Top 10 Foods to Avoid When Pregnant

When you’re expecting your first baby, even something as simple as eating feels strange, as you try to make the best choices for the little life you’re growing. For the most part, what makes a good diet doesn’t change when you’re pregnant. We should all choose healthy food, avoiding excess sugar and fat, and be sure to eat our fruits and vegetables. However, pregnancy does complicate things a little. Your immune system is not as robust during pregnancy, so microorganisms that normally don’t bother you could cause big trouble now. There are also substances even in healthy foods that can affect a pregnancy in dangerous ways. Here are ten foods to avoid while pregnant.

Top Ten Foods To Avoid When Pregnant

  1. Unwashed produce. Fruits and vegetables are great choices. But if they haven’t been thoroughly washed, they can carry bacteria and even parasites like Toxoplasma. Make sure your produce is well scrubbed, and if you’re not confident about the sanitation at a restaurant, this is one of the rare times that it’s best to skip the salad.
  2. Raw sprouts. Here’s a vegetable that you can’t scrub clean. Bacteria can live inside sprouts, so no matter how much you wash the sprouts, you can’t get rid of it. They’re safe to eat if they’re cooked, like in stir fry.
  3. Caffeine. I know, that’s a tough one. Especially during the first trimester, when lots of women feel so tired. But there is a link between caffeine intake and miscarriage, and high caffeine intake can lead to growth restriction. The recommendation is to avoid caffeine completely during the first trimester and keep it to under 200 mg after that. 
  4. High-mercury fish. Depending on where they live, fish can build up high levels of mercury, which is bad for developing neurological systems. Fish is very good for you, though, so don’t give it up altogether. The FDA has a handy chart to tell you which fish are safe.
  5. Processed meat. Hot dogs or deli meats can have listeria, which can cause miscarriage. Be sure to heat these foods until they are steaming to kill any bacteria.
  6. Raw eggs. You want to avoid the salmonella that can live in eggs, so be sure any eggs you eat are well cooked. If you want hollandaise sauce or homemade mayonnaise, use pasteurized eggs.
  7. Organ meats. Although organ meats such as liver and heart have a lot of nutrition, that can actually be a problem. An excess of Vitamin A and copper causes toxicity and birth defects. 
  8. Unpasteurized juice. Here’s another healthy food that can cause problems during pregnancy. It can carry bacteria such as E.coli, so if you really want that fresh cider, bring it to a rolling boil for one minute.
  9. Some herbs. While most herbs are safe, there are some that can cause high blood pressure, uterine contractions, and even miscarriage. Some to avoid are yarrow, black or blue cohosh, passion flower, and Roman Chamomile.
  10. Artificial sweeteners. Not everyone agrees if sweeteners such as aspartame are safe during pregnancy. To be on the safe side, avoid or use them moderately.

If that seems like a lot to remember, don’t worry! We are here to help with all the information you need as a new mother, during pregnancy and beyond. Check out our online parenting programs to help you feel confident and informed.  Check out our FAQ page for more information

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