The Real Risks For Pregnant Women

    A pregnant woman smiling as her little son kisses her bellyThere are many pregnancy risk factors that could affect the health of you or your baby. These factors will vary from pregnancy to pregnancy and from mother to mother.

    Your personal pregnancy risk factors will be determined by your pre-pregnancy health, your habits and routines, your family health history and the father’s family health history. This is why it’s important to be upfront with your doctor when you first begin prenatal care.

    If you’re pregnant, it’s easy to get paranoid. Every aspect of your daily routine presents risks, from the food you eat to the way you sleep. But don’t stress about it. That’s bad for the baby too. With new studies everyday and unverified advice from friends and family, it’s easy to get bogged down with information.

    During your pregnancy it is very important to avoid some things that can harm your developing baby. Here are some of the risks in pregnancy that you need to be aware of.

    Fish

    The sea becomes the great unknown when you’re eating for two. To be on the safe side its recommended that you cook all your fish to 145 degrees inside and out. It’s also safe to limit yourself to 6 ounces a week.

    • High risk: Larger, older fish with high levels of mercury can damage the developing nervous system of a fetus. Avoid the following fish: swordfish, shark, king mackerel, tilefish, raw fish or seafood, smoked salmon or other cured fish.
    • Low risk: Protein-rich seafood is helpful in brain development, when consumed in moderation. Shrimp, canned light tuna (limit albacore tuna and tuna steak to no more than 6 ounces or 170 grams a week), salmon, pollock, catfish.

    Meat

    The principle behind any meat concerns is avoiding bacteria since pregnant women are more likely to be susceptible. But the guidelines are fairly intuitive—stay away from food that’s been sitting out a while and make sure everything is cooked through.

    • High risk: Refrigerated meat-based spreads and raw, pre-stuffed poultry should be avoided as they tend to breed more bacteria. Deli meats and hot dogs should be cooked to steaming temperatures or just skipped to avoid the food-borne listeria. Liver is high in vitamin A which can cause birth defects if consumed in large quantities.
    • Low risk: Any poultry or meat that’s fresh, well done and cooked through is safe to eat.

    Eggs/Dairy/Cheese

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