You probably already know the benefits of eating a well-rounded diet, but now that you are eating for two, those benefits are doubly important. There is a lot of literature out there detailing what you should and should not put in your body during pregnancy, but the truth is that the rules are not black and white. In general though, it is best to err on the side of safety and limit or completely avoid certain items. Perhaps your bizarre cravings have already kicked in, so don't hesitate indulging in those. However, if you have a hankering for any of the following foods, you should steer clear.
- Alcohol: You are probably already aware of the negative effects associated with alcohol consumption during pregnancy. Even though you might have heard that drinking libations sparingly is ok, chances are you can hold out for the next 40 weeks. This way, you will not risk Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and other nasty developmental disorders.
- Certain seafood: Shopping for fish can be tricky, as much of what you find at the supermarket is farm raised. While seafood can be a great source of protein, it is best to buy wild products and avoid those high in mercury like swordfish albacore tuna and king mackerel.
- Sushi and sashimi: The raw meat found in these items can harbor dangerous bacteria and parasites for your baby. Other foods to avoid in this category include raw oysters, clams, smoked fish, ceviches and tartares.
- Soft cheeses: Feta, Gorgonzola, Roquefort, Brie and Camembert are are occasionally made with un pasteurized milk, which can result in a dangerous bacteria called listeria. Some of these items are pasteurized, so be sure to read labels before making a purchase.
- Un pasteurized juice: As in soft cheeses, some juices are not pasteurized. Some juices are treated to kill bacteria with UV irradiation instead, which is ok to consume. Again, read labels carefully.
- Hot dogs and deli meats: These foods are also known to carry listeria and should be avoided. Additionally, they are made with loads of preservatives like nitrates, which could be harmful to you and your developing fetus.
- Caffeine: Skipping your morning pick-me-up might be the hardest thing you have to do during your pregnancy, but the caffeine it contains could be unhealthy. Caffeine is a diuretic, so it can lead to water and calcium loss. It is also a possible cause of miscarriages, so it is best to avoid it or limit your intake to 200 mg per day.
- Herbal teas and supplements: While these sound like healthy options during your pregnancy, the safety of herbal products is not routinely studied or monitored by the FDA and should be avoided.
- Rare or undercooked meat and eggs: You might have enjoyed a steak with a cool pink center before your pregnancy, but undercooked meat and eggs could contain E. coli or salmonella.
- Raw sprouts: According to the FDA, foods in this category sometimes contain bacteria in the sprout seeds that is not possible to remove, even with thorough washing. Be sure to abstain from alfalfa and mung bean and call pizza delivery places instead!
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