A woman’s body is a sacred vessel during pregnancy. It’s extremely important to treat oneself with care, and to be aware of all that is around or enters the body during gestation. Some foods can be hazardous to the baby and/or the mother if consumed during pregnancy, and should be avoided to prevent any complications. So …
What Not To Eat During Pregnancy
The first of which is raw or undercooked meats. Consuming rare beef or poultry, or undercooked seafood can risk contamination with coliform bacteria, toxoplasmosis, and salmonella. Deli meats and pates are a concern as well since they may contain listeria, which can cause miscarriage. Make sure all meats are cooked well, and that deli meats are reheated until they are steaming before eaten.
Fish containing high levels of mercury should also be avoided. Mercury has been linked to developmental delays and brain damage when consumed during pregnancy. Shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish contain the highest levels of mercury. Canned, chunk light tuna can be eaten, but only in moderation.
Fish is also best to avoid if it was caught in local lakes and streams. Oftentimes, local: bluefish, striped bass, salmon, pike, trout, and walleye come from waters containing high levels of
polychlorinated biphenyls. Contacting the local health department can help you determine which fish are safe to catch and eat in your area.
Smoked seafood, often labeled as lox, nova style, kippered or jerky, should be avoided incase of listeria contamination. These are only safe when cooked, or used as an ingredient in a heated dish. However, the shelf-safe or canned, smoked seafood is usually okay to eat without heating.
Raw eggs or foods that contain raw eggs should not be eaten because of the potential exposure to salmonella. Mayonnaise, Caesar dressing, homemade ice cream and Hollandaise sauces are usually made with raw eggs. If the food is cooked at some point, the risk of salmonella is reduced. Most commercially manufactered ice creams and dressings use pasteurized eggs, which further reduces the risk.
Listeria bacteria can also be found in soft, imported cheeses and unpasteurized milk. Brie, Camembert, Roquefort, Feta, Gorgonzola and Mexican style cheeses that include queso blanco and queso fresco are all unsafe, unless they clearly state that they are made from pasteurized milk. Although, all soft non-imported cheeses made with pasteurized milk are safe to eat.
Caffeine During Pregnancy
Caffeine during pregnancy is a hot topic. Most studies show it is best to avoid caffeine, especially in the first trimester. The general rule is to limit the amount consumed to a maximum of 300 mg per day. It’s been showed through several studies that large amounts of caffeine during pregnancy are associated with miscarriage, premature birth, low birth weight and withdrawal symptoms in the infant.
Alcohol is another controversial substance during pregnancy. The bottom line is that no alcohol should be consumed during pregnancy. Alcohol consumption during this time can lead to Fetal Alcohol Syndrome or other developmental disorders.
What Not To Eat During Pregnancy
Your best bet when preparing or eating foods during pregnancy is to use common sense. Cook foods thoroughly, and reheat only once after, wash all vegetables and fruit before eating, and wash your hands often when handling food at home or at the market. When in doubt, don’t eat it, and always talk to your health care professional when you have any questions. Enjoy your pregnancy and eat what your baby needs – but be sure to do it safely.