Food is a big deal to pregnant women. That's not just because they end up with big cravings when they have a baby on board. The mom isn't just eating for two — she needs to be careful to eat the most nutritious foods as possible so that she can provide her baby with the very best chance at a healthy life.
At their very first prenatal appointment, moms are given a long exhausting list of things that aren't safe to consume while pregnant, but our list goes way past deli meats, sushi, and soft cheeses. There are a number of things that moms might think are the healthiest food trend around only to learn that there could be even more issues that can come about. For example, vegans need to take special considerations. And there are some specific fruits and vegetables that have their risks. Sometimes the dangers can be surprising, and they will make moms think twice during their meal planning.
There can be dangers lurking in every place where food is sold or served — from the farm to the grocery store to the family barbecue and even the fanciest restaurants. Moms have to know a lot about their choices to be sure to make the healthiest decisions for the little one's safety, and this guide might help. Here are 20 foods no unborn baby can stand.
20 Unpasteurized Milk
Lots of people think that the best, most nutritious food is straight from the farm. We love that people are going to farmer's markets and choosing even fresher and yummier options while supporting local farmers. But they should skip the straight-from-the-farm milk while they are pregnant because the baby can't stand it.
Store-bought milk goes through a pasteurization process that kills harmful bacteria before it makes it to your fridge. But that is not the case for milk sold locally. It's usually safe for people who have healthy immune systems, but pregnant women are more likely to get sick and that is bad for the baby.
19 Summer Barbecue Dangers
Going to an outdoor barbecue is really popular in the summertime, but pregnant women have to be careful about the smorgasbord that is available at the event. There are concerns about the meat getting contaminated, and moms need to be very careful to make sure that their choice, whether it is chicken or sausage, is very well cooked so that any germs are long-gone.
Moms also need to keep in mind that many times foods are left out in the heat during a barbecue. That means the potential for anything with mayonnaise to go bad. They need to be careful before consuming the potato salad, coleslaw and anything else left out for too long.
18 Rare Steak
A good steak can be really tempting for moms-to-be. There are times when they crave meat and might want a treat, but moms can't consume any meat that is rare while they are pregnant, as it's not safe for the baby.
Even if a mom prefers a steak tartare before pregnancy, her body is more vulnerable to any potential germs or parasites when a baby is on board. That means that the meat needs to be cooked at least to medium well to be considered safe. This applies to hamburgers as well, so skip any meat that is prepared rare until after the birth.
17 Trans Fats Truths
Moms might think that they should avoid all fats in pregnancy, but the truth is that most fats are healthy for the baby and help with brain development, especially omega-3 fatty acids. They can also prevent preterm birth. There is one kind that moms need to avoid, and that is a group knows as trans fats.
Trans fats are used in some packaged foods like cookies and chips to make them last longer in the package, so moms should be sure to read labels. It can also be found in fried foods and some kinds of margarine. According to Baby Center, trans fats have been linked to high cholesterol as well as cancer and diabetes, so moms should try to avoid them.
16 Tea Tips
Lots of moms-to-be need to relieve stress during pregnancy, and drinking tea can be helpful with that. But moms need to be careful with their consumption because babies can't stand some versions. This does include consideration of the caffeine, as doctors recommend that women limit their intake during pregnancy, but that isn't all.
According to Belly Belly, ginger tea and raspberry leaf tea have some benefits during pregnancy, but there are other herbal options that can be risky. Moms should avoid anything with St. John's Wort, ginseng, yarrow, and licorice root, and they shouldn't drink green tea either because it can reduce folate absorption, which could lead to birth defects.
15 Liver And Onions
One of the healthiest pieces of meat to eat is the liver. Eating the organ means that people get even more vitamins and minerals, so it might be tempting to whip up some liver and onions for a mom-t0-be whose a little anemic. But doctors warn moms about eating organs too much during pregnancy.
