What to Avoid During Pregnancy

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These foods are OK to eat during pregnancy in limited amounts: Fish that have small amounts of mercury. Mercury is a metal that can harm your baby. Fish get mercury from the water they swim in and from eating other fish that have mercury in them. By eating fish that contain mercury, you can pass the metal to your baby during pregnancy. During pregnancy, eat 8 to 12 ounces a week of fish that doesn't have a lot of mercury, including shrimp, salmon, pollock, catfish and canned light tuna. Food and drinks that have caffeine.

Limit the caffeine you get each day to milligrams. Caffeine amounts in coffee vary a lot and depend on things, like the brand you drink, how it's made and the size of the cup. Instead of drinking regular coffee, try coffee that's decaffeinated has a smaller amount of caffeine. Caffeine is also found in tea, chocolate, soda and some over-the-counter medicine.

Pregnancy: what to eat and what to avoid

Read labels on food, drinks and medicine to know how much caffeine you're getting. What foods are completely off limits during pregnancy? They can be really harmful to you and your baby. Certain meats and fish Raw or undercooked meat, including beef, poultry and pork. This includes hotdogs and deli meat like ham or bologna.

Raw fish, especially shellfish Fish that can be high in mercury, like shark, swordfish, king mackerel and tilefish. Always check with your local health department before you eat any fish you catch yourself. Refrigerated pates, meat spreads or smoked seafood Certain dairy products Raw or lightly cooked eggs or foods made with them. This includes cake batter and raw cookie dough.

Soft-scrambled eggs Unpasteurized juice or milk or any foods made with them Unpasteurized soft cheeses, such as brie, feta, Camembert, Roquefort, queso blanco, queso fresco and Panela Other Raw sprouts, especially alfalfa sprouts Herbal products, like pills and teas. Herbal products are made from herbs, which are plants used in cooking or medicine.

Nonfood items, like clay, starch, paraffin or coffee grounds.

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More information Choose my plate Last reviewed: June, Help save lives every month Give monthly and join the fight for the health of moms and babies. Donate your birthday Create a Facebook fundraiser to let friends and family know you're donating your birthday so more babies can have theirs.

Ask our experts! Have a question? We've got answers. Reach out to our health educators. We Won't Stop See all the ways we fight for healthy families in our new awareness campaign video. Week by week Learn how your baby grows each week during pregnancy.

Are you a cinemama? Make a movie of your pregnancy with our free smartphone app! News Moms Need Blog Read about what moms and moms-to-be need to know. Connect With Us. That's why when it comes to eating during pregnancy, the best rule is to err on the side of safety and stay away from foods that could harbor enough pathogens to make you sick thanks — or not thanks — to your suppressed immune system. Besides avoiding potentially harmful bacteria and chemicals, you'll also want to limit your intake of ingredients like caffeine.

So how do you figure out what's safe and what's not? Here's the lowdown on the foods and drinks to avoid during pregnancy.

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How do you toast a happy event without the champagne or margarita, wine spritzer, or your alcoholic beverage of choice now that you're pregnant? You break out the mocktails or the fruit-juice spritzers for the next odd weeks. Alcohol enters your baby's bloodstream in the same concentration as yours — and takes twice as long to leave it — so whatever you're drinking, your baby's downing one, too.

But what about that night out with the girls and a few too many margaritas a couple of days before you found out you were pregnant? It happens to many moms, and what a relief! Fortunately, you don't have to worry about finding unpasteurized milk at the supermarket, thanks to the Food and Drug Administration. But soft cheeses made with unpasteurized milk are another story — they can harbor listeria and other pathogens. Other safe alternatives: Stick with hard cheeses like Swiss and cheddar or heat up soft cheeses until bubbly. Also steer clear of unpasteurized juices like apple cider or fresh-squeezed OJ.

What about treated juice fruit juices found in farmer's markets and health-food stores that are unpasteurized but have been treated to kill bacteria? As long as it's been treated through UV irradiation, it's probably okay. Even if you couldn't get by without your daily triple-shot vanilla lattes before you became pregnant, now's definitely the time to switch out at least two of those caffeinated shots for decaf ones. While a couple of small cups of coffee a day are fine throughout your pregnancy, consuming more than daily milligrams mg of caffeine may increase the risk of miscarriage.


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What's more, too much caffeine can interfere with your body's ability to absorb iron which can lead to anemia. Besides taming the caffeine habit , you should also watch your soda and energy drink intake. For example, a can of Mountain Dew has 54 mg of caffeine, while Red Bull contains 80 mg per can. And remember to pay attention to other sneaky sources of caffeine such as chocolate, energy bars, and coffee ice creams and yogurts to ensure you don't slip over the mg limit. Got a taste for some tuna sashimi? Obsessing over those oysters on the half shell?

Before you visit your favorite raw bar or local sushi joint, keep in mind that uncooked or even seared seafood is off-limits during pregnancy — the risk of ingesting bacteria and parasites along with your meal is too high. So you'll just have to say no to raw oysters, clams, ceviches, fish tartares, and carpaccios, along with the smoked stuff like lox that can also harbor illness-inducing parasites and bacteria. While this doesn't mean you should shun your favorite Japanese restaurant for the next nine months, it does mean that you'll need to be careful about what you order.

Foods to Avoid While Pregnant | Happy Family Organics

Most places, for example, offer rolls made with cooked seafood or vegetables right at the sushi bar! Just make sure that any seafood you order is well cooked: Fish should flake and shellfish should be firm. When it comes to your meat, now is not the time to be seeing pink…or red. This is also true for poultry and pork, but most people tend to eat those foods well done. So while you may have cooked or ordered that steak medium-rare before your baby came on board, you'll now need to refrain from blood-red meat.

Undercooked meat and poultry can harbor such bacteria as E. And if you find that the restaurant burger you ordered came out a little too pink? Don't be afraid to send it back.


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Now is not the time to be bashful. By keeping your baby's safety in mind, you'll find it easier to release your inner restaurant diva! That double turkey, salami, and onion with extra mustard might be tempting your pregnancy-crazed appetite, but it may not be the healthiest option out there right now.

As a mommy-to-be, you should be steering clear of those foods that have been preserved with nitrates and nitrites, chemicals used in food preservation that in high amounts aren't good for a developing fetus. Besides being loaded with preservatives and fat , these foods also run the small risk of carrying the bacterium listeria, which can get into your bloodstream and your baby-to-be's.

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