Pregnancy Basics: Foods to Avoid

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Creative Commons License photo credit: Suicine

Nutrition is obviously one of your top priorities during pregnancy. All of the food you take in has the potential to affect your baby in one way or another. In most cases, that food provides the building blocks that your body needs to help your baby grow and develop. That said, there are some foods you really need to steer clear of during pregnancy, because they can cause more harm than good.

Even if you’ve been through pregnancy before, it’s good to review the list of foods to avoid from time to time. Here are some of the foods to stay away from during those nine months:

  • Seafood that’s high in mercury. Swordfish, shark, king mackerel and tilefish are all too high in mercury. You’ll want to be careful about how much canned tuna you have in a week – about 12 ounces is safe. That said, make sure you do get some seafood, as it provides important nutrients like Omega-3 fatty acids and protein that your baby needs to develop.
  • Raw or undercooked seafood, meat, poultry or eggs. The big danger with undercooked or raw foods in this category is the risk of salmonella or food poisoning. Some experts believe you’re more susceptible to food poisoning during pregnancy. While a mild case usually doesn’t present any danger to your baby, in some rare instances it can cause big problems. It’s best to avoid those raw or undercooked foods during pregnancy for that reason.
  • Deli meats. Here again, the risk of foodborne illness – particularly listeriosis – tends to be high. You can have them, as long as you heat them up to the point where they’re steaming.
  • Unpasteurized foods. That means soft cheeses like Feta, blue cheese, queso blanco, and others. Consider buying pasteurized eggs, too.
  • Unwashed fruits and veggies. You need the nutrients in fruits and veggies, but you don’t need the bacteria that can live on the surface. Wash them thoroughly, and avoid raw sprouts altogether.

There are, of course, other things to avoid. You should limit caffeine intake to 200 mg a day or less, and alcohol should be right out altogether.

So, what do you think? Are there foods in the list you’re not sure you can live without during your pregnancy?

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