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What you can (not) eat and drink when pregnant

What foods should I take or not take during my pregnancy? Does this question also
regularly wander through your mind? Google is for many pregnant people their go-to for all questions and
doubts. After all, were you allowed to eat shrimp or not? And what about green tea?

There is a lot of information out there on this topic. That's great because you can read
and learn a lot about it, but it can also be confusing. Especially for women who have had previous pregnancies
. A food product that was considered safe a few years ago may now sometimes not
be within the allowable.

Dietary guidelines during pregnancy

Guidelines regarding nutrition during pregnancy can change over time
. Research changes, new information emerges, and that can lead to new advice
for pregnant women. It remains difficult to determine exactly how much of certain substances is safe
during pregnancy. If there is even a small chance of risk, it is often
advised to avoid that product. This is a safe bet.

What should I eat or not eat during pregnancy?

Still, much remains the same in the basics:
● Wash your fruits and vegetables well.
● Make sure meat is well-cooked.
● Eat raw fish only if it is fresh.
● Avoid raw cheese products.


These guidelines are important for the health of mother and baby during pregnancy.
Still, with any pregnancy, it is important to check for new scientific
information and base your choice on that.

What is (potentially) unsafe to eat during pregnancy?

Products you can't eat (or eat in moderation)

Information

Raw meat or meat productsΒ 

  • Ox sausage, steak, chorizo, carpaccio, raw ham, cervelate, salami, tartare, filet americain.

Raw meat is safe to eat if you heat it thoroughly (above 70 degrees). Another option is to freeze it for at least 2 days at -12 degrees Celsius.

Liver products

  • Spreading sausage, liver, pate.

Liver products are high in vitamin A, which increases the risk of birth defects if you take too much. If you enjoy eating liver products, spread a maximum of 1 sandwich per week thinly with liver.

Raw fish or predatory fish

  • Tuna, mackerel, sea bass, sardines, eel, halibut, catfish, sprat, swordfish, shrimp, crab or prawns.

It is recommended that certain types of fish and seafood not be consumed or in moderation because of elevated levels of harmful substances such as dioxin or mercury.Β 


It is also better to avoid raw, smoked or vacuum-packed fish (such as salmon, herring or sushi). Only when heated (above 75Β°C), you can safely eat them.


Yet eating fish is also sometimes discouraged because of polluted seas. Some consider wild fish better because it may contain more nutrients and omega 3 fatty acids. Farm-raised fish often contain higher levels of pesticides and antibiotics compared to wild-caught fish.

Vegetables

  • Raw sprouts

Do not eat raw sprouts such as bean sprouts and alfalfa during pregnancy. Heated, however, you can safely eat them.Β 


Other raw vegetables are safe, but it is always good to wash them well before eating.

Raw eggs

Avoid raw eggs and dishes such as homemade mayonnaise and tiramisu that contain raw eggs. Mayonnaise from the supermarket is safe. Tiramisu is also safe (without alcohol).

Raw cheese

Avoid cheese made from raw milk, as it can potentially contain harmful bacteria for your baby. If the product is made from raw milk, the label usually says 'au lait cru' or 'made from raw milk.' If the label only says 'milk', you can assume it is safe to use.

Soy

Do not consume too much soy during pregnancy because of phytoestrogens, which can have hormonal effects.


Drink or eat a maximum of 4 servings of soy drink/yogurt (150 ml) per day. Also limit other soy products, such as tofu, tempeh or soybeans to no more than twice a week.

Herbs and spices

Moderate use of herbs and spices is generally safe, but do not take large amounts of certain herbs such as fennel, anise and sage.


In general, it is safe to use herbs in regular kitchen quantities. If you want to use herbs in supplement form, it is wise to inquire about this.Β 

Candy

  • Drop
  • Licorice

Do not eat too much licorice (no more than 8 licorice drops per day) or other candies containing licorice during pregnancy because they contain glycyrrhizin, which can affect blood pressure and hydration. Do you have high blood pressure? Then do not take licorice, star mix or licorice tea.Β 

What can you safely eat during pregnancy?

