Health Alert: 5 Food Items to Avoid During Pregnancy

Photo by Leslie Pujiono

The Truth About Avoiding Certain Foods

There is a truth to the age-old saying, “eating for two.” While you shouldn’t eat twice the amount that you normally do, you do have to pay more attention to the types of foods you consume. Not all foods are safe for your unborn baby; there are many food items to avoid during pregnancy. Read on to find out what five food items to avoid in pregnancy and why raw and uncooked seafood and meat is dangerous for you.

Food Items to avoid in Pregnancy

As a rule of thumb, eating raw or undercooked food products – whether this is meat or seafood – should be avoided. You also want to avoid unpasteurized dairy products, and you should err on the side of caution. Food poisoning is unpleasant for both you and your baby.

The five main food items to avoid during pregnancy include the following:

1) Raw or Undercooked Meats – When ordering steak at a restaurant, it may be tempting to ask for it to be cooked medium or medium-rare. This is fine for the regular woman, but when you’re pregnant, you must ask for “well done.” Eating raw or undercooked meats is too risky. This is a food item you must avoid in pregnancy because anything undercooked or raw can be contaminated with salmonella and other harmful bacteria. Foodborne bacterial infections during pregnancy can lead to miscarriage, premature labor, and stillborn babies.

2) Hot Dogs and Deli Meats – Eating a hot dog with all the toppings may sound delicious, but you should avoid it during pregnancy. Hot dog and deli meats (like ham, turkey, salami, and bologna) may contain a bacteria called listeria, which can cause you to miscarry or have a stillborn baby. If you are desperately craving a hot dog or a sandwich with deli meat, reheat the meat until it’s steaming hot.

3) Fish with High Mercury Content – The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, published earlier this year, recommends that pregnant women consume up to 12 ounces of fish and seafood each week. However, pregnant women should avoid eating any fish that is known for its high levels of mercury. Fish that is high in mercury include shark, marlin, Ahi tuna, king mackerel, swordfish, and tilefish.

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