Once pregnant, mom has to watch everything she consumes, put on her skin, and she even her hobbies. Knowing what to watch out for, especially in the first month of pregnancy, is the hard part. Lucky for you, you have come to the right place to learn about what foods you should avoid for the first four or so weeks of pregnancy.
Even if you’re not pregnant but plan on trying to conceive or even if you know someone who is pregnant, this is very useful information to have. Knowing what a woman can and can’t eat during the beginning when she first finds out that she is expecting is key to starting off the pregnancy well.
There are plenty of foods that are unsafe to eat, and some you may not even be aware of. Did you know that consuming certain food while there is a bun in the oven can sometimes lead to serious foodborne illnesses that can even cause infections in pregnant women? They may even be items that consume on a regular basis.
Congratulations on finding out that you will be bringing a new life into this world! Please continue reading to learn what foods you should avoid during your first month of pregnancy!
15 Pineapple, Papaya, And Licorice (Oh, My!)
According to Momjunction.com, there are certain foods that can actually cause a woman’s uterus to contract, which we know isn’t good for pregnant women unless it is close to or past their due date. (Although, women really should just listen to their own bodies for when it comes to trying to bring their baby into this world. Some moms eat these foods when they want to because they are sick of being pregnant, instead of listening to when their baby wants to be greeted.)
This could be cause for some major concern for women who are very early in their pregnancy, especially within the first month and even up until the end of the first trimester. Mom’s need to be very cautious with what they consume. It leads to the possibility of a miscarriage, or even giving birth prematurely, which can lead to a whole lot of problems for the baby.
It is best to avoid eating these contraction inducing foods which include raw papaya, and large amounts of pineapple and licorice. When a woman’s uterus contracts in early pregnancy, it leads to the possibility of a miscarriage. No mom wants to go through that, so it is best to be safe than sorry. There level to which the foods listed above become unsafe are unknown because every woman's body is different.
14 Bad News For Pate Lovers
If you happen to be a pate lover, this is going to be bad news for you. According to Sarah Schenker, a dietitian who contributed her knowledge by writing a post on Babycentre.co.uk, “All pate, whether it is made from meat, fish, or vegetables, may contain higher amounts of listeria bacteria than any other food.” And learning what you have so far from reading this, you know that listeria is found in many different foods. This is very important that you stop eating pate altogether from the first month until the ninth month of pregnancy. Even people who are healthy risk getting infected with listeriosis, which comes from the bacteria listeria.
As mentioned above, when it comes to listeria, pregnant women are actually 20 times more susceptible to contracting this bacteria than your average healthy adult living within the United States.
Listeria causes listeriosis and it can sometimes cause flu-like symptoms. The very tricky part that keeps listeriosis in disguise, so that you have no clue you have contracted it, is that these symptoms can appear anywhere from several days to several months after you have been exposed, according to Babycentre.co.uk. Your best bet as a soon-to-be mom is to avoid pate at all costs.
13 Always Order Steak 'Well Done'
There are many reasons to get that steak you just ordered cooked well done now that you are pregnant! Even if you are just thinking about having a baby you should be aware of this. Undercooked and raw meats, according to Healthline.com, can cause serious illness due to a variety of bacteria and parasites that may be found in them including toxoplasma, E. coli, listeria, and salmonella. Bacteria may threaten the health and well being of an unborn child or even in some cases it can cause a miscarriage in early pregnancy. It doesn’t end there either, because in later pregnancy it can even lead to stillbirth, blindness, neurological issues, epilepsy and so much more.
According to Healthline.com, “Cut meat, including meat patties, burgers, minced meat, pork, and poultry, should never be consumed raw or undercooked.”
In order to keep your unborn baby safe, it is best to never order rare or medium-rare meats.
Even when you are not pregnant, you are at risk of getting or contacting one of these viruses, bacterias, or infections from eating meat that has not been properly cooked. So, when it comes to pregnant women, they already have a weakened immune system, according to Sciencenews.org, so it would definitely be easier for them to contract these things than your average non-pregnant American.
12 Radishes, Clovers, And Beans
If you are unaware of what sprouts are they are things like radishes, clovers, alfalfas, and mung beans. They are typically eaten raw or lightly cooked. According to Sara Haas, a dietitian on Babycenter.com, the Food and Drug Administration states that raw sprouts are unsafe for consumption by pregnant women.They are only safe for consumption when they have been fully cooked all the way in things such as stir-fries and casseroles.
