Meghan Markle's Pregnancy May Mean She Has To Avoid Some Of Her Favorite Foods For The Next Few Months
There’s nothing like waking up in the wee hours of the morning to the news that a member of the Royal Family is expecting, is there? That’s what happened bright and early on Monday, when Kensington Palace announced that Meghan Markle and Prince Harry has a baby on the way. Since she’s well known for her foodie nature, some are speculating about whether Markle might avoid eating her favorite foods while pregnant; it’s not uncommon for people to adjust what they eat when they’ve got a baby on the way, so whether or not the Duchess of Sussex will is a matter of interest to many.
First things first: Whatever someone chooses to eat or not eat is totally up to them, whether or not they’re literal royalty, and whether or not they’re pregnant. But it’s true that there are plenty of science-backed food recommendations out there for pregnant people; they’re geared towards helping fetuses and babies get the nutrition they need as they grow, as well as guarding them from bacteria, infections, and other concerns that can hinder or harm development. That doesn’t mean you have to eat certain things while you’re pregnant, or that you can never eat other things; they can just be useful guidelines to follow, and many find them helpful.
So: What might Meghan Markle steer clear from during her pregnancy? Possibly these items, based on what we know about her favorite foods:
1. Fish Tacos
Markle has frequently spoken about her love of fish tacos; she attributes it to being “a California girl.” Depending on what kind of fish used to make said tacos, however, they might be off the menu for the time being. Seafood that’s high in mercury isn’t recommended for pregnant people; according to the Mayo Clinic, regularly eating these kinds of fish can cause mercury to “accumulate in your bloodstream over time,” which can then negatively impact the development of a baby’s brain and nervous system.
Not all fish is bad during pregnancy, though! Indeed, fish that are low in mercury and high in omega-3 fatty acids can be beneficial for a fetus and baby’s development.
It’s no secret that Markle is fond of red wine; her very favorite is Tiganello, a Super-Tuscan wine made from a blend of Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Cabernet Franc grapes. (As you probably know by now, her defunct lifestyle website, The Tig, was named for Tiganello.) She’s also mentioned that she enjoys a nice rosé at lunch when it’s warm out.
But although the recommendations regarding pregnancy and alcohol tend to fluctuate — according to some studies and guidelines, a glass or two of wine here and there is probably fine, while other stick to a hard and fast, no-booze-at-all rule — we do know that fetal alcohol syndrome is a thing, and that the developmental delays that can arise from it are real. As such, Markle may very well choose to abstain during her pregnancy.
Although Markle told The New Potato in 2013 that she enjoyed a negroni “to cap off the night,” this cocktail may be off the menu for the next few months for the same reason as wine. Ditto for scotch (neat, of course), which she also noted was a favorite.
4. Goat and Feta Cheeses
In 2012, Markle noted to TODAY that watermelon “diced up with feta and mint and tossed with a little olive oil” was one of her favorite foods; then, in 2013, she included goat cheese on baguette as an element of her perfect lunch when discussing her ideal food day with The New Potato.
However, soft cheeses like goat and feta typically fall in the “raw milk and dairy products made from unpasteurized milk” category, which it’s recommended that pregnant people avoid. These foods can carry the bacteria listeria, which can in turn cause the infection listeriosis — something which pregnant people are at higher risk of developing, and which can result in miscarriage, stillbirth, and preterm labor, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
It’s worth noting that soft cheeses made from pasteurized milk are usually fine; however, the National Health Service also states that soft cheeses are “less acidic than hard cheeses and … contain more water,” which create “an ideal environment for harmful bacteria … to grow in” — so it’s still often recommended that pregnant people err on the side of caution.
One of Markle’s favorite restaurants in LA is Sushi Park, according to an interview published by Eye Swoon in 2017; in that same interview, she also noted that one of the effects growing up in Southern California has had on her favorite foods is that she developed a taste for “acai bowls, green juices, chopped salads, perfect sushi, grilled fish tacos,” and other such options made with fresh and simple ingredients.
Alas, though, raw and undercooked fish is one of the things that pregnant people are usually advised to avoid. As The Bump notes, both the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) caution against foods like sushi because uncooked fish have a higher risk of containing parasites and bacteria. The danger for pregnant people is twofold: First, pregnancy tends to weaken the immune system, making pregnant people more at risk of infection; and second, these parasites, bacteria, and infections can harm developing fetuses and babies.
6. Hot Sauce
Markle noted on The Tig in 2016 that she thought everything tasted better with hot sauce, according to Town and Country. And, to be fair, it’s not that you can’t have spicy food when you’re pregnant; there’s no truth to the rumors that eating them can harm a developing fetus or baby, cause contractions, or trigger preterm labor, Jennifer Jordan of Aeroflow Healthcare told Romper in January. Indeed, there’s even some evidence that what you eat while pregnant might actually shape your baby’s food preferences later on down the line. (So, if you load up on the Cholula while pregnant, your kid may end up loving hot sauce as they get older.)
There is, however, one issue: Heartburn. Pregnant people tend to be more prone to it — and spicy food can aggravate it, meaning you might end up feeling kind of uncomfortable after eating something hot. All the changes to how your body works when you’re pregnant can already make the experience pretty uncomfortable, so avoiding spicy food might be a simple way to cut down on your level of discomfort.
7. Green Juice
Green juice is Markle’s favorite “fast food” — as she put it to The Chalkboard in 2015, “That’s fast. And it’s food” — but it can be an issue for pregnant people for the same reason that soft cheeses can: It often includes unpasteurized ingredients. Accordingly, she may choose to avoid it while she’s pregnant.
As long as your juice is made with pasteurized ingredients, however, green juice is actually fine. What’s more, the things that make a green juice green can actually be quite beneficial during pregnancy: Spinach and kale are both packed with nutrients that are essential to the growth and development of fetuses and babies. Just, y’know, food for thought — literally. (Sorry not sorry.)
Again, though: Whether Markle alters what she eats while she’s pregnant or not is ultimately up to her. Either way, the world is looking forward to meeting the newest Royal Baby in the spring. Congrats, Meghan and Harry!