Christmas time and pregnancy
Being careful about what you eat and drink is all part of being pregnant, but with so many tempting foods and drinks on offer what should you particularly look out for to ensure you, and your bump, remain safe?
Cold meats and fish – Parma ham and salami, although cured, are not cooked and may cause toxoplasmosis (an infection usually harmless to adults but can cause serious problems for an unborn baby) so say ‘no’ to these. Smoked salmon and sushi are fine (provided frozen fish has been used to make the sushi), but avoid shellfish (unless cooked till piping hot).
Cheeses – have a look at our website and handy guide for advice on what cheeses you can eat and those to avoid on the cheese board.
Salads – steer clear of any salads made with homemade mayonnaise but shop bought mayonnaise from a jar is fine. Make sure salad leaves are always thoroughly washed first.
Turkey – this is perfectly safe, provided you make sure it is cooked thoroughly. Take extra care when handling the raw turkey, washing all surfaces and your hands afterwards. Follow all cooking instructions carefully (length of time you need to cook the bird and oven temperature to use). Of course, if your turkey is frozen make sure it is completely defrosted before roasting.
Desserts – always check whether any raw or partly cooked eggs have been used in recipes. For this reason, avoid homemade meringues and chocolate mousses for example as they can contain salmonella.
Most other foods are completely safe, but if in doubt ask and keep our handy ‘foods to avoid’ card with you to check.
Of course Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without a special drink. Of course you should avoid alcohol, but this doesn’t mean you can’t have a special festive drink. Why not try our delicious 'mock-tails'?
Have a good one!
It was reported in the news this week that pregnant women who ask for a caesarean delivery should be allowed to have one. You can read the full story on the BBC website.
A vaginal birth is generally safer than a caesarean birth. However, a caesarean section may be needed to save the life of a mum or baby. In these cases, caesarean birth is without question the safest option.
But there are also times when the decision is not so obvious and it will be up to you and your doctor to weigh up the risks and benefits of having a caesarean to decide what's best for you. Although a caesarean is a common procedure, it involves major surgery in your abdominal and pelvic area, and all operations carry risks.
Disadvantages of a caesarean:
- Pain. The main disadvantage is pain after the caesarean. This may last for a few weeks or more after the operation. You will be given medication to help cope with the pain but it will affect your daily activities.
- Infection. Before the operation, you will be offered a single dose of antibiotics, but about 8% of women still go on to get an infection.
- Blood clot. Any surgery carries a risk of developing a blood clot. This can be serious, or even life-threatening, depending on where the clot develops. You will be given blood-thinning drugs and support stockings to improve the blood flow in your legs after the caesarean. You'll also be encouraged to get up and move around as soon as possible afterwards. This helps your circulation and reduce your risk of developing a clot.
- Adhesions. These are bands of scar tissue which form as you heal and can make organs in your abdomen stick to each other or to the inside of your abdominal wall. About half of women who have had a caesarean get adhesions, and this can increase with more caesareans. Adhesions can be painful because they limit the movement of your internal organs.
- Infertility. Occasionally, adhesions can lead to problems with fertility, as they can press on or block fallopian tubes. Sometimes women experience unexplained infertility after a caesarean.
- Anaesthetic. Most caesareans are done with an epidural or spinal, which numbs you from the abdominal area down. An epidural or spinal is safer for you and your baby than a general anaesthetic. However, having any anaesthetic involves a small risk. With epidurals and spinals a few women can have; a severe headache (affects about 1% of women); nerve damage. This rarely happens and, if it does, it usually only lasts for a few days or weeks although very rarely it’s permanent.
- Injury to the bladder, to the tubes connecting the kidneys to the bladder (ureters) or to the bowel.
- Very occasionally, if there are major complications, to protect a woman's health, doctors may have to perform an operation to remove the uterus (hysterectomy).
- A blood transfusion. If you've had a serious complication during the caesarean, you may need a blood transfusion. Some of the rarer complications of a caesarean can be life-threatening. However, the risk of a caesarean proving fatal is extremely small, only one in 12,000.
- Breathing difficulties for the baby. About 35 in every 1,000 babies have breathing problems after a caesarean compared with five in 1,000 babies born vaginally. Breathing problems are more common for premature babies born by caesarean or babies born by a caesarean before labour started.
- About 2% of babies get a nick or cut from the doctor's scalpel.
- Although early postnatal depression is more common in women who've had a caesarean than women who've had a vaginal birth, by two months, the rates are about the same.
- Women who've had a caesarean are less likely to start breastfeeding than women who've had a vaginal birth. However, once you've started, your chances of success are the same as for a woman who's given birth vaginally.
- It can affect future pregnancies. Once you've had one caesarean, you're much more likely to have another caesarean in future pregnancies. Having had a caesarean slightly increases your risk of having a low-lying-placenta (placenta praevia) in future pregnancies. There is a very small risk of the scar on your uterus opening up again in future pregnancies or births. This is called a uterine rupture but is rare and affects 0.5-1% of women in future pregnancies.