The reason behind this, according to Sara Haas, is because, “Bacteria – including Salmonella, Listeria, and E. coli – can get into the sprout seeds through cracks in the shell. And once inside in the seed, the bacteria continue to grow in the same warm, humid conditions that sprouts need to grow.”
Over the past 12 years, since 1996, according to Foodsafety.gov, there has been at least 30 different outbreaks – and keep in mind that outbreaks involve more than one person – of foodborne illness where the sprouts have been consumed raw or even lightly cooked. Most of these outbreaks were due to a salmonella or E. coli contamination of the sprouts.
If you think that even growing them in your own garden is considered much safer, think again. There is still the chance of them being contaminated. As we know, none of these bacterias are good for mom or her baby, so it is best to avoid them altogether or cook them thoroughly. They need to be cooked to at least a piping 165 degrees F.
11 Fruit Juice Might Sound Like A Good Idea...
Some women may wonder if it is safe to consume unpasteurized fruit juice during pregnancy. And according to Keli Hawthorne, a dietitian who contributed her knowledge to Thebump.com, that answer is no because “Unpasteurized fruit juice may contain harmful bacteria from the raw fruits and vegetables used to make the juice. These bacteria can cause food poisoning such as listeriosis or toxoplasmosis, which can be especially dangerous to during pregnancy." This sounds familiar from unpasteurized milk and dairy products, doesn’t it?
During pregnancy, it is very important to make sure that anything you get, as a soon-to-be mom, has gone through the pasteurization process. The difference between raw milk and raw fruits and vegetables is that the fruits contain not one, but two different types of bacteria, making it potentially even more dangerous to a pregnant woman. According to Keli Hawthorne, 98 percent of juice sold in the United States has gone through the pasteurization process before being sold in stores. This process requires heating the juice up to high temperatures to get rid of any potentially harmful bacteria.
Keli Hawthorne also states that if you would like to make homemade fruit juice you need to wash every single piece of fruit and vegetable you will be using - including the outside peel.
Make sure to stay safe because both types of bacteria are harmful, especially in early pregnancy and throughout the ninth month.
10 If It Has A Shell, Throw It Out
Shellfish consists of things like squid, calamari, crab, lobster, shrimp, oysters, mussels, clams, and scallops. Shellfish can cause several infections including the norovirus, salmonellosis, listeriosis, and it can even contain certain parasites. According to, Healthline.com, “Some of these infections only affect the mother, leaving her dehydrated and weak among other things. Other infections may be passed onto the unborn baby with serious, or even sometimes fatal, consequences. Healthline.com even state that when it comes to listeria, pregnant women are 20 times more susceptible to contracting this infection than the general population. Meaning that they have a higher chance of being exposed to this than your typical healthy average American.
With listeria, the mother does not even have to show any signs or symptoms of being infected because it can still transfer to an unborn baby via the placenta. What this means is that it can cause a miscarriage, especially for women who are early on in their pregnancy–usually before the twentieth week. It can even cause complications for women who are further along in their pregnancy as well. It is best that women who are expecting avoid shellfish from the time they find out they are pregnant, until the end of their pregnancy.
9 A Chip A Day Won't Keep The Doctor Away
We all know that processed junk foods, and yes including your favorite fast food chains, can make a rather easy and simple meal for those busy hectic days that all moms go through. But it really isn’t something that should be consumed on a regular basis, especially not by pregnant women or women planning on becoming pregnant.
According to Thehealthsite.com, there are four main reasons that processed foods should be avoided during pregnancy.
Reason number one is because they may contain bacteria that could potentially be harmful to pregnant women, especially during early pregnancy. Reason two is because they can lead to severe constipation issues, which no one likes to deal with. Sometimes pregnant women do have to deal with constipation and they don’t need to add any more reasons to become backed up. Reason number three is because it could lead to some serious extra pounds. Pregnant women only need to consume an extra 300 calories a day. Processed junk food is filled with empty calories. And last but not least, reason number four is because processed food may actually alter DNA.
When it comes to number four, according to Thehealthsite.com, Genetically-modified food refers to food that has been created in a laboratory by making changes in the DNA of the food.” They also claim that long-term effects of these foods are not yet known, which is why processed foods are best to be avoided by pregnant women.
