible stomach cramps and constipation. I've taken the ones on the market that are absolutely great for digestion, along with the pregnacare, but they do have high levels of other things. The list is: Vit C 300mg, Vit E 30IU, B1 25mg, B2 25mg, Niacin 50mg, B6 25mg, Folic Acid 400mcg, Vit B12 500 mcg, Calcium Pantothenate 25mg, Calcium 25mg, Iron 85mg, Zinc 5mg, Selenium 10mcg, Copper 2mg, Manganese 5mg.
Should I continue to take these? Should I stop taking these? Should I stop taking the pregnacare and supplement these with Vit D and extra folic acid? Many thanks

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Seahorse81 said on 17 December 2012

Please can I clarify on the Stilton cheese? Do you mean white or blue Stilton is allowed while pregnant? If blue - how is this possible? Thank you for your help.

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Susie said on 04 December 2012

Izr - goji berries can be part of a healthy balanced diet, but it's important that your diet is varied. It's useful to remember there are plenty of other sources of iron for vegetarians such as green leafy vegetables, dried fruit, nuts and many breakfast cereals with added iron. If you are concerned you're not getting enough iron in your diet, speak to your GP or midwife.

We do not have any data on the selenium content of goji berries but pragmatically you would have to eat a large amount of goji berries to take you over the safe upper limit of 450µg/day of selenium. A woman needs about 60µg/day of selenium.

Find out more about having a healthy diet in pregnancy via this link:
http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pages/healthy-pregnancy-diet.aspx

Susie at NHS Choices

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Anonymous said on 02 December 2012

I am 20 weeks pregnant, and I have eaten runny eggs, and fresh mayo and I haven't had any problems. If its your first baby then be more careful, but when you've already had one, its not an issue i don't think. I eat what I want, as long as I don't have loads of caffiene,i don't worry about anything else

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Susie said on 30 November 2012

Doon - you should take some care with cheesecake. There are lots of different kinds: some are baked and some aren't, some contain egg and some don't. The safest would be a baked cheesecake, or you could have non-baked cheesecake as long as it doesn't contain egg and the cheese is made from pasteurised milk. If you're not sure, look on the packaging or ask the staff in the shop or restaurant. You need to avoid raw or undercooked egg, and avoid cheese made with unpasteurised milk.

You can eat coleslaw as long as the mayonnaise doesn't contain raw egg. Shop-bought mayonnaise in a jar is usually ok as it's made with pasteurised egg, and shop-bought coleslaw should be ok too - check the packaging and make sure you stick to the use-by dates and storage instructions.

Susie at NHS Choices

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Doon said on 29 November 2012

Newly pregnant and learning what I cannot eat, does pregnancy rule out Cheesecake and Coleslaw?

Panicking and googling very 2 minutes the moment and after going through IVF roller coaster don't want to risk anything!

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Susie said on 27 November 2012

Natural born worrier - in the UK, the Department of Health does not advise pregnant women to avoid prepared salad products, including salad leaves, coleslaw, potato salad or grated carrot, as long as the salad has been thoroughly washed, and any mayonnaise does not contain raw egg.

Some countries advise pregnant women to avoid prepared salad due to the risk of listeria, but in the UK this risk is considered to be low.

sapphire86 - the reason pregnant women are advised to avoid raw or partially-cooked egg is due to the risk of salmonella. Eggs can be contaminated with salmonella both on and inside the shell, so raw eggs need to be cooked thoroughly to reduce the risk of salmonella food poisoning. Eggs can potentially become contaminated with listeria, but the main risk from raw or partially-cooked egg is salmonella.

Ele09 - the Department of Health (DH) advice is that stilton is safe to eat in pregnancy. You should avoid soft, mould-ripened cheeses such as camembert and brie, and blue veined varieties of these cheeses, such as roquefort, Danish blue or gorgonzola. Some people interpret the DH's advice about soft, mould-ripened blue-veined cheeses to include stilton, which is probably where the confusion comes from.

You can safely eat prawns in pregnancy as long as they are cooked thoroughly until steaming hot. You can also eat them if they have been previously cooked, for example in a prawn sandwich.

Hope that helps.
Susie at NHS Choices

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Susie said on 27 November 2012

oolouise - humous is safe to eat in pregnancy, as long as you follow the storage advice and use-by dates carefully. Homemade vegetable pates are safe to eat when you're pregnant as long as the vegetables were prepared safely (washing, avoiding cross-contamination, eg with uncooked meat) and then cooked thoroughly. Keep homemade vegetable pate in the fridge, and eat it within two days.

