Foods to Avoid During Pregnancy

Photo by: Bigstockphoto
Photo by: Bigstockphoto

Eating well is important, more so if you’re expecting! But did you know that some “healthy” foods are off-limits to pregnant women? Most times, these foods cause a reaction to the developing fetus, leading to gestational issues. It’s important to talk to your doctor to learn what types of foods to avoid when you are pregnant. Below is a list of foods that expecting moms should avoid:

Uncooked Meats

Never eat raw, undercooked or rare meats of all kind. That includes red meat, poultry, and seafood. Raw meat is an ideal breeding ground for coliform bacteria, toxoplasmosis, and salmonella. Eating tainted meats is detrimental to the health of the mother and the baby. These viruses and bacteria can cause infections, leading to blood poisoning. Smoked and cured meats like deli meats or cold cuts are a complete no-no too. You have to cook cured meats first before you eat it when you are expecting.

Raw fish contain high levels of mercury. This heavy metal can cause brain damage and developmental issues to the fetus.

Shellfish and Crustaceans

Raw shellfish and crustaceans can cause seafood-borne diseases. While cooking shellfish and crustaceans – such as lobsters, crabs, clams and oysters – can kill seafood-borne bacteria, it will not kill algae-related infections. It’s important to eliminate shellfish and crustaceans of all kinds throughout your pregnancy.

Raw Eggs

Just like undercooked or raw poultry, raw eggs may be tainted with salmonella bacteria. To be on the safe side, do not eat foods that contain raw eggs such as mayonnaise, ice cream, custard and even Hollandaise sauce. Cooking eggs will kill the germs, but there is no guarantee that store-bought foods with pasteurized eggs are bacteria free.

Soft Cheese and Pasteurized Milk

Love soft cheeses? You’ll have to hold off that craving until after you give birth. Soft cheeses – including Camembert, feta, Brie and Gorgonzola – may be tainted with listeria. Listeria is a bacterium that causes meningitis and sepsis. Although certain dairy products – like milk – are processed to kill off listeria bacteria, there is no guarantee that the products are 100% germ-free.

Meat Spreads

Meat spreads and canned meat products like pate may contain listeria too. You have to eliminate meat spreads of all kind during your pregnancy.

Caffeinated Drinks

Although caffeine is deemed safe among expectant women as long as it is taken in moderation, some studies found a link between miscarriage and caffeinated beverages. Some health experts also warn that caffeine is linked to premature birth, withdrawal symptoms in babies and low birth weight. Apart from drawing liquid away from the body, caffeine can cause calcium deficiency. Our advice is to limit – if not totally eliminate – caffeinated drinks while you are pregnant.

Alcoholic Drinks

There is no excuse for drinking alcohol when you are pregnant. Exposing a developing fetus to alcohol can cause developmental issues such as Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. This is a condition characterized by damaged central nervous system, abnormal facial features, and stunted growth. It can also cause mental and behavioral issues. Research shows that prenatal exposure to alcohol can lead to unstable, delinquent behavior in children.

Drinking alcoholic beverages will also affect milk production. Alcohol can interact and destroy your baby’s healthy cells, causing stillbirth, miscarriage, and premature birth.


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