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Pregnant at Christmas: What to Eat and Drink


Being pregnant at Christmas is certainly a different experience than usual!


It can be confusing and anxiety-inducing to know what is safe to eat and drink, while still enjoying lots of delicious festive fare.


But don't worry! There are still many culinary pleasures for you and your bump to enjoy at Christmas time!


Alternatives to booze:

Since it is advisable to avoid alcohol completely when pregnant, the healthiest things to drink at Christmas would be water (plain or sparkling) - I know, I know, it's boring but if you want the healthiest - this is it! Also, fruit juices, mocktails with fruit bases, and herbal teas that are safe in pregnancy (note that not all are). For a simple mocktail - mulled apple juice will give all the festive feel of mulled wine or cider, without any of the alcohol. And for bonus points - it's super easy to make!


Zero alcohol beer/wine/spirits are another option, but in moderation (as they are very processed).

What's OK (and what's not) from the Cheese Board:

Although there are some cheeses to avoid while pregnant, they are still many you can enjoy.

  • Hard cheeses, even unpasteurised ones, are generally safe. Think Cheddar, Manchego, Emmental, and Gouda.

  • Mould-ripened soft cheeses like Brie, Camembert, Roquefort, and Gorgonzola should be avoided. As should soft cheese made with raw milk (leche cruda) like Queso Latino or Queso Burgos. These cheeses may contain a bacteria called listeria, which could be harmful to your baby. That said, cooking should kill the bacteria, so you can eat these types of cheeses if cooked until piping hot.

  • All other types of soft cheese (other than mould-ripened) are OK, as long as they are made from pasteurised milk. This includes mozzarella, feta, cottage, and cream cheese.

  • Mould-ripened goat’s cheese should be avoided. But (like mould-ripened soft cheese made from cow's milk) can be eaten if well cooked and piping hot. Other types of goat’s cheese (like hard goat’s cheese) are fine to eat.


Eggs in your English/Irish/American/Aussie Christmas Breakfast: Eggs are ok as long as well cooked. They should be cooked until the white and yolk are solid. If boiling - boil for at least 5 minutes. If frying - make sure the yolk is nolonger liquid. Unfortunately, you'll have to wait until next Christmas for that festive Eggs Benedict!


Meat and Fish: Meat and (most) fish is ok as long as well cooked. Things to avoid include: Sushi (when made with raw fish), plus cured meats and fishes like carpaccio, smoked salmon, and cured meats (like Jamon Iberico, chorizo, and pepperoni) unless well cooked. This is due to the risk of listeria and toxoplasmosis.

Cooked shellfish is fine. However, shark, swordfish, red tuna, and pike should be avoided, due to high levels of mercury, which could affect your baby's nervous system. Nuts: Nuts are fine, just go easy on the salty or sugary ones. Peanuts are also fine, as there is no clear evidence linking eating them in pregnancy with the risk of your baby developing an allergy.

Pates: Pates are not safe in pregnancy, even if vegetable based, due to the risk of listeria. Plus meat pates usually have high levels of Vitamin A, which can be harmful for your baby.


Chocolate: Chocolate is ok but be mindful of the caffeine. You shouldn’t have more than 200mg of caffeine a day, and while milk chocolate typically contains less than 10mg per 50g, dark chocolate has around double. It's ok, but if you are eating a lot of chocolate (especially dark) and having any other caffeine product (like Coca Cola or coffee) it can add up!


 

With so much tempting food on offer it’s hard to resist the urge to eat for two over Christmas. But remember, that there’s no need to eat any more just because you're pregnant until you reach the third trimester (when you only need an extra 200 calories a day).


Plus, all the rich foods around over the festive period can really play havoc with pregnancy heartburn, so try not to over-indulge.


Eat little and often, rather than less frequent but heavy meals.


And finally, if you are due to give birth in 2024 - feel free to check out our Prenatal Courses - to make sure you have all the information you need, plus a support network of other parents, to make birth and beyond as smooth (and enjoyable) as possible! Merry Christmas! Enjoy the last one before baby is here!









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