There is some risk with all ready-to-eat foods when it comes to listeria, as listeria can survive and multiply at refridgerator temperatures. As ready-to-eat foods are not usually cooked before you eat them, there is no step that kills any listeria that may have contaminated the food.

Bear in mind that you can only get listeriosis if the food you eat is contaminated with listeria, and ready-to-eat products are not necessarily contaminated with listeria. In the UK, the risk is considered low and pregnant women are not advised to avoid ready-to-eat foods.

Susie at NHS Choices

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Natural born worrier said on 26 November 2012

I am 10 weeks pregnant and am really worried because at the weekend I ate coleslaw,potato salad and salad leaves and grated carrot from a deli bar in a chain pizza restaurant. I have since read on another site that they should be avoided due to the risk of listeria. Please could you confirm what the Uk advice is on this. I have a slightly funny tummy today so am really worried! Thanks.

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sapphire86 said on 25 November 2012

Thanks for the reply regarding marshmallow cream. I did in fact eat some and never really thought about it until afterwards. I feel absolutely fine though so salmonella wasn't an issue. I will be more careful in future. Is it just salmonella that is the risk of eating raw or undercooked egg? I seem to be confused with salmonella and listeria, can listeria be found in eggs? There seems to be a lot of conflicting information which is confusing :s

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Ele09 said on 23 November 2012

Ok it may be me and my baby brains but I'm very confused regarding blue Stilton.

Is it or isn't it safe? General advice seems to be to avoid soft blue veined cheeses but blue Stilton is classed as a hard cheese.

It's the only thing I'm missing and am dreaming of eating post pregnancy but can I eat it?

My midwife also said no prawns but all the advice says you can have them what's the official line?

Thanks

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Susie said on 23 November 2012

sapphire 86 - we'd never heard of marshmallow cream and had to look it up. The recipe for homemade marshmallow cream seems to contain raw egg white. As such, it's better to avoid this because of the risk of salmonella.

However, shop-bought marshmallow cream (for example, in a jar in a supermarket) may be made with pasteurised dried egg white, and as such would be safe to eat (like shop-bought mayonnaise). You should be able to check the label to see whether the egg is pasteurised, or for the manufacturer's contact details so that you can check with them directly.

Please try not to worry. If you inadvertently ate a product containing raw egg white, this will not necessarily cause harm.

Susie at NHS Choices

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sapphire86 said on 22 November 2012

Hi,

Is marshmallow cream safe to eat? The type found in chocolate tea cakes? I know it's made using whipped egg whites and as it was bought from a stall in a christmas german market, I have no idea if the eggs used were pasteurised or not.

Thanks

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oolouise said on 22 November 2012

Hi, thanks for the useful advice. I would just like to clarify whether houmous is safe to eat whilst pregnant? I went to buy some recently, and they only had butter bean houmous, which I thought should be avoided as it's essentially a vegetable pate. It then occurred to me that houmous is basically a vegetable pate made with chick peas, but I have not heard anything about avoiding it. I'd be grateful if you could help clear this up. I'm talking about shop bought houmous, as I presume if I make any vegetable pate from fresh ingredients and eat it immediately, there is no danger - hope this is correct?!

Many thanks

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Susie said on 20 November 2012

ally2002 - it's fine to eat pre-cooked chicken slices. In the UK, pregnant women are not advised to avoid pre-cooked packaged meat products.

JGG82 - not all mozzarella will be made from pasteurised milk, it depends on the manufacturer. It can be hard to find out if a cheese is made from pastuerised milk. You can try contacting the manufacturer to check; see if there is an email address or phone number on the packaging. Please try not to worry - mozzarella made with unpasteurised milk will not necessarily cause harm.

Tieyan25 - yes, cooked parma ham is safe, and asparagus is safe. Philadelphia, as a processed cheese made from pasteurised milk, is safe too.

sapphire86 - stuffing is safe to eat in pregnancy. Even if it did have raw egg in it, you would be cooking the stuffing anyway, so it's fine.

Susie at NHS Choices

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Tieyan25 said on 15 November 2012

Is it safe to eat cooked Parma ham wrapped in asparagus and also Philadelphia cheese cause I normally put it in mashed potato,

Thanks.

