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Pregnancy Clinic

Pregnancy Life

Eating out when you're expecting

Grabbing some time together as a couple during pregnancy is a great way of keeping the intimacy going – and it makes the most of the quiet time before the baby arrives. However, dining out can be a tricky negotiation if you are pregnant. Even if you usually have a sturdy constitution, you can find that food is more likely to make you feel sick now than before, and that spicy or fatty foods you usually love give you heartburn.

Eating out – what to look for

If you decide to eat out when you are expecting, make sure you don’t choose anywhere you won’t be able to sit down comfortably in – your back will need good support so pass up the offer of an over-designed stool and ask for a good old fashioned wooden chair.

Also, while a popular place can have a real buzz about it, you might have to queue longer for a table and you’ll find it’s much more hot and hectic than you can bear; during pregnancy the extra blood running round your body causes your regular body temperature to rise, which is why hot places will make you feel more uncomfortable than usual.

And remember, your baby is more important than polite acceptance. If a steak comes to the table rare or a sauce tastes a bit off, just send it back.

Best restaurant options

Of course you will probably have your favourite places you go to again and again, but if you’re feeling adventurous, here are a few points to bear in mind:

•  Eastern and oriental

Ask if monosodium glutamate has been used to prepare any of the dishes. Increasing numbers of Chinese restaurants do not use this ingredient, which is good news for pregnant women prone to indigestion. Also bear in mind that soy sauce is high in sodium, and that rice should be freshly prepared to avoid food poisoning. If in doubt, opt for noodles. If eating Japanese food, avoid raw fish and with other spicy Thai or Indian dishes, try to go for something milder for a change.

•  Mediterranean

Going for the small dishes you might get with tapas, antipasto or meze can be a great option when you’re pregnant and your appetite is small. Try to avoid things like cured meats, or unpasteurised cheese, but otherwise enjoy the delicious salads and vegetables on offer. If eating Italian, it might be preferable to avoid rich, creamy sauces as these are more likely to upset your stomach.

•  European and Modern British

Avoid pates and undercooked meats, and bear in mind that offal dishes with liver or kidney could contain risky levels of vitamin A, which is best avoided in pregnancy.

•  Bar snacks and fast food

A good, well cooked burger in a diner is going to be a great treat, but try to avoid having the kinds of fast food which are high in fat and salt too regularly. Also, you will find that you can’t eat the same portion sizes you normally might, so getting a few tasty sharing dishes might be a better idea.

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