Knowing what you can and can’t eat or drink when pregnant and breastfeeding can sometimes be a little tricky – and actually having to give up a staple from your diet can seem impossible! But never fear – sometimes you can find an alternative, so that’s just what we’ve done here. Here are five things expecting mums should avoid and some great alternatives to take their place.
We know a lot of the advice around what you can and can’t have during pregnancy can depend on the storage and cooking temperatures, but there are still some that are best avoided all together.
Thankfully there are often some great alternatives worth considering. Here are five we found.
Coffee-lovers will often say their day doesn’t really start until after that first cup but expert opinion is divided on the impact caffeine has during pregnancy. If the taste of coffee is an important part of your morning routine (or anytime really) but you’re keeping an eye on your caffeine intake, you need some options!
During both pregnancy and breastfeeding, the same stimulant effect mum receives from caffeine is likely to be passed on to her unborn child. Thankfully, there are brilliant alternatives available that are perfectly safe when pregnant like Republica Organic’s Decaffeinated Instant Coffee. In fact, breastfeeding and expecting mums have made it Australia’s number one decaf and it combines a blend of the world’s best Arabica beans from places like Papua New Guinea, where more than 40 per cent of the population rely on coffee for their living.
It’s 99.5 per cent caffeine free and decaffeinated using just water and air, so it is free from the chemicals some coffee manufacturers use to strip the caffeine. This gentle and natural process means the flavour is maintained and you can still enjoy the taste of your regular coffee without the caffeine. And sometimes after an exhausting day you just need a bit of me-time with a nice hot drink!
There is enough research out there now to show the damage that can be done by alcohol to unborn babies. For many, going nine months without alcohol isn’t a hard ask and, for those mums who go on to breastfeed, it is probably a sacrifice they just come to accept.
I am 24 weeks pregnant and, while I have never been a big drinker, I gave up alcohol completely about a year ago as I tried to conceive and prepare for IVF. But, on the odd night I go out with friends or attend a function, I have found I don’t need to limit myself to just soft drinks, juice or water. Most venues have a great list of mouth-watering mocktails available, or you can just order your favourite cocktail minus the alcohol and any bartender should be happy to oblige.
Even at home, with so many mocktail recipes available online, there is no need to feel like you are missing out.
3. Soft cheeses
Soft white cheeses such as brie and camembert provide the perfect breeding ground for bacteria such as listeria, which can cause harm to an unborn baby and lead to miscarriage, premature labour and still birth. Pregnant women are particularly susceptible because their immune systems are suppressed, leaving them unable to adequately fight off infections like listeriosis. And although in Australia soft cheeses are all made with pasteurised milk, this doesn’t completely eliminate the risk of listeria, so you’re better to steer clear.
If you are a big soft cheese fan, however, and the thought of missing out on this savoury delight is too much to take, why not consider a nice ricotta instead or a feta?
4. Soft-serve ice cream
Soft-serve ice cream is another food expecting and breastfeeding mummas are urged to avoid due to the risk of listeria. Its higher likelihood of contamination is because it is transported at refrigeration temperatures compared to frozen hard ice creams. Safer and still completely delicious alternatives include hard ice creams and gelato, so go ahead and indulge!
The Australian Food Authority highlights store-bought sushi as a food to avoid completely during pregnancy due to the risk of dangerous bacteria developing as it sits on the shelves, or that could be present in the raw meat or seafood ingredients. Moreover, high mercury levels in certain varieties of fish are also a concern for pregnant women. But, if your sushi cravings are overwhelming, why not try making your own sushi at home – the raw meat and fish free kind?
(This is a sponsored post for Republica Organic)