8 Caffeine Isn't Only Found In Coffee...
I don’t know about you, but I go crazy for my morning cup of coffee. I feel like I cannot function until I have it. But if you are reading this, you are most likely pregnant, trying to get pregnant, or looking up information for a friend. It is not fully understood what that exact and total effects are of drinking or consuming too much caffeine are for a pregnant woman and her growing and developing fetus. What we do know, is that whatever the soon-to-be mom consumes gets passed on to her unborn child.
Until we know results and conclusions about the effects of caffeine on a pregnant woman, it is highly recommended to limit your caffeine intake to just 200 mg of-of morning goodness each day. 200 mg is equivalent to about one and a half 8-ounce cups of coffee or one 12-ounce cup of coffee each day, according to the Marchofdimes.org.
Caffeine is not just found in coffee, however. It is also found in certain soft drinks, chocolate, energy drinks, hot and iced teas, and even in certain types of gums such as Alert – which I happen to personally love. So, to be on the safe side, from your first month of pregnancy on out it is best to limit how much caffeine you put into your body.
7 Don't Drink It Straight From The Cow
Some people love milk straight from the cow. But did you know that is not really the best thing to do, especially when you are pregnant? It’s the same with cheese that is made with unpasteurized milk. That is because they are at a very high risk for containing listeria. When dairy goes through the pasteurization process, it is heated to very high temperatures in order to get rid of the harmful germs and bacteria that reside within it. Dairy is very important during pregnancy because it is calcium rich. And as we learned in primary school, milk helps our bones become strong. So, passing that calcium on to a developing fetus, even within the first month of pregnancy, is very important.
According to Sara Riordan, a genetic counselor who wrote an article on Thebump.com, “The Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) all recommend that pregnant women not eat foods that are made with unpasteurized milk.” Most states within the United States already have restrictions on unpasteurized dairy products being sold by suppliers. There are some states that do still allow the sale of these products in stores. However, they do come with an appropriate warning label and warning for consumers.
6 An Eggy Situation
If you are the type to eat the homemade cookie dough during the holidays or birthdays before you even get to put the cookies on the tray and into the oven, then this is going to be bad news for you.
Eating raw or undercooked eggs such as lightly scrambled, poached, certain cake batters, icings, and even Hollandaise sauces, among other things, have the potential to be contaminated with salmonella which can lead to something called salmonellosis.
“Salmonellosis is a kind of food poisoning,” according to Marchofdimes.org, “there are 40,000 new cases of salmonellosis each year in the United States.” They also say that you can contract this type of food poisoning during pregnancy, and it can cause serious and even life-threatening problems for a mom and her unborn baby. But according to Healthline.com, “Most commercial products that contain raw eggs are usually pasteurized eggs, and are safe to consume even while pregnant.” So make sure that you always check the ingredients when buying certain raw egg-containing products to make sure they are pasteurized if your late night cookie dough cravings become too strong.
Most packages will come with a warning letting consumers know that it does actually contain raw eggs. This will make it easier for soon-to-be moms to shop.
5 Fish Should Stay In The Sea
Eating fish during pregnancy can have many health benefits for a mom as well as her unborn baby. It contains two different types of omega-3 fatty acids–in the form of DHA and EPA (And no, not the Environmental Protection Agency.)– These fatty acids have been known to help with brain function and development for an unborn baby. There are certain fish that are known to contain high levels of mercury.
According to Healthline.com, “Mercury is a highly toxic element. There is no known safe level of exposure, and is most commonly found in polluted water.” In higher doses of this element, it can become very toxic to the kidney’s, nervous system, and even the immune system. Since pregnant women already have a lowered immune system, according to Sciencenews.org, they should not be consuming anything that may lower their already weakened immune system.
Some of the fish that have been known to contain higher amounts of mercury are sharks, swordfish, tuna, and king mackerel. These fish are commonly found in seas that have been known to be highly polluted. Then again, when you really think about, what isn’t polluted these days? So, soon-to-be moms should really be on the safe side and avoid fish containing any mercury within the first month of pregnancy.
