It can be confusing for first-time mothers to know what to eat and what not to eat.
Obviously, alcohol, smoking and drug use are huge no-nos, but when it comes to food, what should you eliminate while pregnant? Below are 8 foods to avoid during pregnancy.
1. Raw or undercooked meats, fish and eggs
This includes sushi, raw shellfish (oysters, lobster, crab, etc.), rare meat, raw cookie dough and cake batter, and unpasteurized eggs. During your pregnancy, it’s especially important to cook all meat and poultry thoroughly to the point where there’s not a single trace of pink or blood.
2. Don’t fall for the simplicity of deli meats
Deli meats – hot dogs, bologna, salami, roast beef, turkey, ham, etc. are known to be contaminated with a bacteria called listeria, which may result in a miscarriage, still birth or other serious health issues.
3. Unpasteurized dairy products
Softer cheeses, including feta, brie, blue cheese and gorgonzola aren’t safe to eat during pregnancy because they’re made from unpasteurized (raw) milk. Unpasteurized dairy products can carry listeria, which again, can be extremely dangerous for unborn babies. Pregnant women should also avoid unpasteurized juices and apple cider.
4. Too much caffeine is not good for a pregnant lady
Caffeine is a natural stimulant that increases your blood pressure and heart rate – two big no-nos for pregnant women. Also, too much caffeine is believed to cause birth defects, premature labor, infertility, low birth weight and miscarriages. Aside from coffee, caffeine can be found in sodas, teas, energy drinks and chocolate.
5. Certain types of seafood and fish
When you’re pregnant, it’s best to steer clear of swordfish, king mackerel, tuna, shark and raw shellfish as they contain high amounts of mercury, which can be harmful to your baby’s still-developing brain and nervous system. Salmon, shrimp, canned light tuna, sardines, tilapia and catfish are great alternatives since they contain less mercury.
6. Be careful eating liver
Liver and liver products, such pâté, contain high amounts of vitamin A – and too much can be harmful to your unborn baby. Other foods rich in vitamin A include sweet potatoes, carrots, dark leafy greens and cantaloupe.
7. Raw vegetable sprouts
If you enjoy sprouts and don’t want to give them up, make sure they’re cooked thoroughly before eating. Be extra careful when ordering salads and sandwiches from restaurants because they often contain raw sprouts. It’s important to point out that regular fruits and vegetables are fine to consume as long as they’re washed thoroughly.
8. Anything that may cause food allergies
If you, your child’s father and/or another family member has a food allergy, then the greater the chances are that your baby will develop a food allergy later in life. Talk with your doctor first before cutting out certain foods, such as peanuts, dairy and seafood.