Don’t Eat That: Foods to Limit or Eliminate during Pregnancy

When we find out that we’re pregnant, everything changes. All of a sudden, nothing that we do is just about us. We find ourselves considering our baby’s welfare in all of our choices, including what we eat (and don’t eat).

Most of us know some basics that we need to give up while we’re pregnant. Those of us who enjoy an occasional adult beverage know we need to put them aside for nine months (or a little longer if we breastfeed). We also know that we shouldn’t smoke, and that we need to severely limit our caffeine.

There’s quite a bit more to eating healthy during pregnancy, though. It’s important to make sure that we are taking in all of the nutrients we need, and that we stay hydrated. It’s also important to avoid foods which can be harmful to us or our baby while we’re pregnant. Here are some foods to limit or steer clear of while you have a bun in the oven:

  • Certain fish. Fish are an important part of your diet, and should be eaten fairly regularly, but there are some types of fish which are high in mercury and should be avoided. These include tilefish, shark, mackerel, and swordfish. Wild caught fish may also be high in mercury. Check your local advisories regarding the safety of fish caught in your area. Note: tuna may be eaten, but if you eat canned tuna, limit yourself to 12 oz. /week.
  • Salmon. Until fairly recently, salmon was considered safe to eat in moderate amounts. However, recent studies have shown salmon to affect the antibodies in your breast milk. Because of this, many health care professionals are now recommending that you avoid salmon while pregnant.
  • Raw or undercooked seafood. That’s right. No sushi or raw oysters for you, at least not until Junior’s born.
  • Undercooked eggs. Eat ‘em scrambled, hard boiled, or over hard, but avoid eating eggs over easy, sunny side up or soft boiled. The yoke should be thoroughly cooked all the way through. Otherwise, you risk food poisoning both to yourself and the baby.
  • Cold cuts. If you’re going to eat lunch meat, cook it thoroughly to get rid of bacteria which could be harmful to you and the baby. Same thing with hot dogs: make sure they’re cooked thoroughly.
  • Unpasteurized dairy. This includes a number of soft cheeses like brie, feta, and bleu cheese.

As always, check with your doctor if you have concerns about specific foods.

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