You may be feeling hungrier than usual during your pregnancy, especially in the second trimester. By now you'll know that there are certain favourite foods you can’t dig into while with baby, but that won't stop you from experiencing those famous cravings...
Here’s our guide to what not to eat during pregnancy and – crucially – the delicious pregnancy-friendly options you can tuck into instead. Bon appétit!
change your cheeseboard
Pregnant mums are advised not to eat certain cheeses due to the risk of listeriosis – an infection with horrible flu-like symptoms. It’s uncommon, but if caught can spread to unborn babies. Stay clear of mould-ripened cheeses like brie and camembert and blue-veined varieties such as stilton. There are plenty of other cheeses to pile high on your cheeseboard. If you like the kick of ripe brie, try extra mature cheddar instead. If you crave the texture of soft cheese, go for mozzarella, feta or cottage cheese (just check they’re made from pasteurised milk) and add grapes and crackers. Delicious.
meat well done
The main rule-of-thumb when it comes to cooking meat is to make sure it's well done all the way through. If you usually like your steak rare, it’s time to choose something else from the menu. Otherwise, you can carry on eating most cooked meat you fancy, unless it’s offal or things like haggis and pâté. Offal contains a lot of vitamin A, which is harmful for unborn babies. Cured meats haven’t been cooked so they're also off the menu. Though if your salami is going into the oven on top of a pizza, that’s fine. The same goes for eggs: make sure they’re cooked through – chocolate cake, not chocolate mousse.
plenty of fish
Fish is the ideal healthy option during pregnancy – white and smoked fish are perfectly fine to eat. Even cooked shellfish and sushi are safe provided you know that the fish has been properly frozen. Oily varieties like tuna or mackerel are great for baby's development, though you should restrict your intake to two steaks or four medium-sized cans of tuna a week, as it's higher in mercury than other fish. Shark, marlin and swordfish simply have too much mercury, so avoid these.
cut out caffeine
This can be one of the hardest things to do, especially if you’re not sleeping well and crave a pick-me-up. Caffeine has been linked to low birth weight babies and miscarriage, so seek out caffeine-free beverages for the duration of your pregnancy. Guidelines recommend no more than 200mg of caffeine per day (the equivalent of two mugs of instant coffee). A good decaf is barely distinguishable from a caffeinated cup in terms of flavour, so opt for that otherwise. Tea (including the green variety) also contains caffeine, so try fruit infusions as an alternative. Even caffeine-free Earl Grey tastes just like the real thing.
The guidelines on alcohol consumption seem to change all the time, so it’s safest just to steer clear of all alcoholic beverages. Many mums-to-be go off the taste of booze, but if you haven’t, there are plenty of great alcohol-free lagers, ciders and wines on the supermarket shelves. You could get creative with mocktail recipes: ginger beer, lime and mint make a gorgeously refreshing summer drink. Or try a virgin sangria, combining alcohol-free red wine, lemonade and slices of fresh orange.