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Nine Months : Guidelines for healthy eating in Pregnancy

A healthy pregnancy ensures a healthy baby. What you eat is what your baby eats and so, it becomes essential to try and nourish your unborn baby with a healthy diet.

The list below contains some important dos and don'ts of eating in pregnancy. Don't panic if you've already eaten the listed forbidden foods. The list below is to advice you on the safe ways of eating and handling food. Most of the risks mentioned below are rare and may not necessarily be caused by one time exposure. Talk to your midwife or doctor if you are concerned.

* Eat a well-balanced diet

* Eat little but eat often is the golden rule

* If you are a vegetarian, you may be prescribed iron supplements

* If you are a vegan, you may be prescribed calcium and vitamin supplements along with iron

* Reduce caffeine intake and try decaffeinated alternatives or herbal teas

* Control your intake of salt as too much salt can lead to swelling and other complications eas

* Avoid eating fresh pate's and mould-ripened soft cheeses like brie and camembert to prevent the risk of listeriosis

* Drink plenty of water and other fluids to keep your kidneys healthy and prevent constipation

* Try and avoid peanut containing foodstuffs if you, your partner or previous children have a history of hayfever, eczema or asthma.

* This helps to prevent a serious allergy to peanuts in your unborn child.

* Cook all meat and poultry thoroughly to avoid the risk of toxoplasmosis

* All fruits and vegetables must be washed well in fresh water to prevent toxoplasmosis

* It is important to ensure that eggs are cooked well until the whites and yolks are firm (and not runny). This prevents Salmonella food poisoning.

* Avoid eating homemade foods like mayonnaise and tiramisu which contain raw eggs. Do note that it is safe to eat tiramisu, mayonnaise or any such raw egg preparation when bought from the shops as their recipes contain pasteurised eggs.

* Liver and liver products are best avoided as they contain too much vitamin A, excess of which can be harmful to your baby

* Drink only pasteurised or UHT milk. If any other milk is used, ensure that it is boiled properly to kill all harmful germs.

* Avoid processed, convenience foods

* Avoid cook-chill foods

* Always check the use-by-date on any kind of food purchased

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