The bad bugs
However despite a diet rich in nutrients, hormonal changes during pregnancy can affect the immune system making it harder to fight off illness and infections.
Listeria which causes the serious invasive ‘listeriosis’ infection is an example of these infections, with about ten per cent of the 65 reported annual cases occurring in pregnant women, and pregnant women up to 13 times more likely to contract listeriosis than other healthy adults. And sadly, one in five cases of listeria in pregnant women results in foetal death.
Avoidance of foods that increase the infection risk is critical throughout the pregnancy. The foods to avoid that could potentially contain listeria are ones that contain unpasteurised milk or raw or smoked meat or seafood.
are soft mould ripened cheeses which contain a lot of water which can grow the bacteria, like Camembert, Brie and blue vein cheeses.
However soft cheese made from pasteurised milk like mozzarella, feta, cottage, halloumi, goats', processed and cream cheese, paneer and ricotta and hard cheeses like cheddar, parmesan and Stilton, are all considered safe to eat. In the raw or smoked meat or seafood category are • all types of pâté including vegetable pâtés which should be avoided • cured or fermented cold meats such as salami, pepperoni, Parma ham and chorizo should also be avoided, although if these types of meat are then cooked – such as on a pizza – then that’s ok • risk can also be minimised by ensuring pork, poultry and minced meats are well cooked • uncooked fish and shellfish should be avoided, including oysters, sushi, sashimi and refrigerated uncooked