Foods to Avoid During Pregnancy


Foods to Avoid During Pregnancy

As always, please consult with your doctor and follow his/her directions regarding your pregnancy. This article is not meant to give medical advice.

Almost every woman knows the basics of what she should and should not do during pregnancy. Caffeine should be cut back as well as stopping smoking and drinking alcohol, and hot tubs are off limits. However more and more studies are being done to see if pregnant women should avoid certain foods for the duration of their pregnancy.

It is essential that pregnant women eat a well-balanced meal at all times to provide their growing baby with vitamins, nutrients and minerals that the baby needs to grow. There are some foods, however, that need to be avoided or completely eliminated due to the risk they pose, not just to the mother, but also to the growing baby.

For starters, raw meat needs to be eliminated due to the risk of toxoplasmosis and salmonella. This means no more rare steaks or rare burgers. Pregnant women should take caution and make sure that all of the meat ingested is cooked well-done. Cold deli meat should also be avoided because of the risk of listeria. Listeria can cross the placenta and can cause an infection or blood poisoning to the baby. Deli meat may be heated until it is steaming; this will help reduce the risk.

Speaking of listeria, there are other foods that can contain this bacteria. Some soft cheeses, such as brie, feta, and Gorgonzola are a few of the cheeses to be avoided. These cheeses may be made with unpasteurized milk. Unpasteurized milk often contains listeria, so pregnant women need to make sure that any soft cheeses they are going to eat are made with pasteurized milk.

Fish has always been a subject of debate for pregnant women. While some forms of fish contain essential nutrients that are needed by the baby, others contain a high level of mercury. Any fish with a high level of mercury, such as shark, swordfish, king mackerel, tile fish and fish used in sushi, should be avoided throughout pregnancy.

Studies have linked mercury to developmental delays, and in some cases brain damage. Tuna also contains a lot of mercury, but canned, chunk light tuna has a lower amount of mercury and can be eaten in moderation. Raw shellfish also should be avoided throughout pregnancy.

Raw eggs, or anything containing raw eggs, is another one of the foods to avoid during pregnancy. There is a potential exposure to salmonella. This means no raw cookie dough, no brownie mix, and some homemade sauces, such as hollandaise, Caesar dressing and blue cheese dressing.

When dining in a restaurant, it would be wise to ask if any sauces or dressings contain raw eggs. Most restaurants should be using pasteurized eggs in raw egg recipes, but one should still double check.

It is more important than ever for a pregnant woman to take precautions with her food choices. If you are pregnant, take extra care to avoid the aforementioned unsafe foods until after the birth of your baby.

Knowing which foods to avoid during pregnancy can help you go through your pregnancy with ease, comfort and better health.

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