Food and Safety in Pregnancy
With few exceptions, food safety during pregnancy should be no more stressful than while you are not pregnant. Basic guidelines of proper storage and handling can help prevent most food borne illness. Finding alternatives when you have food aversions helps to ensure an adequate diet. Ensuring a balanced diet that includes necessary nutrients such as folic acid gives you and your baby the best chances of a healthy pregnancy.
There is evidence to suggest certain foods increase risks to you or your baby. For example, certain types of fish may contain high levels of mercury. Ready-to-eat refrigerated foods may carry bacteria that can seriously harm your baby. Consuming alcohol during pregnancy is the number one cause of preventable birth defects.
In addition to basic food safety, it is important to evaluate your use of medications. Herbal supplements should be evaluated as thoroughly as over the counter or prescription medications. Some women prefer to avoid food additives, and others choose to consume only organic foods to avoid the possibility of risk. Other women find their sensitivity to chemicals used in food and around the house increases during pregnancy and make changes to their eating habits and lifestyle to accommodate.
How much, or how little, you change your diet will depend on the quality of your prepregnancy diet, your state of health, and what changes are reasonable to you.