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Helpful Christmas Tips

Helpful Christmas Tips

Are you pregnant or breastfeeding this Christmas and unsure what you can eat, drink or what to do? We’ve put together some helpful tips to guide you through the festive season and to better understand why to avoid alcohol and certain foods.

What to eat – and what not to eat

When you are pregnant there are foods that you should be cautious about eating. Christmas menus seems to focus around a lot of these foods too! Here’s what you should avoid if you will be pregnant over Christmas:

Chocolate

Don’t worry – not entirely. Milk and dark chocolate contain caffeine and caffeine should be limited during pregnancy. Portion size and not overindulging is what matters here.

Cold Meats

You should avoid eating cold meats when you are pregnant for a few reasons. Some pre-packed meat like ham and corned beef are safe to eat when pregnant – but there are risks with food that has been left out for a while which often happens at Christmas parties – it’s best to heat it up and eat it hot. Other delicious deli meats like prosciutto, salami, pepperoni and chorizo are not safe – you should avoid anything that is uncooked, cured or fermented because of the risk that it might contain toxoplasmosis-causing parasites. These can cause an infection to you or your baby and may carry some risks to your unborn child.

Cheese

Christmas celebrations always include a cheese board. There are some cheeses that are safe and some that you should avoid whilst pregnant. The basic rule is soft=avoid, hard=eat. But to go into a little more detail:

Hard= Eat: cheddar, edam, Emmental or gouda are ok, but be careful with cheese containing unpasteurised milk.

Soft=Avoid: Stay clear of mould-ripened cheese like Brie, Camembert and Blue Cheese should be avoided. This is because of a higher risk that the cheese may have listeria bacteria and this can be harmful to your growing child.

Other soft cheeses like feta, mozzarella, cream cheese and cottage cheese are ok to eat as long as they are made from pasteurised milk.

Pate

Often also included on a cheese board is pate. This is a no go during pregnancy for multiple reasons, the main being the risk of it containing Listeria. Along with this risk, some pate’s are made from liver which is high in vitamin A which can be harmful to your growing child.

Fish & Shellfish

Fish is on the whole a great source of vitamins and minerals for you and your growing child and you should have up to two portions a week.  Some fish contain high levels of mercury which can affect your child’s developing nervous system, so avoid eating shark, swordfish, fresh tuna or marlin while pregnant.

You should avoid eating any cold fish as the chance of it containing bacteria is higher than other cold foods, and this includes shellfish and cold cooked prawns unfortunately. This risk extends to any raw seafood as well, like sashimi and oysters.

For new mums breastfeeding over the Christmas season the foods to avoid aren’t as extensive as during pregnancy but some should continue to be avoided like fish high in mercury and having too much caffeine as these can be harmful to your child.

What not to drink and what to have instead

Most of us have been told or know to avoid alcohol whilst pregnant or breastfeeding. Drinking alcohol whilst pregnant can increase the risk of having a miscarriage, stillbirth or giving birth to a child suffering from Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. With Drs unsure how much alcohol is safe during pregnancy – if any - it is safest to avoid it completely.

Whilst this will make you designated driver for all Christmas celebrations it’s not all bad, there are great options around for mocktails. If you really feel like you are missing out by not drinking, why not have some sparkling apple juice in a champagne glass or purchase some non-alcoholic wine. Coles and Woolworth’s have some lovely ranges of non-alcoholic wine and beer that you can take to your next Christmas party.

For breastfeeding mothers, there is a little leeway with drinking alcohol. Up to 1 standard drink per day isn’t known to be harmful to your baby and is best timed at least 2 hours before nursing.

What to do and what not to do!

Christmas time is very busy, and whilst celebrating with your loved ones can be lots of fun, being pregnant or having a newborn is hard work and you may want to take it slow. Relax and let others take care of you!

Pace Yourself

Growing a baby or looking after a newborn is hard work. Make sure to pace yourself and go easy on the Christmas shopping. Shop online or ask others to take on some of the Christmas shopping tasks.

Rest and Sleep

Try to take the time to catch up on sleep and rest. If your little one is earthside, ask loved ones to look after them so that you can take a nap.

Avoid heavy lifting

If you are pregnant this Christmas avoid lifting anything heavy – so no moving the Christmas tree or picking up a full Christmas Ham. Heavy lifting or prolonged standing can be dangerous for you and your unborn child. Heavy lifting soon after childbirth can cause intra-abdominal pressure, causing pelvic organ prolapse. If you’ve had a c-section delivery it can also cause damage to your belly wound.

Christmas time whilst pregnant isn’t all avoiding certain foods and certain drinks – it’s also a time where you can forget the diet and indulge! So have fun and eat that extra piece of bread or a second serving of Christmas pudding. Kick back, relax and enjoy this special time with your family celebrating the new addition to your family.

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