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JGG82 said on 14 November 2012

I'm 37 weeks pg and have just eaten packaged supermarket mozzarella without thinking. It doesn't say on the packet whether its made from pasteurised or unpasteurised milk. Am now worried its unpasteurised and I've put my baby at risk. Not sure how I can tell-is all supermarket mozzarella pasteurised?

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ally2002 said on 13 November 2012

Hi
Please help.
I bought from a well-known supermarket a few packs of cold pre-cooked sliced chicken pieces. It says on the pack they can be eaten hot or cold. I decided to put them in the microwave for just over 2 minutes to be safe.
I have now read that precooked chicken sold as cold meat should be avoided in pregnancy altogether. I am really worried of catching listeria. Do you think I could be at risk?
Many thanks

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sapphire86 said on 13 November 2012

Is stuffing safe to eat in pregnancy? The type eaten in a cold sandwich such as sage and onion stuffing?

I know some stuffing is made from raw egg so this is why I ask.

Thanks

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Susie said on 09 November 2012

Hi Rolystrike and Izr - just to let you know that we're not ignoring you! We're looking into the issue of gravadlax and goji berries, and I'll post back here as soon as we've got some answers for you.

Susie at NHS Choices

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lzr said on 06 November 2012

Hi, do you know if Goji berries are safe when pregnant? I am vegetarian and wanted to use them for the high iron content, but have heard that the selenium may be high enough to be damaging...
Please advise,
Many thanks

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Rolystrike said on 04 November 2012

Can you eat gravadlax or does this need to be frozen?

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Susie said on 18 October 2012

christines daughter - yes, you can eat cooked prawns when you're pregnant, just maked sure they're cooked thoroughly until steaming. It's also ok to eat cold prawns that have previously been cooked, for example in a prawn mayo sandwich.

Susie at NHS Choices

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christines daughter said on 14 October 2012

Is it ok to eat cooked prawns in pregnancy?

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Susie said on 08 October 2012

Christy97 - yes, you can eat liquorice in pregnancy. There's no recommendation for pregnant women to avoid it.

Susie at NHS Choices

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Christy97 said on 05 October 2012

Hi, can you tell me if it's safe to eat liqorice whilst in early stages of pregnancy?? I've eaten abit today and some one told me I shouldnt, now I'm really worried. Thsnks

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Susie said on 26 September 2012

Hi Ichristineb,
You can eat scrambled eggs and omelettes when you're pregnant, but make sure the eggs are cooked thoroughly and there are no runny bits. This might make your scrambled egg or omelette a bit dry, but it's the safest way.

Susie at NHS Choices

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lchristineb said on 25 September 2012

Hello, Is it safe to eat omelettes/scrambled eggs? I don't know whether an omelette counts as fully cooked or partially cooked eggs. Many thanks!

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Susie said on 20 September 2012

Hi HMUM - try not to worry about what you ate on holiday or before you knew you were pregnant. You should definitely avoid the 'foods to avoid' from now on, but eating some of them by mistake or before you knew you were pregnant won't necessarily cause harm.

Make sure you take care from now on, and eat a healthy diet - you can find out more about having a healthy diet in pregnancy via this link:
http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pages/healthy-pregnancy-diet.aspx

and about vitamins and supplements, including folic acid, here:
http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pages/vitamins-minerals-supplements-pregnant.aspx

If you're still feeling worried, your midwife will be able to discuss it with you.

Susie at NHS Choices

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Susie said on 20 September 2012

Hi caroden2 - eating cress like this is fine.

Cress in an egg and cress sandwich is usually mustard cress, and is considered 'ready to eat'. This means it is safe to eat raw as producers will have taken steps during production to kill harmful bacteria. Some sprouted seeds should not be eaten raw - you can find out more about this on the following page: http://www.nhs.uk/livewell/homehygiene/pages/sprouted-seeds-advice.aspx

There is also watercress, which is different from the cress we tend to eat in sandwiches. Watercress, like any salad item, should be washed thoroughly before eating, unless it says 'ready to eat' on the packaging.

Susie at NHS Choices

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HMUM said on 19 September 2012

Hi, I am six weeks pregnant and I have recently returned from a 11 day stay in Turkey, I stayed in an all inclusive resort with buffet style meals. I was not aware of the advice re: eating feta cheese and have consumed alot of it whilst on holiday, I also had cured meats and before I knew I was pregnant I ate uncooked brie. I am now very concerned for the health of my unborn baby, what do you suggest I do?