4 Keep Hot Dogs Off The Menu
So, are a fan of those chain fast food restaurants that sell all of those subs and salads? If so this could actually bring you to tears, because I know I am definitely a fan! You know where I am talking about, right? When it comes to deli meats and hot dogs, they can make a very quick, easy and simple meal for busy moms. Even more so if she has other children to feed to and it’s been a hectic day. This includes cold cuts that you can buy to make sandwiches or subs at home. It may be okay for everyone else to eat, but when pregnant women it is best to avoid it–especially during early pregnancy when it is rather fragile.
According to Thebump.com, these kinds of meats could contain listeria which can lead to a serious infection called listeriosis which causes serious illnesses in about 2,500 Americans every year.
Also, according to Thebump.com, “The Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that pregnant women, who make up 30 percent of those listeriosis cases, are about 20 times more likely to contract the disease than healthy non-pregnant women.” It could lead to a miscarriage in early pregnancy.
3 Always Wash Your Veggies
Fruits and vegetables are an essential part of eating healthy during a pregnancy. But if you are like some soon-to-be moms, you may not always wash your fruit and veggies before popping them into your mouth. There are two reasons that this isn’t a good idea. One being, if you are not buying organic, there are usually pesticides sprayed on them to help protect them. And reason number two is because they have the potential to be contaminated with a parasite that can turn into something called toxoplasmosis within the body.
When it comes to pesticides, according to Drgourmet.com, unborn babies may be more susceptible to them compared to mom or any other adult, especially at critical times of development. Drgourmet.com, also states that “An [unborn] baby’s immature body is less able to detoxify substances than adults.” They compare it to a pregnant woman drinking alcohol, which we know is not good during pregnancy and that it is also unsafe. Some pesticides may interfere with the absorption of nutrients, which a growing and developing fetus needs–especially during pregnancy.
When it comes to toxoplasmosis, According to Thebump.com, “1 in 10 babies have severe symptoms like eye infections, or an enlarged liver or spleen, jaundice or pneumonia. Some babies may [pass away] a few days after birth.” That is a scary thought. So, from the moment you find out you are pregnant or even begin trying to conceive make sure to wash your fruits and vegetables.
2 It's Never Time For Sushi
This could be potentially bad news for any sushi lovers because this is–once again–something that is on the no-no list. But sushi is not necessarily safe during pregnancy, and neither is fish that has been frozen. The kind where you can go to your local grocery store and pull out of their freeze, including frozen shrimp that you just need to thaw. In order to enjoy this delicacy while pregnant, a mom needs to make sure that it is either made with nothing but vegetables or fish that has been cooked to a certain temperature. According to Babycenter.com, “Both the Center for Disease Control and the Food and Drug Administration recommend that pregnant women only eat fish and shellfish that has been cooked at 145 degrees F.”
When eating sushi out somewhere, it is difficult to tell what has been done do it and how it was prepared, which can make this very unsafe for pregnant women because raw fish can carry many different types of parasites, bacteria, viruses and other things that are unsafe and unhealthy. It is best to avoid this in the first month of pregnancy until the day your baby girl or boy is born. After that day comes, feel free to enjoy your beloved sushi some more.
1 Organ Meats
Organ meat is something that is an acquired taste for some people, including some pregnant women. It’s one of those meals that you either love or hate. Personally, I am not too fond of it. Although I have to admit, I have never tried it. Some people like the taste and texture while others dread it. However, it can actually be very beneficial for expectant moms to consume these types of animal organs–as long as they are cooked well and properly. The only exception is that they must be eaten in moderation. Organ meats contain essential nutrients that can benefit both mom and her unborn baby.
Where the problem lies, according to Healthline.com is, “Eating too much animal-based vitamin A (performed A) is not recommended during pregnancy. According to Babycenter.com, “The average American diet provides plenty of vitamin A.” This means that you have to be careful about what you consume that has performed vitamin A in it. It can be found in eggs, meat, fish, dairy, and much more. Going overboard with this vitamin can cause abnormally high copper levels as well as liver toxicity. None of which are good for an unborn baby. This is lead to pregnancy complication, even within the first month of pregnancy, and birth defects further down the road.
References: Healthline.com, Babycenter.com, Sciencenews.org, Momjunction.com, Thehealthsite.com, Babycenter.com, Thebump.com, Marchofdimes.org, Babycenter.com, Babycentre.co.uk, Marchofdimes.org, Babycenter.com, Foodsafety.gov, Drgourmet.com, Thebump.com, Babycenter.com, Babycenter.com