Advantage of a caesarean:
- If it’s planned, you will know when your baby will be born.
- Although you'll have a very sore tummy, you won't have some of the discomforts that can result from a vaginal birth, such as pain and bruising and tears and stitches around your vagina.
- Caesarean birth may help protect against the slight risk of urine leaks and in later years, vaginal prolapse. However, other factors such as the number of births, having big babies, having assisted deliveries and obesity also contribute to these conditions. Pregnancy itself is also a risk factor for these conditions as it can weaken your pelvic floor, so you still need to do your pelvic floor exercises!
If you have any questions about either a caesarean or a vaginal birth, don't be afraid to ask your midwife and talk through all of the options with her.
Best wishes - Amber
What to bring to eat when in labour
For those of you reaching the end of your pregnancy, you may well be thinking about packing your bag that you take with you when you go into labour and what snacks or drinks to put in.
Of course what you take will depend on your favourites and what you think you might fancy, but some suggestions that I can recommend to help keep your energy levels up and to keep you well hydrated - during labour that might be dried fruit, dry biscuits, cereal bars, glucose tablets and bottles of water or isotonic sports drinks. Of course these are all things that you can pack in advance, but on the day you might think of adding some extras, such as fresh fruit, a sandwich or yogurt. Don’t worry about whether these foods are healthy or not, I suggest you keep away from any foods high in fats as these can make you feel very uncomfortable and may make you be sick!
In our recent survey of HiPP babyclub members, over half of the mums asked ‘Did you eat anything during labour?’ said that they didn’t think of food at all or really couldn’t face eating anything during labour. But for those that did feel like eating something they generally only wanted to nibble on snacks. It’s a good idea to keep any eating or drinking during labour to little and often and probably only in the early stages of labour. Depending on how long your labour lasts, you may or may not need the glucose tablets to keep you going and the isotonic sports drinks may or may not be necessary, but best to go prepared!
And as for foods that might help bring on labour, our survey suggests that spicy foods like a curry still seem to be a favourite, as does drinking red raspberry leaf tea or eating pineapple, but who knows if these really make a difference or not?!
Best wishes - Helen
Pregnancy and healthy eating
I’m really getting quite excited about this new blog of mine! It was great to hear back from you all about your own experiences on the last post and I’m hoping I can pass onto you all some really useful nutritional advice!
As I mentioned to you in my last post, we recently did a survey with the HiPP Baby Club members and one of the first questions we asked pregnant mothers was ‘Are you following any guidelines on what you should eat during pregnancy?’ Half of the respondents said they have only followed some of the guidelines and have been quite relaxed about their diets, whilst just over a quarter said they have followed their natural instincts on what they should be eating. This left less than a quarter saying they have followed the guidelines religiously. This got me thinking, are health professionals like myself and the Government overloading mums-to-be with advice on what to eat/not to eat during pregnancy and if we were to prioritise, what are the most important bits of dietary advice for pregnant mums?
I believe, and I’m sure you will all agree, that as a parent the most important thing always is to make sure your baby is safe. For this reason I would say that you should definitely follow the advice to avoid certain foods on food safety grounds e.g. raw meat/eggs, unpasteurised cheese, certain fish. Why not download a copy of our Foods to avoid card from our Baby Club that gives a ready-reckoner on what foods you should not eat during your pregnancy.
On top of that, I would definitely recommend that mums-to-be should eat as wide a variety of different foods as possible to make sure they get all the nourishment mum and baby needs. And of course, there are folic acid supplements that are so important in the early stages of pregnancy, vitamin D supplements important for some........so the list goes on!
But remember the advice that is given is based on the most up-to-date knowledge and as a health professional I hope you mums feel able to take on board as much of this advice as possible, for your own benefit and to help ensure your baby can get the best start in life as possible.
Let me know what you think – are health professionals like me and the Government giving the best dietary advice to pregnant mums?
Best wishes - Helen
Tags: Helen, HiPP Organic, Babyclub, pregnant, healthy, eating, mums, supplements, vitamins, nutrition
Categories: About Hipp Organic, Pregnancy
Welcome from HiPP's Nutritionist, Helen
I am Helen, HiPP Organic’s resident nutritionist and I’ll be filling this blog up nicely with tips on what to eat while pregnant, how to keep eating happily and healthily once your baby is born, and then once your baby is ready to start weaning I’ll be giving lots more ideas and advice on healthy foods to give them.
I’d love to hear your suggestions and any questions about nutrition or feeding so feel free to email me or post any comments on this blog and I’ll do my best to reply.
But just to get the ball rolling, in a questionnaire we recently sent out to our HiPP babyclub members we asked the question ‘What are you doing/did you do to alleviate morning sickness?’. Over a quarter of the respondents said a small snack helped, whilst another quarter found drinking water made them feel better. Others found drinking ginger or mint tea, taking in some fresh air or lying down made them feel less nauseous. Have you got any other ideas to share? .....I’d love to know.
Best wishes! Helen