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Wednesday, 10 January, 2001, 13:10 GMT
Pregnancy superfoods revealed
Pregnant women should watch what they eat
Pregnant women should watch what they eat
A guide to healthy eating for pregnant women has spelt out the top dozen 'superfoods' they should eat.

The guide, published by Tommy's Campaign which funds research into problems in pregnancy, aims to answer women's questions about what they should and should not eat when they are expecting.

It answers questions like "Can a vegetarian diet be healthy?" and "Can problems like morning sickness be helped by diet?".

Pregnancy superfoods
Bananas, oranges, other fresh fruit
Dried apricots and prunes
Broccoli and other green vegetables
Salmon and other oily fish
Wholemeal bread
Brown rice
Lean red meat
Chicken and turkey
Pulses and lentils
Fortified breakfast cereals
Nuts (not peanuts) and seeds (ie sesame)

And it also gives tips on how mums-to-be should balance their diet, whether they should take vitamin supplements, what to avoid, and key hygiene tips.

The booklet also advises women on how to avoid potentially dangerous infections such as listeria, salmonella and toxoplasmosis, which can damage the unborn baby.

The guide is written by Dr Jane Horti, a community child health doctor, who said: "There is so much concern and confusion about diet during pregnancy.

"For example, dairy products are an excellent source of calcium and protein during pregnancy and yet women aren't sure about what cheeses are safe to eat and which might carry the bug listeria."

Questions answered

The guide, called 'Healthy eating - A guide for mums-to-be' will be available from doctors' surgeries this month. It is also available from Tommy's Campaign.

The campaign is backed by Men Behaving Badly actress Leslie Ash.

She suffered from toxoplasmosis, a parasitic infection, when she was two months pregnant with her first child Joe, who is now 11.

The actress lived in France at the time, where tests for toxoplasmosis are a part of normal antenatal care.

Leslie Ash said: "I am very glad to see that toxoplasmosis is finally being recognised in this country and that women can get advice about avoiding infection.

Leslie Ash is backing the campaign
Leslie Ash is backing the campaign

"I would like to stress the importance of following a sensible diet and avoiding undercooked meats, unpasteurised milks and unwashed salads during pregnancy.

"As someone who has suffered from toxoplasmosis, I do suggest you get this booklet and follow its recommendations to give your child the best chance of a healthy life."

Toxoplasmosis can be found in raw meat, cat faeces and soil where they have defecated and unpasteurised goat's milk.

If pregnant women contract the infection it can be passed to the unborn baby. It can cause miscarriage or damage the baby's brain or eyesight.

The Toxmoplasmosis Trust, recently taken over by Tommy's Campaign, advises women to:

  • Only eat meat which has been thoroughly cooked
  • Avoid raw meat, such as Parma ham
  • Wash hands, chopping boards and utensils after preparing raw meat
  • Wash all fruit, salads and vegetables thoroughly
  • Wear gloves while gardening. Wash hands and gloves afterwards
  • Change cat litter daily. Get someone else to do it or wear rubber gloves, and wash hands and gloves afterwards
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