Foods To Avoid During Pregnancy

So you think pregnancy gives you a free pass to eat whatever you want? Wrong! There are some foods you need to avoid, and we found out which ones.

Pregnant woman holding bowl and eating

As soon as you saw that positive test result, you felt like you had a free pass to indulge every food craving. Go ahead, Mama — enjoy yourself! There are some foods that are dangerous to you and your baby, though. We talked with a couple experts and found out which foods they are, and why they’re dangerous.

Raw meat

Raw meat is never really safe to eat, but it’s especially dangerous when you’re pregnant. “Raw or undercooked meat (especially lamb, venison and pork) can contain a parasite called Toxoplasma gondii,” said Dr. Doerthe Brueggmann of Health Goes Female. “Acquiring this parasite during pregnancy can lead to blindness, deafness, damage to the brain and other internal organs in your unborn baby.”

Raw seafood

As if it’s not stomach-turning enough for pregnant mamas, raw seafood contains viruses, bacteria and parasites. According to Bridget Swinney MS, registered dietician and author of “Eating Expectantly: Practical Advice for Healthy Eating Before, During and After Pregnancy,” all of those issues can be destroyed with proper cooking.

Unpasteurized juices

“Unpasteurized juices may sometimes contain e-coli and other bacteria,” said Swinney. “While squeezing your own at home after washing the skin well is likely safe, it’s best to avoid raw juices elsewhere. You don’t know how the fruit was processed, and unpasteurized juices have been the cause of some food poisoning outbreaks.”

Deli meats

A simple sandwich is tricky to come by when you’re preggo. According to Swinney, you should avoid lunch meats, hot dogs and smoked seafood because they all have the potential to contain listeria. These meats are made safe by heating to steaming, but that makes it tough to fix a cold turkey sandwich.

Unpasteurized milk

Expectant mommies should avoid not only unpasteurized milk, but also soft cheeses made from unpasteurized milk. “Unpasteurized milk sometimes contains bacteria called listeria monocytogenes. It is very common in our environment and usually not a problem when your immune system is strong. But if contracted during pregnancy, listeriosis can be passed to an unborn baby through the placenta, even if the mother is not showing signs of illness,” said Brueggmann. “This can result in preterm delivery, miscarriage, stillbirth or serious health issues for the baby.”

Certain cooked seafood

Isolated Salmon

Cooking isn’t enough to make some seafood edible for pregnant ladies. Swinney says shark, swordfish, tile fish and king mackerel are major no-nos, because those fish have a high mercury content.

More on pregnancy

Do babies develop favorite foods in the womb?
From sushi to sandwiches: What's safe during pregnancy?
Is it OK to fast while pregnant?

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