10 Harmful Foods to Avoid During Pregnancy

Good nutrition and a balanced diet are always important to maintain a healthy body. When you become pregnant, it becomes especially important that you eat right and get all the nutrients you can from the foods you eat. In fact, when you know you are trying to become pregnant is a good time to start if you haven’t been eating healthy up until then.

Pretty much everything that goes into your mouth ends up in your baby’s system. Although many things may not cause you harm, they can cause harm to your growing fetus. There are many other things that can harm your unborn child and many of them happen to be in foods that normally wouldn’t cause concern.

A little bit of meat that isn’t fully cooked may be nothing to you, but for your baby, it could cause serious harm. Here are some foods that you should stay away from to help ensure the health of your baby:

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12 Deli Meat

Deli meat often is contaminated with listeria, which can cross through the placenta and infect your baby and cause miscarriage. Listeria monocytogenes is a bacteria that is present in uncooked meats and vegetables. If you heat the meat until it is steaming it will be safe to eat.

This includes foods such as hot dogs, cold cuts, luncheon meats, dry sausage and deli-style poultry and meats.

11 Unpasteurized Products

Do not eat or drink any unpasteurized milk products as they can contain E.coli, Salmonella, Campylobacter, and Listeria.

This includes cheeses such as feta, blue-veined cheeses such as Roquefort and Blue, Brie, Camembert, goat cheese, and many Mexican-style cheese such as queso fresco. If you check the label and it states that the milk was pasteurized, it should be okay, or you can heat the cheese until it bubbles. It is simply better to stick to hard cheeses like cheddar and Swiss.

Also, steer clear of unpasteurized juices like fresh squeezed orange or apple juice, the kind you might get at a farmer’s market or juice stand. If you get juice from a health-food store that has been treated with UV irradiation to kill bacteria, it is probably okay.

10 Too Much Caffeine

We all love our cup o’ Joe to get us started in the morning, but now that you’re pregnant you should watch the amount of caffeine you take in each day. There has been some evidence of having more than 200 mg of caffeine can lead to miscarriage. Doctors state that a couple cups of coffee each day are fine but keep the limit under 200 mg a day. An average 8-ounce cup of coffee has around 95 mg, tea around 47 mg, and a 12-ounce can of cola around 33 mg.

Be on the lookout for sneaky caffeine that you may not think about otherwise. Cola and tea contain caffeine and a can of Mountain Dew contains a whopping 40 mg.

9 Don’t Drink Alcohol

It is now considered that no amount of alcohol is safe to drink while you are pregnant. Too much alcohol can cause fetal alcohol syndrome that results in heart defects, mental retardation, and facial deformities.

The alcohol that you drink passes to your fetus and they don’t have a functioning liver to filter it out. The alcohol keeps developing cells from getting the oxygen they need, so why risk it? If you want to celebrate, go with sparkling cider or another kind of sparkling beverage to toast with.

8 Fish Containing Mercury

Fish is a wonderful source of protein at any time, however, there are some kinds of fish that contain high levels of mercury and should be avoided. Basically, the bigger the fish, the more mercury it will have in its flesh. Mercury is known to cause birth defects, brain damage and developmental delays.

The types of fish to avoid are swordfish, shark, tilefish (white or golden snapper), king mackerel and albacore tuna. If you absolutely much have albacore, limit it to 6 ounces a week. Canned light tuna is known to contain less mercury than albacore and is deemed safe to eat in moderation. It is recommended that you can eat up to 12 ounces of fish each week. Fish considered safe are salmon, Pollock, catfish and shrimp, trout and anchovies.

7 Raw or Undercooked Fish or Shellfish

Sorry, if you’re a fan of sushi, it’s going to be off limits while you are pregnant. Raw fish is known to carry bacteria and parasites and they can do serious harm to your unborn baby.

This category includes sushi, oysters, raw clams, mussels, smoked, refrigerated sea food such as lox, kippered, nova style or jerky can contain listeria. Shelf-safe, canned smoked fish is okay. Refrigerated sea food products are also okay if they have been cooked into something like a casserole.

6 Unwashed Fresh Produce

Fresh fruits and vegetables are wonderful sources of vitamins and minerals when you are or aren’t pregnant. Whether the produce you bought says it’s been washed or not, wash it before handling and eating. Even if it is bagged salad; throw it in a colander and wash and dry it. Do the same for all fruits and vegetables. Even if you don’t plan to eat the skin, as with oranges or avocados, wash the outside. Otherwise, when you cut it, you drag whatever germs are on the outside to the inside. Unwashed produce can contain toxoplasmosis, E. coli, and Salmonella.

It is suggested by experts that you avoid eating all types of raw sprouts – clover, radish, alfalfa and mung bean etc. Bacteria can often hide in the seeds and it is not possible to get them out by rinsing.

5 Raw Egg

Although it is tempting to lick the cake batter bowl or grab a pinch of raw cookie dough, this is when you need to swear off it. Raw eggs can contain Salmonella, which will not only make you sick, but it will harm your baby as well. Homemade sauces such as Caesar dressing, mayonnaise, Hollandaise sauce, custard, egg nog or ice cream may contain raw egg so be aware. Commercial and restaurant versions of these foods should be okay as they are required to use pasteurized eggs.

For the time being you should start enjoying your eggs scrambled rather than sunny-side up. Be sure your eggs are fully cooked and not runny.


3 Be Careful of Fish Exposed to Pollutants

If there are fishers among you who love to go fishing and bring home dinner, you need to be aware of where the fish has been caught and determine whether it is actually safe to eat. You can contact the Environmental Protection Agency or your local health department to learn about any alerts for local waterways where fish may be exposed to pollutants.

The kind of fish to think about are caught in local streams and lakes and include pike, trout, walleye, bluefish and striped bass. Fish bought at your grocery store, unless locally caught, are okay.

2 Herbal Tea and Supplements

You may love your caffeine-free herbal tea, but check with your doctor before continuing to drink it while you are pregnant. There are no reliable studies regarding the safety of herbal teas and/or supplements in pregnant women. While it’s probably okay to drink store-bought herbal tea, don’t go overboard.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate or monitor the quality of dietary supplements.

Most herbs are considered safe for pregnancy and some swear by their natural ability to soothe an upset tummy. However, some herbs can do things like raise blood pressure and it is best that you not take any kind of medication, herb or supplement without first consulting your doctor.


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