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Susie said on 19 September 2012

Hi Ya123 - sage in a meal should be fine.

There is some talk on the internet about sage and pregnancy, and this seems to be based around a chemical called thujone found in sage. Thujone could potentially be harmful in pregnancy if you have it in large amounts, which could be the case if you have it in herbal remedies. However, the amount of sage you would find in cooking is minimal, and the levels of thujone you find in food are not considered dangerous.

Remember, not all 'natural' remedies are safe in pregnancy. If you decide to use herbal or homeopathic remedies or aromatherapy, contact the Institute for Complementary and Natural Medicine (http://www.icnm.org.uk/) to make sure that your practitioner is qualified. Tell the practitioner that you are pregnant, and tell your midwife or doctor, and your pharmacist, which herbal, homeopathic or aromatherapy remedies you are using.

Susie at NHS Choices

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caroden2 said on 18 September 2012

Is Cress in sandwhiches ok to eat? I have today eaten an Egg and Cress sandwhich and have been told that Cress should not be eaten as it can can an abortion- naturally im a little worried. Please can you advise

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Ya123 said on 15 September 2012

I have just read that sage should only be used in small amounts while pregnant. I had pasta this afternoon which had quite a few sage leaves in it. Is this anything to worry about?

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Charlie Sanger said on 13 September 2012

Hi ibpixie,

I have checked this for you, and once it has been boiled, raw (unpasteurised) milk is safe for children to drink if they are one year or older. Wait until it is has cooled to a temperature that's comfortable for your child to drink before giving it to them though, to avoid the risk of scalding.

It can be used in the foods you mentioned as well.

We also have another article on drinks for children, which should tell you everything you need to know about giving your child milk to complement their diet:
http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/Pages/drinks-and-cups-children.aspx

If you have any more questions or concerns about food you should avoid giving to babies and young children you can also go to: http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/Pages/foods-to-avoid-baby.aspx

I hope that helps,
Charlie from NHS Choices

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Susie said on 13 September 2012

Hi sapphire86,

Milk that’s delivered to your door should be ok as long as it hasn’t spoiled (gone off). Pasteurisation will destroy any pathogens (organisms that can cause disease) in the milk, including listeria. As a result, there should not be a risk of listeria multiplying if the milk is left out of the fridge. Milk held at room temperature will spoil before it would normally be considered unsafe.

As a precaution you may want to leave an insulated milk cool box outside for your milk bottles to be left in. This will protect the bottles from tampering from pests, such as birds or foxes, and also keep the milk cooler for longer. Try to get the milk in your fridge as soon as possible in the morning.

Susie at NHS Choices

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sapphire86 said on 10 September 2012

We have our milk delivered to our door overnight.
The milk is pasteurised but is it safe to drink if left outside overnight? I have been drinking it this way all throughout my pregnancy and have never thought about it as being a problem until now.

The milk smells and tastes fresh and is never left out longer than 10am in the morning but I'm still worried. Is it possible to get a listeria infection from milk being left out overnight?

Thanks

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ibpixie said on 07 September 2012

I have a baby who will be a year old in 2 weeks time and is still breastfeeding. We have a cow so use raw milk which we boil before use. Can I give my baby food that has been prepared with this milk ie. porriage, pancakes sauses etc? When can he start to drink the milk as a complement to his diet?
Many thanks

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Susie said on 06 September 2012

Hi senorasunny - smoked chorizo is ok to eat. In the UK, pregnant women aren't advised to avoid bacon or hotdogs, just make sure they're thoroughly cooked and piping hot throughout.

Susie at NHS Choices

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Susie said on 04 September 2012

Hi sapphire86 - elderflower cordial is fine to have when you're pregnant.

N82 - you don't have to avoid feta and ricotta, as long as they're made with pasteurised milk. I agree, it can sometimes be hard to work out whether cheese is made with pasteurised milk or not. If it doesn't say on the packaging, you can try contacting the manufacturer - see if there's an email address or phone number on the packaging. The manufacturer may also have a website where you can look up the information. Not all of the cheese produced in the UK is made from pasteurised milk, so do check.

The cheeses you need to avoid are the soft, mould-ripened cheeses such as brie and camembert, and the blue-veined varieties of these cheeses, such as roquefort. You should avoid these cheeses, even if they're made with pasteurised milk.

