Foods to avoid when you’re pregnant

Unlock the secrets to safeguarding your Baby’s well-being with these essential tips

Being informed and cautious about the foods to avoid during pregnancy is essential for the health and safety of both the mother and the developing baby. By following specific guidelines, seeking reliable information, and consulting with healthcare professionals expectant mothers can make informed decisions about their diet to minimize potential risks and complications during pregnancy. Awareness and vigilance in food choices are crucial to ensure a healthy and successful pregnancy journey.

1. Unpasteurized foods [1][2]

Many low-fat dairy products — such as skim milk, mozzarella cheese and cottage cheese — can be a healthy part of your diet. Anything containing unpasteurized milk, however, is not preferred. These products could lead to foodborne illness. Avoid soft cheeses, such as brie, feta, and blue cheese, unless they are clearly labeled as being pasteurized or made with pasteurized milk. Also, avoid drinking unpasteurized juice. Raw, unpasteurized milk and soft cheese made from unpasteurized milk. These may contain Listeria, a bacterium that can cause an illness called listeriosis. 

2. Raw eggs [2][3]

Raw eggs can be contaminated with harmful bacteria. Avoid foods made with raw or partially cooked eggs, such as eggnog, raw batter, and freshly made or homemade hollandaise sauce, and Caesar salad dressing. Raw eggs or any foods that contain raw eggs should be avoided because of the potential exposure to salmonella.

Foods to avoid when you’re pregnant

3. Uncooked fish and seafood [1][2]

Examples include seafood labeled nova style, lox, kippered, smoked or jerky. It is fine to eat smoked seafood if it’s an ingredient in a casserole or other cooked dish. Canned and shelf-stable versions also are safe. Uncooked fish and seafood should be avoided as it can contain high levels of bacteria and parasites. 

4. Uncooked sprouted seeds, grains and beans [1][2]

Avoid raw sprouts of any kind — including alfalfa, clover, radish and moong bean — which also might contain disease-causing bacteria. Be sure to cook sprouts thoroughly. Raw sprouts (such as bean, alfalfa and radish sprouts, as well as ready-to-eat salads) can contain harmful bacteria such as Listeria, Salmonella and E. coli.

5. Avoid excess caffeine [2]

While caffeine can cross the placenta, the effects on your baby aren’t clear. To be safe, your health care provider might recommend avoiding or limiting the amount of caffeine in your diet to less than 200 milligrams (mg) a day during pregnancy.

Foods to avoid when you’re pregnant

6. Avoid alcohol [2]

There is no proven safe amount of alcohol to consume while pregnant. To completely avoid from drinking is your best bet. Pregnancy-related alcohol consumption increases the risk of stillbirth and miscarriage. Foetal alcohol syndrome, which can lead to intellectual disability and facial deformities, is another condition that drinking alcohol can induce. 

Enhancing lives of pregnant and lactating women and their babies


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