Cow's liver has three times the maximum daily allowance of vitamin A, and that could actually cause birth defects in the first trimester. According to Baby Center, it's best to wait until after the first trimester because of the risk to the baby, and it might be a good idea to take liver and onions off of the menu entirely.
14 Vegan Concerns
A growing number of people choose to go vegan these days. Of course, it's really healthy to eat a lot of fruits and vegetables, but there are some concerns that people have to be sure to eat other things to make sure that they have the nutrition that they need when they lay off the meat. That's especially true during pregnancy.
According to What To Expect, vegetarians and vegans need to be mindful about their intake of protein, calcium, iron, vitamin B12, and vitamin D. There are plenty of sources of those vitamins from tofu to oatmeal and quinoa. Every mom should take prenatal vitamins, but they might want to consider supplementing with others as well.
13 Licorice Is A No
Many moms crave sweets and candy during pregnancy, and as long as they don't have gestational diabetes, that can be okay. But moms should skip the Twizzlers or Red Vines, as research has shown that eating licorice can have an impact on the baby.
According to Live Science, a 2017 study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology said that babies born to mothers who ate a lot of licorice—specifically the black kind—had lower IQs than the ones whose moms didn't eat it. Little girls also reached puberty earlier, and the children were at greater risk for ADHD. That's enough for moms to put the candy down.
12 A Point About Pineapple
Pineapple is a sweet and tangy tropical fruit, and it's great for summer treats. But there are some concerns for pregnant women. According to an old wives' tale, people eat pineapple at the end of pregnancy to try to spur contractions, which has led some to worry that eating it too early in the pregnancy.
According to Healthline, the concern about pineapple causing miscarriage is a myth. While pineapple contains bromelain, which can break down proteins in the body, there isn't enough in one serving to cause any concerns. Moms who crave pineapple might want to be sure that they consume in moderation, but otherwise, it's probably okay.
11 Eggs Over Easy Are Not So Easy
Eggs can be a delicious source of protein during pregnancy, but moms-to-be need to be careful about how they cook their eggs. Just like meats, it's not okay to undercook eggs, even if moms love to have their eggs over easy. They just need to get the yolk fully cooked.
Eggs can get contaminated with salmonella pretty easily, so it's a much better idea to go ahead and scramble those eggs with some cheese or something. There are no runny yolks for pregnant women, and they can forget pulling a Rocky. Be careful when baking with eggs too — it's not worth getting sick for a taste of the dough.
10 Papaya Problem
It's a very healthy decision to add fruit to your meal choices and snacks, and a lot of people are stretching their nutritional intake by trying a greater variety from the grocery store. That's great, and there are a lot of benefits to trying the tropical fruit papaya. But it can be unhealthy for unborn babies.
Ripe papaya can be a good source of fiber, folate, potassium, and vitamins A, B, and C, but if it isn't ripe, it can be a source of latex and papain. That can trigger uterine contractions long before the due date, and it could trigger an allergic reaction, according to Healthline. Papayas aren't ripe if the skin is green, but it can be hard to tell, so moms might want to skip the fruit altogether.
9 Fresh-Squeezed Juice
Dads-to-be might want to pamper an expecting mother by making breakfast in bed, but we want to warn him to skip the fresh-squeezed juice. It's something that the baby might not be able to stand, and it could end up making the mom get ill and pass that along to the unborn baby.
Store-bought juices are pasteurized and the germs are demolished, but fresh fruits and vegetables can harbor bacteria that can be very dangerous and could get the mom and baby sick. It is possible to be a juicer during pregnancy, but it's important to go through some extra steps to make sure that the drink is safe.
8 Leave The Caesar Salads For Caesar
Salads seem like the healthiest thing that a person could eat during pregnancy, but women should be careful about Caesar salads. That's because the dressing is made with eggs that are lightly cooked. We've already talked a bit about the dangers of that.
Salmonella can be an issue if moms eat Caesar dressing from a restaurant, but the truth is that a lot of commercially made dressings are made with cooked or pasteurized eggs, so they are safe. If moms have any questions, it's just better to go with a different dressing, just to make sure that it's safe for the mom and the baby.
