The list of foods to avoid during pregnancy is very short and most of the foods that are healthy for you are healthy for your baby too. Nevertheless, those few foods to avoid during pregnancy should be really kept in mind because they can cause serious complications including premature labor, miscarriage and birth defects.
Here are the foods to avoid during pregnancy:
Seafood high in mercury content. Seafood is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids and other essential nutrients that are crucial for development of your baby and avoiding seafood completely is not a good idea. Types of seafood that are high in mercury content such as shark, swordfish, tilefish and king mackerel, however, can be toxic to your baby and should be avoided. Canned tuna contains mercury as well but according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) it is safe to eat up to 12 ounces of canned light tuna or 6 ounces of albacore tuna a week. Other types of seafood that can be safely eaten by pregnant women in moderate amounts include salmon, shrimp, catfish, pollack and cod.
Raw and undercooked seafood. Consumption of any kind of raw or undercooked seafood, in the first place shellfish poses a risk of infection with harmful bacteria and viruses. Make sure that seafood is cooked properly because the heat destroys the potentially harmful contaminants. Also, avoid refrigerated smoked seafood including lox unless it is cooked.
Undercooked and raw meat, eggs and poultry. Raw and undercooked meat and poultry pose a risk of exposure to potentially harmful pathogens and should be avoided completely. Also, avoid foods that are made with raw or partially cooked eggs because they could be contaminated with salmonella, and make sure that you cook deli meats and hot dogs to at least 165 F internal temperature because they are potential sources of a rare but harmful Listeria bacteria which can cause a miscarriage, premature birth or potentially life-threatening infection in the baby after birth.
Unpasteurized milk and soft cheeses. Anything that is made with unpasteurized milk including soft cheeses such as feta, mozzarella, brie and others that are not labeled as “made with pasteurized milk“ should be avoided during pregnancy. Like deli meats and hot dogs, they can be contaminated with the Listeria bacteria.
Alcohol. Anything that contains alcohol should be strictly avoided despite the fact that some claim that one drink will do no harm. It is highly important to be aware that safe amount of alcohol during pregnancy is unknown.
Herbal teas. Most teas that are made with herbs should be avoided by pregnant women. You are highly recommended to talk to your doctor before drinking any kind of herbal tea including those that are marketed safe for pregnant women.
Coffee and other caffeinated beverages. Too much caffeine during pregnancy is associated with a number of complications but it seems to be safe to drink it in moderate amounts. Make sure that you do not exceed 200 mg a day if you cannot give up coffee.
Unwashed fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are crucial for both your own and your baby’s health but you are highly recommended to wash them throughly before consumption.
Liver. You do not need give up liver consumption during pregnancy but make sure that you eat liver in moderate amounts. It is high in vitamin A excess amounts of which can cause birth defects.