Though you don’t have to be overly careful of the foods you eat now that you are pregnant, there are certain foods that should be avoided at all costs. Read on to find out more about the 12 foods to avoid during pregnancy!
12 Foods to Avoid During Pregnancy
Just 200 milligrams of caffeine a day is the considered safe amount during pregnancy, however caffeine can hide in more than just your daily mug of coffee. Caffeine can lurk in many other foods and beverages, including some herbal teas, chocolate, hot cocoa and soft drinks. Though there are some energy drinks that contain less caffeine than coffee, these drinks have been linked to increased blood pressure and abnormal heart rhythm and should be avoided as well.
There is no safe limit of alcohol consumption when you are pregnant. The best way to ensure that you deliver a healthy and strong baby is to avoid alcohol all together, regardless of the type of beverage or amount. Studies have shown that drinking increases the risk of stillbirth and miscarriage and as little as one drink a day can raise the risks of having a baby with learning, speech, attention span and language problems.
3. Raw or Undercooked Meat
Raw or undercooked meat can be potentially harmful to your baby due to the possibility of salmonella as well as a parasite known as Toxoplasma, both of which can cause serious health problems for your unborn child.
To eliminate any potential risks, cook beef, veal, pork and lam to 145 degrees Fahrenheit, ground meats to 160 degrees Fahrenheit and chicken to 165 degrees Fahrenheit. If eating out be sure to always ask that your meat be prepared well done.
4. Deli Meat (unless cooked)
Deli meats such as ham, turkey, bologna and roast beef can possibly contain listeria, so it’s best to avoid these deli meats unless they are thoroughly heated to roughly 165 degrees Fahrenheit first. This can easily be done by microwaving the meat before consumption or simply cooking the meat in a casserole dish along with a meal.
5. Fish Rich in Mercury
Certain fish such as salmon are highly recommended during pregnancy due to the amount of beneficial omega-3 fatty acids found in them, however not all fish are safe for pregnant women to consume. Fish that are rich in mercury, such as swordfish and shark, should be avoided while pregnant due to the large quantity of mercury found within them. Large amounts of mercury can negatively affect the baby’s nervous system.
Furthermore, all fish contain mercury in some amount, which is why even consuming fish with lower amounts of mercury is limited to just two meals a week.
6. Soft Cheeses
Mexican cheeses such as queso blanco and even some varieties of feta and brie can carry listeria, a bacteria that can lead to miscarriage, premature delivery and even stillbirth. Only soft cheeses that are pasteurized are safe to consume, so be wary of labels and only purchase products that you are familiar with.
7. Unpasteurized Milk and Juice
Milk and juice that has not undergone pasteurization may still contain dangerous toxins and bacteria that may be harmful to your unborn baby. While most dairy products and juices are now pasteurized, there are a few companies who produce unpasteurized products, so read product labels fully to find out which ones are safe. Products such as raw milks or juices and ciders sold at farmer’s markets or fruit stands may need to be avoided.
8. Raw Eggs
Raw eggs may carry salmonella, a dangerous bacteria that can cause fever, vomiting and diarrhea. To avoid any potential salmonella poisoning make sure that your eggs are always thoroughly cooked through, which means you’ll have to pass on runny egg yolks for a while. Other foods to be wary of include Caesar dressings, eggnog and raw cookie dough.
9. Unwashed Produce
The peels and outer skins of fruits and vegetables may have been exposed to dangerous chemicals and pesticides, which makes their consumption dangerous unless the produce has been properly washed.
10. High Nitrate Foods
Though nitrate-rich foods aren’t necessarily beneficial for anyone’s diet, pregnant women specifically should avoid foods such as hot dogs, bacon, sausage and other cured meats due to the amount of nitrates in them. Foods rich in nitrates have been linked to brain tumors and diabetes.
11. Herbal Supplements
Though herbal supplements can be beneficial to your overall health, the fact is that not much research has been done on women who are pregnant while taking herbal supplements. For this reason it is best to steer clear unless otherwise told by your doctor. Instead, stick to your pre-natal vitamins until the doctor gives you the all clear to introduce them back into your daily regimen.
12. Processed Junk Foods
Processed foods are generally low in nutrition while being high in saturated fat, sodium and calories – not the type of foods you want to try to develop a healthy baby with! And while you will need to consume roughly 300 to 500 extra calories in the final trimester of your pregnancy, too many excess calories can lead to unwanted weight gain as well as complications with your pregnancy, such as gestational diabetes and even problems with delivery. Stick to a healthier diet full of whole grains, lean proteins, fruits and vegetables to give your baby the nutrients it needs to develop into a healthy child and save the processed junk foods for an occasional splurge or craving.
There’s no better time to start eating healthier foods than when you are pregnant. Your growing baby needs plenty of wholesome foods to provide them with the vitamins, minerals and other essential nutrients that they need to develop into a healthy baby. Stick to the healthiest foods that you can while pregnant and avoid certain others, including the 12 in this list, to ensure that you have an easy delivery along with a thriving child.