Products you can eat

Information

Meat

Make sure your meat is well cooked or cooked through.


You can eat all meat, but limit consumption of organ meats such as liver.

Fish

Eat one serving of fatty fish, such as salmon or trout, and one serving of lean fish, such as tilapia or plaice, weekly. A serving is about 100 grams. Look at the Nutrition Center website in the table for which fish you can choose from.


If it is not possible to eat fish twice a week, take an omega 3 (fish) fatty acid supplement containing 250-450 mg of DHA daily throughout your pregnancy.

Fruit and vegetables

During pregnancy, fruits and vegetables are important for the baby's development and the mother's well-being.Β 


Eat at least 250 grams of vegetables a day and 2 pieces of fruit. This way you get fiber, vitamins and minerals.Β 

Nuts and seeds

Nuts and seeds contain essential nutrients such as healthy fats, fiber, vitamins and minerals. Examples of healthy options include walnuts, almonds, chia seeds and flaxseeds.


A handful of nuts (about 30 grams) per day is about the guideline.

Cheese

Many cheeses are made from heated milk and are safe to eat. Do pay attention to the origin, especially at the cheesemonger, farmer, market or fresh section in the supermarket. Prepackaged cheeses from the refrigerated section are safe because they are not made from raw milk and therefore have a long shelf life.

Honey

Honey is safe during pregnancy, but avoid it in children under 1 year of age.

Eggs

Eggs (preferably organic) are rich in nutrients that are beneficial during pregnancy, such as choline, vitamins B, D and A, as well as good fats and proteins. Don't forget to eat the egg yolks, as these contain the most nutrients. Eat them fully cooked or cooked through.Β 

Drinking during pregnancy

Product

Information

Alcohol

There is no safe lower limit for alcohol consumption during pregnancy. Even drinking "1 glass a day" or "occasionally at a party" can affect your baby's development.

Non-alcoholic beverages (0.0)

It is safe to consume non-alcoholic beverages if they contain 0.0% alcohol. Check this carefully, however, because sometimes products are sold as alcohol-free when they may still contain up to 0.5% alcohol.

Tea

Drink up to three cups of black or green tea a day to keep caffeine intake at a safe level during pregnancy. If you like licorice tea, the recommendation is to drink up to two cups a day.Β 

Drinks high in caffeine

Drink a maximum of 200 mg of caffeine per day.


Coffee = about 95 milligrams of caffeine per cup (240 ml). Depending on coffee brewing method, type of beans and strength of coffee.

Energy drink = About 80 milligrams of caffeine per can (250 ml). Depending on the brand.

Black tea = about 40-70 milligrams of caffeine per cup (240 ml).

Green tea = about 20-45 milligrams of caffeine per cup (240 ml).

Supplements during pregnancy

You can certainly use these. For example, health organizations recommend taking folic acid if you want to get pregnant and at the beginning of your pregnancy. Another important nutrient, for example, is fish oil. Did you know that your mother's intake of DHA is good for fΕ“tus brain development and breastfed infants?Β 

For whom.

Supplement

Recommended Intake

Omnivore

Fish oil >>

Take every day during meals

Vegetarian/vegan

Algae oil >>

Take every day during meals

Read more in our blog for which 4 nutrients you need as a woman when you are pregnant!

Finally, keep listening to your (pregnant) body

During pregnancy, your body's nutrient needs change. It is important to take extra nutrients to support your baby's healthy growth, and your own nutritional needs undergo changes as well. In addition to following all kinds of food lists that indicate what you should and should not eat, it is important to really listen to your body.

If you have a sudden aversion to certain foods, it is likely that your body does not need them at that moment. On the other hand, an intense craving be a signal that you need certain nutrients. For example, some women who don't eat meat may suddenly crave meatballs during pregnancy. Or a strong craving for a specific cheese or pickles. So listen to your body's signals throughout each stage of your pregnancy and do a quick check to see if it's safe to eat it.