Seven tips for a safe pregnancy

Written by Catherine Saxelby on Friday, 05 March 2010.
Tagged: health, healthy cooking, healthy eating, healthy lifestyle, pregnancy, wellness

Seven tips for a safe pregnancy
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If you're preparing for pregnancy, or are in the early stages, and are in generally good health then these 7 tips from Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) can help you and your baby stay healthy. It's best to start before you become pregnant but if you're already in the early stages of pregnancy, just start following this advice as soon as you can.

7 tips for safe eating and drinking before and during pregnancy:

1. Eat a healthy, balanced diet, including:

  • Plenty of fruit and vegetables (read my easy ideas for eating more)
  • Wholegrain cereals
  • Wholemeal bread
  • Rice, pasta and noodles (preferably wholegrain)
  • Fresh meat, chicken,  fish, eggs or vegetarian proteins like tofu and lentils
  • Milk, yoghurt and cheese
  • Plenty of water

2. In addition to eating folate-enriched foods (such as bread) and those naturally rich in folate (such as leafy green vegetables), FSANZ recommends taking a 400 microgram folate supplement daily for one month before and three months after conception to reduce the risk of neural tube defects such as spina bifida.

3. As well as eating iodine-enriched food (such as bread) and those naturally rich in iodine (such as seafood and seaweed), FSANZ recommends taking a supplement of 150 microgram iodine daily during pregnancy and breastfeeding, because even mild deficiencies can cause learning and developmental difficulties in toddlers.

4. Eat two to three serves of fish a week for their valuable omega-3s but avoid fish with high mercury levels such as shark, broadbill, marlin, swordfish and orange roughy (sometimes called ocean or deep sea perch).

5. Avoid foods that could be infected with the bacteria Listeria:

  • Soft and semi-soft cheeses like brie, camembert, ricotta, blue, feta
  • Soft serve ice cream; unpasteurised dairy products
  • Pâté
  • Chilled seafood
  • Salads and fruits/vegetables that are prepared, pre-packaged or served from smorgasbords or salad bars
  • Cold cooked meats from sandwich bars
  • Packaged ready-to-eat meats

6. Avoid alcohol during pregnancy or while breastfeeding.

7. Limit your daily caffeine to four cups of tea OR three cups of instant coffee OR four cola drinks OR one espresso coffee.


daa-logo-greenIf you're unsure of anything or have specific health issues, consult your doctor or an Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD). To find an APD near you, go to


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