Up the Sprout; All Mums-to-Be Know They Should Go Easy on the Booze at Christmas. but What about Those Other Seasonal Favourites like Turkey and All the Trimmings, Smoked Salmon, Nuts and Cake? Here's Our Guide to Festive Food If You're Expecting

The Mirror (London, England), December 11, 2003 | Go to article overview

Up the Sprout; All Mums-to-Be Know They Should Go Easy on the Booze at Christmas. but What about Those Other Seasonal Favourites like Turkey and All the Trimmings, Smoked Salmon, Nuts and Cake? Here's Our Guide to Festive Food If You're Expecting


Byline: ANGELA DOWDEN

BEING pregnant at Christmas is a good excuse to put your feet up and let someone else do the cooking.

But with everyone from your midwife to your mum giving you conflicting advice on the foods that could harm your baby, your usual festive feast can easily turn into a depressingly frugal affair.

So to make sure you can enjoy your Christmas blow-out to the full, we've asked the experts for the most accurate and up-to-date advice on what you can and can't eat...

Christmas dinner

Unsafe: Undercooked turkey.

Safe: Everything else.

Undercooked turkey is a prime source of salmonella and campylobacter bacteria which can cause vomiting and diarrhoea.

Fiona Ford, a nutritionist at the Eating For Pregnancy helpline run by Sainsbury's and the charity WellBeing, explains: "Pregnant women are more susceptible to food poisoning because they have a slightly depressed immune system."

And although food-poisoning bacteria can't pass to the baby, the mother can become dangerously ill.

To protect yourself use a meat thermometer (about pounds 9 from cook shops) which should register at least 82C (180F) for 10 minutes when inserted in the innermost part of

the turkey thigh, and 74C (165F) in the centre of the stuffing.

Cheese board

Unsafe: Unpasteurised, mould-ripened or blue-veined cheeses - for example, goat's cheese, stilton, brie, camembert and Pont-l'Eveque.

Safe: All other types. Parmesan is one unpasteurised cheese you can eat during pregnancy.

Unpasteurised, mould-ripened and blue-veined cheeses pose a risk to pregnant women as they might be contaminated with listeria bacteria. Listeria infections only cause mild flu-like symptoms in the mother, but can trigger miscarriage, stillbirth or premature labour.

Specialist cheeses in delis and restaurants are the type most likely to be unpasteurised, so ask if you're unsure. Mould-ripened cheeses can be identified by their powdery white crust and blue cheeses by their green-grey veins.

Fish course

Unsafe: Raw fish or shellfish (such as oysters), shark, swordfish and marlin. Tuna should be limited to one fresh tuna steak or two medium cans a week.

Safe: Supermarket smoked salmon and fish that's been well cooked.

Raw or undercooked seafood may contain food-poisoning bugs such as vibrio bacterium or norwalk viruses that can hit pregnant women hard. …

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Up the Sprout; All Mums-to-Be Know They Should Go Easy on the Booze at Christmas. but What about Those Other Seasonal Favourites like Turkey and All the Trimmings, Smoked Salmon, Nuts and Cake? Here's Our Guide to Festive Food If You're Expecting
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