Susie at NHS Choices

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N82 said on 03 September 2012

Hi Suzie
Wondering if you can help, I know you've had so many questions about cheese but one more that I'm hoping you can help with as I'm getting so much conflicting info. So the nhs website says to avoid soft cheese like feta, ricotta etc but after reading the bounty magazine given to me by my midwife today I'm left a bit confused. This states that you can eat feta, cream cheese, mozzarella, ricotta and mascarpone etc. now the main problem I'm finding is if these are made from pasteurised milk as all the one's I've looked at well known supermarkets don't state this on the packet. Is there anyway you could clarify this further? Do you know if most soft cheese produced in this country would be made from pasteurised milk anyway? I've looked on the food standards agency website but they advise to look at the nhs website.

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sapphire86 said on 02 September 2012

Could you please tell me if drinking elderflower cordial is safe during pregnancy?
I drink this regularly, diluted with water but I've recently read that elder flowers shouldn't be used in pregnancy. I don't know whether this means as a herbal remedy or if it is unsuitable in a drink as well? The elderflower cordial that I drink is available from the supermarket, it isn't homemade so I never thought about it as being unsafe.
Please could you give me some information on this?

Thanks

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senorasunny said on 27 August 2012

I see that chorizo is okay to eat, but I was wondering about smoked chorizo? I purchased natural smoked pork chorizo (no added nitrates or nitrites) and wondered if this is ok. I have read elsewhere that smoked meats such as bacon and hot dogs are not advisable to eat when pregnant, but because there are no nitrates/nitrites in this chorizo, I thought it might be ok.

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Susie said on 13 August 2012

Hi ay6by4,
You don't need to avoid pecans or peanuts in pregnancy unless you're allergic to them, or unless your midwife or doctor advises you not to eat them.

Susie at NHS Choices

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ay6by4 said on 10 August 2012

Is it safe to eat pecan nuts? it seems just peanuts should be avoided. there is no one in my family who is allergic to nuts though i am allergic to gluten.

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Susie said on 09 August 2012

Hi DoomKitty - you should avoid all uncooked brie when you're pregnant, whether it's made with pasteurised or unpastuerised milk.

Susie at NHS Choices


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DoomKitty said on 08 August 2012

Thanks Susie.
One last question, on cheeses again!
I've read conflicting things about uncooked, pasteurised Brie being safe to eat - many sites say it's fine if pasteurised, but this article seems to imply it's not. Could you confirm either way? Thanks!

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Susie said on 07 August 2012

Hi, thanks for posting your queries.

DoomKitty - cooked cheeses such as brie should be fine, as long as they're thoroughly cooked and steaming hot throughout. You can find out more about cooked cheeses and pregnancy via this link:
http://www.nhs.uk/chq/Pages/cooked-brie-and-blue-cheese-during-pregnancy.aspx?CategoryID=54&SubCategoryID=216

User698047 – you can eat scampi, but make sure it’s steaming hot throughout.

Eaten all the wrong things – try not to worry about what you ate before you knew you were pregnant. Make sure you have a healthy diet from now on, including your daily folic acid supplement. You can find out more about having a healthy diet in pregnancy on the following page:
http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pages/healthy-pregnancy-diet.aspx

Remember, if you have any worries or questions, you can always talk to your midwife or GP.

Hope that helps.
Susie at NHS Choices

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User698047 said on 04 August 2012

Can you tell me if it is safe to eat Scampi? I am about 11 weeks pregnant. Many thanks.

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User702106 said on 03 August 2012

There's probably no need to worry, if you had any bugs or food poisoning from any of these things you'd know about it by now, as you'd feel ill and suffer from diarrhea and / or vomiting.
So you most likely got away with it and can just be careful from now on.
If you're still worried though, it's best to speak to the Doctor so they can put your mind at ease : )

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Eaten all the wrong things said on 03 August 2012

I just found out I am 5 weeks pregnant. I keep thinking back over all the stuff I have done/eaten that could harm the baby i.e. ive eaten chorizo, rare steaks, raw salmon sashimi and lots of feta (i dont know if it was un/pasteurised or not). I also have a beautiful pup who is very affectionate and im worried about kissing and cuddling up to her now. I am so worried I have harmed my baby. Im quite outdoorsy and have done lots of gardening and im pretty sure I have touched my face/wiped my nose before washing my hands. I am sick with worry.

