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Partying while pregnant

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With a week to go before Christmas day, figuring out what to wear, eat and drink if you are pregnant can be tricky.

Louisa Currie of online maternity and baby store, Belly Beyond, says that the "what to wear dilemma" is just one part of navigating the Christmas season.

"There is also picking through the minefields of the buffet table, avoiding falling asleep in your dessert and keeping serene while well-meaning colleagues tell you their birth stories!" she says.

So... what to wear?

Perhaps the most important aspect of what to wear when you are pregnant is being comfortable.

Currie says that whether knee- length or full-length lines, choose something that will flatter your baby bump.

"I would suggest choosing an outfit that makes the most of your new-found cleavage and if you're having a fat-day  (we all have them) then stick to classic flattering black and add accessories for some extra sparkle," she says.

While there is no set rule when it comes to heels when pregnant, Wellington podiatrist Dr Tim Halpine says that wearing heels for a short time is unlikely to cause any permanent damage.

"I would suggest women opt for wedge heels if they are wearing high heel shoes for a long period. These offer a lot more support for the foot than stilettos," he explains.

While wedges are in at the moment, if you aren't too steady on your feet consider a pretty pair of pumps instead.

What to eat?

This is often a tricky one when you are pregnant, especially when it comes for work functions, dinners out, or Christmas day at family.

"In extreme cases, bugs found in food can cause miscarriage, still- or premature birth, and serious illness or even death to newborn babies," says Sarah Hanrahan a dietician at the New Zealand Nutrition Foundation.

Here are some of the foods the New Zealand Nutrition Foundation suggests pregnant women should avoid.

  • Chilled ready-to-eat foods such as those bought from a supermarket deli or restaurant buffet unless they are heated until piping hot.
  • Prepared ready-to-eat foods such as store-bought sandwiches where you can't be certain of product age, storage conditions, or the preparer's food handling practices.
  • Soft and semi-soft pasteurised cheese eg, brie, camembert, feta, blue, mozzarella, ricotta.
  • Raw milk (unpasteurised), raw milk cheeses and raw milk yoghurts.
  • Cold cooked or smoked chicken.
  • Processed meats such as ham, pâté, salami or luncheon.
  • Prepared salads including rice or pasta salad, coleslaw, roasted vegetable and green salads.
  • Raw or smoked seafood including sushi, smoked salmon, marinated mussels, or oysters.
  • Raw eggs eg, in smoothies, mayonnaise or desserts like mousse.
  • Soft serve ice cream.
  • Cream or custard especially in pre-made cakes or pastries (unless newly opened or home-made and fresh).
  • Hummus and other dips containing tahini (which has been linked to both Salmonella and Listeria infection).

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While this is a long list of foods you shouldn't eat, the good news is that by taking some basic food safety steps you can prevent most foodborne illness.

Here are some tips on food that you can eat from the Ministry of Primary Industries:

  • Breads all types are ok to eat.
  • Cakes, slices, muffins etc plain are ok to eat.
  • Cooked meats cook thoroughly until steaming hot throughout, and until juices run clear; eat while hot; never eat rare or undercooked meats; don't eat cold leftovers.
  • Smoked fish and seafood don't eat unless heated until steaming hot
  • Cooked fish and seafood cook thoroughly until steaming hot throughout; eat while hot.
  • Fruit wash and dry well just before eating.
  • Vegetables wash and dry well just before eating raw, or wash before cooking.
  • Salads wash and dry salad ingredients well just before making and eating salads
  • Stuffing don't eat unless stuffing is cooked separately (in a dish); eat hot; store uneaten leftovers in fridge and eat hot within two days.

Alcohol is a no-go if you are expecting. According to research commissioned by the Alcohol Advisory Council (ALAC) and carried out by the university of Otago shows that only 40 per cent women believed they should abstain altogether from drinking during pregnancy.

Research has shown that the harms that resulted from pre-natal exposure to alcohol range from mild intellectual and behavioural issues to profound disabilities.

While a bit of bubbly may seem "harmless enough" both ALAC and the Ministry of Health recommend abstinence from alcohol by pregnant women or those planning to get pregnant.

- Essential Mums

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