7 Too Much Tuna
There are a lot of confusing guidelines when it comes to consuming fish while pregnant. But moms need to keep in mind that fish is full of healthy proteins and omega-3 fatty acids that are beneficial, so they shouldn't avoid eating their favorite dishes (except for sushi — don't eat raw fish).
There can be a danger of mercury poisoning, so women should limit their intake of fish that have high levels, such as shark, swordfish, and albacore tuna. Maybe only two tuna salad sandwiches a week, and choose some other varieties like tilapia, salmon, shrimp or catfish, according to American Pregnancy.
6 Chill On The Spicy Food
Another common craving that women get during pregnancy is for spicy foods. And that isn't necessarily bad for the baby, but it can be pretty hard on the mom. It could be surprisingly painful, so that is why we added a warning for moms-to-be on this list.
Most women end up with heartburn during pregnancy, especially in the third trimester when the stomach is pushed up higher toward the esophagus. Eating anything spicy just exacerbates the situation. It's up to the woman if it's worth the pain to fulfill the craving, and we suspect that sometimes it's totally worth it.
5 Raw Sprouts
This is another food trend that seems to be a healthy addition to a pregnant woman's meal plan, but the baby can't handle a big bowl of sprouts. The options are very diverse and include everything from alfalfa sprouts to radishes and clover, but raw sprouts of any kind aren't a good idea.
The FDA has issued a warning of bacteria including salmonella, listeria, and E. coli from raw sprouts and they said that children, the elderly, and pregnant women should avoid it. It's okay if they cook the sprouts thoroughly because that rids the bacteria, but the raw versions should be avoided.
4 Artificial Sweeteners
Moms might want to reduce their sugar intake during pregnancy, especially if they are worried about getting their pre-baby body back or they have a condition like gestational diabetes. But they need to be wary of sugar substitutes as well, according to What To Expect.
Doctors believe that saccharin, which is Sweet'N Low, reaches the baby through the placenta and is slow to leave. There is a debate on the blue packets that contain aspartame, but most think it is okay in small amounts. The yellow packets of sucralose are believed to be the safest because they are a variant on sugar, but according to What To Expect, it's best to limit intake of all of the options.
3 Melons May Not Be Good
Some say that melons are one of the healthiest fruits for pregnant women since they are full of folic acid to prevent birth defects, vitamin C to prevent anemia, potassium to help with leg cramps and pressure, and a lot of other beneficial nutrients for the development of the baby.
But there are others that say that melons are a risk. The risk of listeria is high, so moms have to be very careful to clean the rind and make sure the fruit doesn't get contaminated. And Stylesatlife.com says moms should also be aware of the possible pesticide contamination. It's definitely a danger that moms need to keep in mind.
2 Store-Bought Salads
The interesting thing about this list is that there are a lot of things that moms buy outside of stores that are a problem, as well as a number of things that are in stores that they have to be careful about. Store-bought salads can be just as dangerous as the stuff in restaurants and such.
One of the biggest concerns recently are the salad-in-a-bag variety, and that is because people think that they don't have to wash them. That might be safe when you're not pregnant, but with a baby on board, it's a big risk. There have been a number of recalls of salads lately, so moms need to be careful because getting sick can hurt the baby.
1 Skip The Soda
Recently, people have taken warnings about drinking soda very seriously. The biggest concern is that sodas are high in calories and sugar, as well as other processed ingredients, and health advocates say that drinking soda is linked to the rise in obesity in the US.
Women might not be counting calories when they are pregnant, but there are still reasons to skip the soda. It doesn't contain any nutrients that would help the baby, and drinks have artificial sweeteners in them. It's okay to have the occasional treat, but doctors recommend that moms just stick to water while pregnant.
Sources: Baby Center, Livestrong, Fox News, Healthline, Live Science, Healthline, Styles At Life, What To Expect, Foodsafety.gov