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DoomKitty said on 02 August 2012

A question on the cheeses to avoid when pregnant:
For the soft and mould-ripened cheeses such as mozzarella, brie etc, are these safe to eat when cooked through? Logic suggests this would kill any lurking bacteria...
Being a vegetarian who doesn't like mushrooms, it can be tricky to find a dish I like when eating out, once everything I shouldn't be eating is eliminated!
Thanks

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Susie said on 16 July 2012

Hi Peonies, thanks for your comment. This was a new one to me, so I've asked my colleagues at the Food Standards Agency (FSA) about campden tablets. They state that campden tablets consist of sodium and/or potassium metabisulphite, both of which are permitted food additives.

All food additives are thoroughly evaluated for safety, and the rigorous safety assessment covers all sub-groups of the population, including pregnant women and women who are breastfeeding. So, a pregnant woman doesn't need to worry about her intake of food additives.

According to the legislation, sulphites (expressed as sulphur dioxide) are permitted in concentrates at a maximum level of 250 mg/l. If you are using campden tablets to make your own cordial, check the tablet manufacturer's instructions to make sure these levels are not exceeded.

While sulphites can be used safely, and are used by most manufacturers to preserve cordials, you may be able to find alternative recipes for home use, although the shelf-life of your cordial may be shorter.

Hope this is useful.
Susie at NHS Choices

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Peonies said on 30 June 2012

I'm not sure why but my comments are not showing up! Apologies if they all appear at once!

3rd time lucky....
I would like to use a recipe given by my mother in law for elderflower cordial which includes one campden tablet per 3 pints liquid.
Campden tablets make it keep for longer and are often used in home brewing.

Please confirm if this is safe for pregnancy.

Thank you for your help.

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Peonies said on 29 June 2012

Hello
My mother in law's recipe for elderflower cordial includes campden tablets which are often used in home brewing. I would be grateful if you could confirm if it's safe for me to use this recipe.
I have found no information on the Internet.

Thank you very much.

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Susie said on 22 June 2012

Hi cathytingle,
Thanks for your query about cured meat and toxoplasmosis. We've updated the page to make the information clearer - the risk of toxoplasmosis is low, and the Department of Health doesn't advise pregnant women to avoid cured meats. I'm not sure why the information from Tommy's is different, but perhaps they could tell you?

The Food Standards Agency is currently looking at the evidence on toxoplasmosis, and we will post here any changes to the advice as soon as they're available.

Susie at NHS Choices

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Susie said on 13 June 2012

Thanks for your queries - we've asked the experts to look at some of them, and the answers are below. I'll post about the others soon.
Susie at NHS Choices

Unripe papaya:
It is traditionally suggested that unripe or semi-ripe papaya contains substances which could cause uterine contractions. Although this has not been proved to be true in the scientific literature, pregnant women may wish to avoid unripe and semi-ripe papaya during pregnancy.

Poppy seeds:
Few adverse effects have been reported from eating poppy seeds as traditionally used in cooking, for example a sprinkling on bread rolls. The poppy seeds themselves don’t contain opium alkaloids from the poppy plant, but they can become contaminated. Data on the presence of opium alkaloids is uncertain, so it would be sensible to have poppy seeds in moderation during pregnancy.

Salmon:
Unlike tinned tuna, tinned salmon counts as an oily fish like fresh salmon. The recommendation is to have no more than two portions of oily fish a week. The portion size for fish is roughly 140g.

Green tea:
There’s no need to avoid green tea when you’re pregnant but do remember that it contains caffeine, and you should aim to have no more than 200mg of caffeine a day.

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cathytingle said on 27 May 2012

Hi - why is your advice on cured meats, including Parma Ham, different from Tommy's/Toxoplasmosis Trust's advice? They say to avoid cured meats.

Thanks.

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cmgallag said on 26 May 2012

Is green tea safe to drink when pregnant? I've read conflicting reports on the net, some saying that it stops your body from absorbing folic acid. I only drink one cup a day with breakfast and then on the odd occasion I have a cup of redbush tea in the afternoon.

It may sound like a silly question I know but there's so much information out there, some of which I feel may be very misleading.

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Kristina2012 said on 26 May 2012

Hi,I am 6.5 weeks pregnant.Is it safe to eat cooked gravy made from poppy seeds?Also is it safe to eat cooked unripe papaya in a curry?

