Can pregnant women drink eggnog?
If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, you may wonder if it is safe to drink eggnog, especially given the risk of consuming raw eggs.
Food Standards has estimated that there are 72,800 annual cases of salmonellosis (salmonella food poisoning) due to the consumption of raw eggs.
Salmonella disease usually lasts 4 to 7 days, and symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting, fever, and stomach cramps.
Is it safe to drink eggnog during pregnancy?
In most cases of salmonellosis, people recover without antibiotic treatment. Diarrhea can be severe, and, in some cases, hospitalization is required.
Pregnant women are not at increased risk of salmonellosis. However, if a pregnant woman was infected with salmonella, she has an increased risk of a more severe illness that can be life-threatening.
And, in rare cases, salmonellosis during pregnancy can cause a miscarriage.
Therefore, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and FSANZ recommend that pregnant women avoid consuming raw eggs. (fda link)
Also, the National Health and Medical Research Council advises against alcohol consumption during pregnancy.
Therefore, unless the eggnog is prepared with cooked eggs (or a pasteurized store is purchased) and without alcohol, it is safer for pregnant women not to take it.
Healthy pregnant: nutrition
A healthy and balanced diet during pregnancy is extra essential. Not only do you make a lot of effort yourself, but your body must also provide the right nutrients for the growth of your child. The new (inverted) food triangle gives a good idea of what you should eat every day to get enough nutrients.
General nutritional advice
- Even if you are pregnant, sufficient water, fruit, and vegetables are especially important.
- Choose fish and possibly chicken over meat.
- Eat as few fast sugars as possible such as in sweets, soft drinks.
- Avoid alcohol and any other drug.
Just like you, your baby needs carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, and minerals. He can only get it from your diet. By varying with fruit and vegetables, you already know for sure that he will get all the necessary nutrients. By default, you need around 2000 kcal per day. During pregnancy, especially at the end, this increases by 300 to 400 kcal. That is one extra sandwich or one extra jar of yogurt. So it would help if you did not eat for two.
Fish during pregnancy
We advise pregnant women to eat fish at least once a week because the fatty acids contained in them contain essential nutrients for your child’s brain. You can find these fatty acids mainly in oily fish species such as sardines, salmon, herring, trout, and mackerel.
Points of attention:
- The benefit of polyvitamins or dietary supplements (such as fish oil) during pregnancy has not been demonstrated.
- Some fish (such as tuna, eel, swordfish, zander, mackerel, and shark) can contain contaminants such as dioxins and heavy metals. It doesn’t hurt to use this fish sometime, but be careful with large quantities. We recommend that you do not eat these fish more than twice a week.
- Also, watch out for vacuum-packed raw and smoked fish. These contain slightly more often listeria (bacteria that can give rise to a food infection), and that is best to avoid. Correctly, for vacuum-packed fish, we recommend that you no longer use it about a week before the date of maximum durability.
- We also advise against oysters and raw crustaceans or shellfish because of the risk of infection of listeria in particular. You can eat cooked mussels, prawns, and scampi without risk.
Vegetarian food during pregnancy
You can correctly eat a vegetarian diet during your pregnancy. As long as you sufficiently absorb the essential nutrients that are present in meat (iron, proteins, and B vitamins) in other ways.
Exercise during pregnancy
In addition to a balanced diet, it is essential that you stay fit and in shape. That also means a healthy lifestyle with sufficient exercise.
Diets during pregnancy
To avoid a shortage of nutrients during pregnancy, it is not the time to go strict.
Avoid foodborne infections during pregnancy
During pregnancy, food infection (in particular, toxoplasmosis and listeriosis ) can pose a risk to the baby.
For toxoplasmosis, we perform a blood test on every pregnant woman. In this way, you know whether you are immune and cannot go through the infection anymore or if you are not immune and therefore need to pay attention.
Unlike toxoplasmosis, you cannot take a blood test to see if you are protected against listeria. Give the bacteria no chance.
Cheese during pregnancy
It is advisable to eat some cheese slices every day. After all, cheese contains calcium and vitamin D.
Note the following cheeses:
- raw, unpasteurized cheeses.
- Cheeses with ‘with raw milk’ or ‘au lait cru’ on the packaging.
These can contain listeria and cause a severe infection during pregnancy. It is mainly about the current French cheeses such as Brie, mozzarella, or mildew cheeses made from raw milk. The traditional Dutch cheeses do not cause any risk of such an infection.
Extra attention to nutrients during pregnancy
For some nutrients (such as vitamin D and folic acid), you need a little more during pregnancy.
Sufficient folic acid (vitamin B11) during pregnancy reduces the risk of several birth defects. For example, a deficiency of folic acid in the first weeks of pregnancy may prevent the baby’s spinal cord from developing. That, in turn, can lead to an open back.
You usually get folic acid from green vegetables, whole-grain products, dairy, and meat. Because the need for folic acid increases during pregnancy, we recommend that you take extra tablets with approximately 400 mg folic acid in early pregnancy. It is also essential to use excess folic acid during fertilization.
If you are more into the pregnancy (beyond ten e week gestation), additional folic acid is no longer necessary to use.
Vitamin D provides strong bones, both for yourself and for your baby. You usually get enough vitamin D from sunlight, dairy products, and fatty fish. If you think that you are not sufficiently exposed to sunlight, you can use a vitamin D supplement. Even if your diet does not contain enough vitamin D (low in dairy or no fish), we recommend a vitamin D supplement.
Calcium is also needed for the development of teeth and bones. You usually get this from milk, cheese, yogurt, and the like. By default, you are good with 2 to 3 slices of cheese per day and 2 to 3 glasses of milk per day or 1 or 2 jars of yogurt per day. It is generally recommended to use low-fat dairy varieties. These contain a little less saturated fat and, in proportion, a bit of protein. Even if you have an increased risk of pregnancy poisoning or pre-eclampsia, we recommend that you use extra calcium.
Iron is essential for multiple functions in your body, including the production of red blood cells. An iron deficiency is also a frequent reason for anemia. Metal is in meat and wholemeal bread, but also in fruit and vegetables. In particular, vitamin C in fruit and vegetables would ensure that you absorb iron better.
Vitamin supplements during pregnancy
Apart from supplements folic acid and vitamin D, which you can also adjust with your diet, it is not useful to systematically use a vitamin supplement.
If you do want to take vitamins, you should use a supplement that has been specially developed for pregnant women. General and often freely available supplements in the supermarket can contain a too high dose of vitamin A, which can be harmful to an unborn child.