8 Foods To Avoid When You’re Pregnant

pregnant woman eating on couch

Motherhood – and parenthood in general – is full of sacrifices, right? And that first sacrifice begins with your diet and lifestyle. Obviously, alcohol, smoking and drug use are huge no-nos, but when it comes to food, it can be confusing for first-time mothers to know what to eat and what not to eat. Not to worry, we’ve compiled a list of foods that all pregnant women should avoid. Read on to find out what they are!

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1. Raw or undercooked meats, fish and eggs

This includes sushi, raw shellfish (oysters, lobster, crab, etc.), rare meat, raw cookie dough and cake batter, and unpasteurized eggs. During your pregnancy, it’s especially important to cook all meat and poultry thoroughly to the point where there’s not a single trace of pink or blood.

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2. Deli meats

Sure, deli meats – hot dogs, bologna, salami, roast beef, turkey, ham, etc. – are inexpensive and convenient for packing lunches. But, they’ve also been known to be contaminated with a bacteria called listeria, which may result in a miscarriage, still birth or other serious health issues.

3. Unpasteurized dairy products

Softer cheeses, including feta, brie, blue cheese and gorgonzola aren’t safe to eat during pregnancy because they’re made from unpasteurized (raw) milk. Unpasteurized dairy products can carry listeria, which again, can be extremely dangerous for unborn babies. Pregnant women should also avoid unpasteurized juices and apple cider.

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4. Caffeine

Limit your caffeine intake to no more than 150 mg per day. The reason being that caffeine is a natural stimulant that increases your blood pressure and heart rate – two big no-nos for pregnant women. Also, too much caffeine is believed to cause birth defects, premature labor, infertility, low birth weight and miscarriages. Aside from coffee, caffeine can be found in sodas, teas, energy drinks and chocolate.

5. Certain types of seafood and fish 

When you’re pregnant, it’s best to steer clear of swordfish, king mackerel, tuna, shark and raw shellfish as they contain high amounts of mercury, which can be harmful to your baby’s still-developing brain and nervous system. Salmon, shrimp, canned light tuna, sardines, tilapia and catfish are great alternatives since they contain less mercury.

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6. Liver

Liver and liver products, such pâté, contain high amounts of vitamin A – and too much can be harmful to your unborn baby. Other foods rich in vitamin A include sweet potatoes, carrots, dark leafy greens and cantaloupe.

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7. Raw vegetable sprouts

Consuming raw sprouts, including alfalfa and radishes can be risky even for those of us who aren’t pregnant. In fact, there have been at least 30 reported outbreaks of foodborne illnesses linked to raw and lightly cooked sprouts since 1966, according to http://www.foodsafety.gov. If you enjoy sprouts and don’t want to give them up, make sure they’re cooked thoroughly before eating. And be extra careful when ordering salads and sandwiches from restaurants because they often contain raw sprouts. Better yet, when ordering, request that your food be prepared sans the sprouts. It’s important to point out that regular fruits and vegetables are fine to consume as long as they’re washed thoroughly.

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8. Anything that may cause food allergies

If you, your child’s father and/or another family member has a food allergy, then the greater the chances are that your baby will develop a food allergy later in life. Talk with your doctor first before cutting out certain foods, such as peanuts, dairy and seafood.