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ElinLewis said on 25 May 2012

I am 10 weeks pregnant and I have a craving for salmon sandwiches. There is no guidance on how much tinned salmon is safe to eat - it says two portions of salmon per week, but what counts as a portion and does this refer to fresh salmon?

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Susie said on 25 May 2012

Hi MonV,
There are currently no recommendations advising pregnant women to avoid liquorice. This is because there is no conclusive evidence that liquorice can harm your baby or affect your pregnancy. Hope this helps,
Susie at NHS Choices

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MonV said on 18 May 2012

Hi
Could you tell me if it is safe to eat Liquorice while pregnant?
I'm 23 weeks and I've been very careful to follow all guidelines but at no point have I read anything advising not to eat Liquorice. I was eating some today and my mum told me I should not, I've looked online and there are some newspaper articles advising not to consume it while pregnant. I can not find any official guidelines and the packet did not give any warning.
I have regularly eat liquorice throughout my pregnancy and I'm not very concerned.

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Susie said on 16 May 2012

Hi Ruby Doo, Montillow09 and kidneybean2012, thanks for posting.

We've updated the page to make the information on cured meats clearer. In short - cold cured meats such as salami and Parma ham, and ready to eat sausages such as chorizo and pepperoni, are fine to eat during pregnancy due to the way that they are processed. Some varieties of these sausages do need cooking, in which case cook until they're steaming hot throughout.

Montillow09 - soft ice creams should be fine as they are processed products made with pasteurised milk.

Best wishes,
Susie at NHS Choices

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kidneybean2012 said on 15 May 2012

Hi!
This is my first baby and I have read so much on cured meats it has got me emotional (weird and blame the hormomes).

The reason I ask on cured meats or ham etc, is because no one mentioned it and in books I read didnt mention salami or packet ham/turkey etc.....and no one said anything while I have been eating it. it has worried me I have eaten ham sandwiches since day one - I crave them and turkey and Salami. Please help me its my first :S

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Montillow09 said on 11 May 2012

Can you eat soft ice creams such as Mr Whippy, McDonalds Milkshakes, McFlurry, Harvester Pub Ice Creams when pregnant? I have found conflicting advice and most advice to be a few years old

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Ruby Doo said on 10 May 2012

I'd be really grateful if you could update/clarify the information on cured meats in particular. I'm going on a holiday to Spain and it would be a shame to miss out on all the cured meat but I don't want to put our baby at risk! Thanks

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Susie said on 08 May 2012

Hi preggers2012,
If it doesn't say on the packaging, you could try the manufacturer's website. I just checked the website for my favourite Cornish clotted cream, and - good news - it says on their FAQ page that it's safe for pregnant women as it's made with pasteurised milk. If you check a website and it doesn't mention pasteurised milk, there might be a phone number you could ring to ask.
Best wishes,
Susie at NHS Choices

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preggers2012 said on 04 May 2012

Hi Susie

Thank you for replying, but products don't always say... e.g. the other day I bought spinach & ricotta tortellini from a well-known UK supermarket, but it didn't say whether or not the ricotta was pasteurised (it says on the page above that you should check this).

Also, I've not managed to find clotted cream which says on the packaging whether it's made from pasteurised or unpasteurised milk.

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Susie said on 02 May 2012

Hi Daisy789, preggers2012 and Clino7 - thanks for posting.

Daisy789 - you can eat Stilton when you're pregnant as it is a hard cheese and less likely to contain bacteria. You should avoid soft blue cheeses such as Danish blue or gorgonzola. You can eat sushi as long as the fish used to make it has been frozen for 24 hours first.

preggers2012 - it should say on the packaging if cheese or other products are made with pasteurised milk.

Clino7 - it's a good idea to check with the restaurant if you're not sure whether the fish has been frozen first. I've amended the article to make this clearer.

Susie at NHS Choices

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preggers2012 said on 24 April 2012

Thanks for the info, but how do you know if cheeses and other products are made with pasteurised milk? Will it say on the packaging?

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Daisy789 said on 10 April 2012

Hi NHS,

I'm very confused. I've asked two different midwifes at separate occasions at my NHS ante-natal clinic about both stilton cheese and sushi. They both firmly said to NOT eat either. I referred to this website and they said it's not correct. What should I believe?

