The holiday season has started, and it’s time for some festive fun. Food and drink are at the centre of these holiday celebrations. But, what you can and can't eat becomes a little confusing when you're surrounded by varieties of food and know you have to be careful because you’re pregnant.
If you're asking yourself can I eat runny cheese, can I eat seafood or peanuts or can I eat Christmas ham when pregnant, then we’re here to help. Or if you’ve just got some general worries about the food do’s and don’ts during the festive season, then here’s a list of what you can and can’t eat during Christmas while pregnant.
The Do's: What you can eat during Christmas
So, what about that question ‘Can I eat Christmas ham when pregnant’? The answer is yes! Cold cooked meats like ham are safe to eat, but avoid cured meats like parma ham and salami. Fermented and cured meats run the risk of containing a parasitic infection called Toxoplasmosis, which can be harmful to you and your baby.
Turkey is a Christmas classic, and so long as it’s cooked thoroughly, then it’s perfectly fine for you to eat at Christmas. It’s actually a great source of iron and protein. Make sure there is no pink in sight and that the juices are clear.
Cranberry sauce is also another item you can feel comfortable spooning onto your plate. It’s full of vitamin C, which boosts both you and your baby’s immune system. Cranberries also help fight off infections.
If you love seafood, then the good news is that smoked salmon and pre-cooked prawns are also safe to eat. Both contain essential vitamins and minerals, like omega-3 fatty acids, that help your baby develop.
We also can’t forget the greens! They might not be your favourite veggie but sprouts are a good idea. They contain magnesium and folate which are great for foetal development. If you can tolerate it then have a few extra brussel sprouts this year.
The festive season just isn’t the same without Christmas nibbles. Until just recently, pregnant women have been told to pass on eating nuts, but now the advice is that a handful of nuts almost every day actually means your baby is less likely to have a nut allergy. And even Sushi is an acceptable Christmas treat these days. As long as the fish was frozen first then ready-made sushi is fine to eat (although avoid raw shellfish, including oysters, prawns and mussels).
The Don'ts: What food you should avoid this Christmas
It goes without saying but alcohol is a no no for you this Christmas. It can lead to premature births and lower birth weights. If you want to toast the season then mocktails are the perfect alternative.
Keep an eye out for raw egg too. The risk isn’t very high, but undercooked eggs can give you food poisoning. They can be hidden in mousses and custards, so it’s better to be safe than sorry and give those a pass. You should also avoid eggnog altogether.
Another food you should pass up this Christmas is pâté. It can potentially contain Listeria bacteria and should be avoided. . . vegetable pâté included.
Does your family love a cheese plate? Cheddar, parmesan and gouda are fine, but mould-ripened soft cheeses like Brie, Camembert, and Gorgonzola are a no-go. Same goes with any cheese made from unpasteurized milk. However, if you use those kinds of cheeses cooked or in a sauce, that’s perfectly ok.
Hopefully, you’ve found this list of what you can and can’t eat during Christmas helpful. The good news is there are still plenty of Christmas classics that you can enjoy even when pregnant. Our biggest tip, if you’re still unsure about what food to avoid on the buffet, is to look it up or avoid it altogether.
For more about how to survive the festive period while pregnant, check out this previous blog post. And, if you’re wondering how to avoid stretch marks this season, our clever 3-step system is the only thing that can help – take a look at our patented Stretch Mark Prevention Kit here.
Merry Christmas all you mums-to-be!