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Foods to Avoid When Pregnant

1. Alcoholic beverages

  • These include beers, wines, spirits and liqueurs

  • Alcohol is a toxic substance and can cause cancer

  • Exposure to alcohol can seriously affect your baby's development

2. Fish that contains high levels of methylmercury

  • Examples include shark, marlin, swordfish, alfonsino, king mackerel, some species of tuna and other large predatory fish.

  • Methylmercury can adversely affect a baby's growing brain and nervous system

3. Raw or undercooked meat, seafood and eggs

  • All foods should be cooked thoroughly

  • When eating out, make sure the food is actually hot when served

Ensure foods are cooked thoroughly:

  • For meat and poultry: the juice should be clear, not red; blood should not be visible when you cut the cooked meat

  • Egg yolks are not runny

  • Bring soups and stews to a boil for at least 1 minute before serving

Q: Can I eat ice-cream during pregnancy?

You should avoid eating soft serve ice-cream to protect yourself from listeria infection. Other ice-cream can be contaminated by germs when it is not handled or stored properly. You should be cautious.

4. Chilled ready-to-eat and refrigerated foods:

  • These foods may be contaminated by listeria bacteria. Listeria infection during pregnancy may result in miscarriage, early death of the infant, preterm labour or the baby may suffer severe health problems

  • When infected by listeria, the pregnant women may show flu-like symptoms, chills, fever, headache, back pain and sore throat. Even though some may be asymptomatic, the infection can still severely affect the baby

  • To reduce the risk of listeria infection, you should cook foods thoroughly and to avoid high risk food that may contain Listeria monocytogenes

Avoid high risk food that may contain Listeria monocytogenes

  • Chilled ready-to-eat seafoods and cold meat

    • Raw seafoods (such as sashimi and oysters)

    • Smoked seafoods (such as smoked salmon)

    • Pates

    • Deli meat

  • Refrigerated ready-to-eat salads (from salad bars, supermarkets or delicatessens), and sushi with salad

  • Soft ice-cream

  • Soft cheeses, such as Feta, Brie, Camembert, Blue Cheese

  • Unpasteurized milk and foods made from unpasteurized milk

  • Prepackaged refrigerated foods that have passed their shelf life

Q: Is it safe to eat sliced cheese, cheese spread, or hard cheeses?

If refrigerated and stored under suitable temperatures, they can be safely consumed.

Food Safety and Personal Hygiene

1. Wash your hands and utensils thoroughly before handling foods

  • Prevention of toxoplasma infection The faeces of pets (such as cats) or soil may contain toxoplasma gondii. If the pregnant woman is infected with toxoplasma gondii, the fetal brain and growth can be affected. You should keep pets out of the kitchen, wear gloves when gardening or handling the faeces of pets, and wash your hands thoroughly afterwards.

2. Separate the raw from the cooked food

  • Use separate utensils (such as knives and chopping boards) to handle raw and ready-to-eat or cooked food. Store them separately

3. Cook foods thoroughly

4. Store food under safe temperatures

  • Food should be refrigerated at 4 degree Celsius or below, or held hot at 60 degree Celsius or above

  • Do not leave cooked food and left-over foods at room temperature for more than 2 hours. Keep them refrigerated

  • Reheat leftovers thoroughly until it is steaming hot before consumption

Q: Can I eat homemade vegetable salads?

Yes. You should make sure that the vegetables and fruits are washed thoroughly, and consume the salad as soon as possible. If refrigerated, it should be consumed within the same day.

Q: What precautions should I take when eating take-away cooked chicken?

You should make sure that it is steaming hot when you buy it and consume it immediately. If it is not eaten immediately, refrigerate it within 2 hours. Reheat it thoroughly before eating and finish it within the same day.


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