Thanks

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Clino7 said on 05 April 2012

With regard to Sushi, I would recommend that you check with the restaurant before ordering as, contrary to the above information, I went to a restaurant last night and thought I'd better double check that the fish was was previously frozen and the answer was no! The way this website presents the information lead me to believe that using fish that had been previously frozen was a legal requirement but maybe this is not the case?

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coleee123 said on 06 March 2012

Hopefully someone can help . I ate salmi cold and I've felt really sick and having going to the toilet a lot . I've spoke to my doctor but she was really blank about it didn't say anything can someone help

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Susie said on 28 February 2012

Hi blackcatsdancing,
The information on this page has been updated to be clearer about meat. I hope the information is useful.
Best wishes,
Susie at NHS Choices

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blackcatsdancing said on 04 January 2012

Agree with earlier poster re very misleading info on undercooked meat. Saying that it is fine to eat whole joints rare is dangerous advice as it conflicts with advice about avoiding toxoplasmosis. Cooking the outside will reduce risk of getting some food poisoning but it won't kill the toxoplasmosis parasite.
I read this advice and thought eating rare venison was fine, now after having read more i know that it is a dangerous thing to do. Also there is not mention on here of the dangers of cured meats causing toxoplasmosis. Everything to do with food needs to be in one place, not spread out on different pages. I am now undergoing the uncertainty of waiting to be tested for a Toxoplasmosis infection.
This page needs to be updated very great urgency!

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AngieR said on 04 December 2011

I think the piece is a bit confusing as regards toxoplasmosis - elsewhere on the NHS website, in the Symptoms Checker section under "Toxoplasmosis", the advice is to cook all red meat till there is no pinkness and the juices run clear, which seems to tally with most of the advice that I have read on the subject elsewhere, whereas the above suggests rare steak is fine provided that the outside is well cooked. Likewise, I had always understood that cured meats, if not also cooked, should be avoided for the same reason but it is not clear from the above whether this is the current NHS advice or not. It would be helpful if these points could be clarified.

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Elhawk29 said on 19 August 2011

Yay, I can still eat king prawns! my fav in the restaurant we're going to on Saturday, as long as they're cooked through shellfish are fine :-)

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estg said on 15 August 2011

I was told not to eat "Live" yogharts, however most yoghart, especially natural ones are Live/ probiotic these days and I can only see good things written about it. Is it that some live yogharts can be made from unpasteurised milk?

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Tomack said on 06 August 2011

Hi, I had consumed 30ml(Bailey's whisky) on the 9th day after conception (i.e first week of my pregnancy). Would that be a problem? Someone please advise on this..

Thanks,

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ozysanj said on 29 June 2011

according to the article,paneer and feta are ok to eat.

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Icedgem30 said on 21 June 2011

Does anyone know whether you can eat feta cheese? A bit confused, only found out I was pregnant on Saturday and trying to get everything sorted in my head :)

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mrs sunshine said on 29 May 2011

love it!! I can still eat sushi. I thought pregnancy would mean giving up everything I like to eat.

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SarahFD said on 26 April 2011

Thanks for the above guide, which is very helpful on the whole. Can I ask for clarification on oily fish though...what is the recommendation? The section just seems to mention them without giving any specific guidance? Thanks

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Chloe Nora said on 11 November 2010

I too would like classification on cured meats and sushi!

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keenjess said on 29 October 2010

Is Indian paneer cheese ok?

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Molie said on 18 September 2010

This is a really good piece but would be good to have clarification on the following:
> sushi
> smoked fish (ie smoked salmon)
> cured meats (ie parma ham, salami)

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Food safety

How to prevent food poisoning at home, including E. coli, with advice on food safety and keeping germs in check

Listeriosis

This infection usually develops after eating food contaminated by listeria bacteria

Toxoplasmosis

Toxoplasmosis is a common infection that occurs in most birds and mammals, including humans

Food poisoning

The causes and symptoms of food poisoning and what you can do to help your recovery

Sprouted seeds safety advice

Safety advice on the consumption of sprouted seeds following recent food poisoning outbreaks

How to prepare and cook food safely

How to prepare and cook food correctly to reduce the risk of food poisoning, including E. coli

Eating well during pregnancy

A GP offers advice on how to eat a healthy, balanced diet during your pregnancy. She explains how to prepare certain foods, such as meats and eggs, and offers advice about which foods to eat with caution, and which to avoid completely.

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