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Going out for meals while you’re pregnant

Take-away meals, and dining out can stay on the menu while you’re pregnant. But it is important to be aware of what you’re eating and how it is has been prepared.

While you’re preparing food at home it’s simple to stay in control of what you’re eating and how it is being cooked. But going out is an important part of life, and the occasional takeaway is a great treat. Pregnancy is no reason to miss out on either of these things! Instead, be aware of what you’re ordering, and be sure to ask the right questions. Our cardinal rule: if you’re ever in doubt, don’t order it.

Here are some foods to pay attention to:

Meat

Undercooked or raw meant should be avoided. This means asking for meat to be well done. If you’re eating steak or lamb, cut into it. It will be immediately obvious how well-cooked the meat is. Don’t be shy about asking for the meal to be returned and cooked to your requirements. It’s a good idea to explain that you’re pregnant when you order just to make sure they understand why you’re making the request.

Avoid any pate or terrine or other meat-based spreads, along with any processed meats. So, sadly, charcuterie boards are out!

Eggs

Like meat, you must steer clear of eggs that are uncooked or partially cooked. If you are ordering a dish with eggs, simply ask for them to the thoroughly cooked. Pay attention when you’re ordering pasta, as some dishes can contain raw egg. If your waiter isn’t completely sure – avoid.

Seafood

While you may not be in the habit of eating fish like shark or marlin, if you do spot these on the menu while you’re out, don’t be tempted. These exotic fish can be very high in mercury which is not recommended during pregnancy.

Japanese food-lovers will be sorry to hear that raw fish is not recommended during pregnancy, which puts sashimi and sushi off the table. Likewise, shellfish lovers will miss eating oysters. Shellfish are fine, as long as they have been thoroughly cooked.

Vegetables

A buffet-style salad bar is not a good option while you’re pregnant- in fact, any packaged salads must be avoided. If you’re concerned, explain that you are pregnant and check that a salad has been freshly prepared.

Cheese

Happily, a cheese course can still be enjoyed while you’re pregnant. But you’ll need to stick to the hard cheese options. Soft cheeses, like brie or camembert, or any ‘blue’ cheeses that have been allowed to develop mold, are a risk.

Desserts

This is one area where you should grill the waiter- some desserts can contain uncooked egg without being very obvious, for example, chocolate mousse. Soft serve should be avoided, as should any desserts that contain ice-cream that has been heated, like deep-fried ice-cream.

And, if you’re left with a doggie bag after your meal, you’ll need to be careful with how you store and prepare your leftovers. Make sure that you take them home straight away, cover them and refrigerate. Eat them within a day, and make sure they properly reheated.

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