Updated: Oct 12
Are you expecting this Christmas? Are you wondering how to enjoy the holidays while still eating baby-safe foods during your first pregnancy?
Often, a first-time mum will wonder about her diet during pregnancy. While there are plenty of delicious festive treats you can indulge in, there are also some you should be careful to stay away from.
Here’s what you should be consuming and avoiding during your first pregnant Christmas.
Yes to Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are delicious holiday indulgences that are low in fat and high in fibre. This can help you feel full and avoid sugar spikes during pregnancy.
The vitamin A in sweet potatoes is important for the visual health and immune function of your baby, especially during the third trimester.
Sweet potatoes are also a good source of Vitamin C, which can help your baby absorb iron and even store it for later use. It’s also critical for bone and teeth development. Vitamin C is vital for your own health as well since it helps with tissue repair and healing.
Iron is also present in sweet potatoes and important for your unborn foetus. It helps with the development of red blood cells and muscle cells. It’s also critical for brain development.
Sweet potatoes can also be a great source of potassium, which can help with sending nerve impulses and allowing your muscles to contract. It can even help with cramping and alleviating water retention.
No to Cured Meats
We all love a little meat-and-cheese board before the main meal event. Yet cured meats like salami, prosciutto, and pepperoni are all treats you’ll need to pass on this year.
While there’s a very small chance you’ll actually contract food poisoning, many pregnant women choose to err on the side of caution when it comes to meats that haven’t been cooked. Cured meats can have parasites in them that cause toxoplasmosis.
Cured meats also have a lot of Vitamin A. While it’s important to consume healthy amounts of this vitamin, excessive amounts can cause serious problems. These include birth defects and liver toxicity.
Yes to Cooked Eggs
You may be passing on the meats, but hungry mummies shouldn’t be afraid to reach for a well-cooked egg.
Eggs contain high-quality fat and protein, which are critical during pregnancy. Protein helps your baby develop normally while facilitating the growth and repair of new tissues. It also helps your unborn fetus to make hormones, enzymes, and antibodies for their immune system.
Eggs are also a beautiful source of choline, which can help your baby’s brain development. It can also serve to keep abnormalities from developing in your child’s brain and spine.
It’s important, however, to make sure that your eggs are fully cooked before indulging. Pass if you’re even a little unsure if they are cooked all the way through.
No to Soft Cheese
Soft cheeses are another reason expectant mummies should exercise a good deal of caution at the appetiser table. These include options like goat cheese and gorgonzola. You can, however, indulge in other cheesy options, including cheddar, parmesan, or cream cheese.
Many unpasteurised kinds of cheese contain listeria, which has the potential for causing an infection called listeriosis. In rare cases, the infection could lead to miscarriage or stillbirth. If you’re uncertain about whether or not a certain type of cheese is safe for you and your baby, be sure to ask your doctor before you partake.
Yes to Salmon
If you’re attending a Christmas gathering where salmon is on the menu, feel free to help yourself! While you should be avoiding certain fish high in mercury like swordfish or tuna, salmon is a perfectly healthy option.
Salmon is a great source of Vitamin D, which can help your baby’s bones and teeth to develop properly. It’s also essential for the development of a healthy heart and nervous system.
Salmon is also an excellent source of Omega 3’s. These are excellent for the health of your pregnancy itself. It can help to reduce your chances of preterm labour and delivery, as well as increase birth weight.
Getting the right amount of Omega 3’s can lower your risk of preeclampsia and decrease mummy’s risk of depression. It can also help to support the development of your child’s brain, eyes, and nervous system.
No to Alcohol
We all know how lovely it is to indulge in a glass of bubbly during Christmas parties. However, some creamy drinks are made with raw, unpasteurised eggs that are generally unsafe. These could contain salmonella bacteria, which could cause high fever and dehydration.
Most doctors recommend avoiding alcohol altogether during pregnancy because of the risk of Foetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS.) This is what happens when alcohol passes through the baby’s bloodstream and causes a number of abnormalities, ranging from physical defects to mental challenges.
It’s possible to find alcohol-free versions of your favourite drinks. Just make sure you aren’t consuming any unpasteurised eggs. You should read the label carefully before imbibing.
Yes to Chicken
Lean proteins like chicken are often a part of Christmas celebrations. They’re also perfectly safe and healthy for expecting mummies to consume.
Chicken contains doses of Vitamin B-3, which is also known as niacin. This can help prevent miscarriages and birth defects. It’s also essential for helping your unborn foetus to grow and thrive. Vitamin B-3 can give you energy and even prevent nausea and improve digestion during pregnancy.
Lean chicken is also a great source of magnesium. This mineral can keep your uterus from contracting before it’s time. It’s also essential for the development of strong teeth and bones in your baby.
No to Homemade Baked Desserts
We know how tempting it can be to stare at a loaded dessert table when you’re expecting! Yet homemade desserts can contain raw eggs, which can be quite detrimental to your pregnancy.
Err on the side of caution and opt only for store-bought dessert options.
Yes to Fresh Veggies
You won’t need to avoid all appetisers if you’re hoping for a great pregnancy scan. While you’ll want to be careful when it comes to dips, many raw veggies contain wonderful nutrients that are great for baby and mummy.
Broccoli is particularly beneficial as it contains calcium, iron, and zinc. It also contains Vitamin B-12, which can help prevent spina bifida and other birth defects in the central nervous system.
Broccoli is also a great source of folate, which can help develop your baby’s red blood cells and neural tube. Neural tube defects are quite serious and can cause problems with the baby’s brain and spinal cord.
Carrots contain critical vitamins like Vitamin A, as well as fibre that can help prevent constipation. Carrots also contain Vitamin K, which is important for blood clotting and wounds healing. This is important as you get ready for labour and recovery.
No to Raw Shellfish
The oyster bar may be another tempting place to graze during a Christmas party. Yet you’ll want to stay away this year, and avoid clams and mussels as well.
Raw or undercooked shellfish can contain parasites or bacteria that can lead to foodborne illnesses. These include salmonella, toxoplasmosis, and listeriosis. During pregnancy, your immune system changes and it may be more difficult for you to fight off the microorganisms that cause these illnesses.
Yes to Berries
Berries are some of our favourite Christmas indulgences. They make an excellent dessert for expectant mummies, especially when drizzled with a little granola honey. Just make sure the honey is pasteurised!
Berries are a great source of antioxidants, which may actually reduce the effects of birth defects caused by alcohol. They’re also high in fibre, which can help you maintain a healthy weight and reduce your chances of gestational diabetes. They provide a lot of flavour and nutrition without an excessive amount of calories.
Berries contain manganese, which plays a role in the metabolism of carbs and cholesterol. They may also be good for your skin.
Smoothies are another excellent way to enjoy berries when expecting. It’s a great way to get all the nutrition your body needs. They contain fibre, minerals, vitamins, and electrolytes.
Do a little research online to find smoothies friendly for expectant mummies!
Staying Healthy During a Pregnant Christmas
Your first pregnant Christmas can be an adventure. Stick with our healthy, nutritious pregnancy tips to help you and your baby feel your best without foregoing the Christmas spirit!
Don’t stop getting smart about your pregnancy now. For more excellent advice and quality pregnancy scans, contact us today.