Foods Pregnant Women Should Avoid During Pregnancy

While it is an exciting time for you, you will quickly learn this period also comes with a lot of changes to your body. All of a sudden, you find that you’re craving some foods than others, while even the thought of certain foods makes you gag.

The immune system of a pregnant woman changes so fast, which makes the expectant mother and her developing baby more susceptible to particular foodborne diseases.

Foodborne diseases can be severe in pregnant women because, in the worst cases, they can lead to premature delivery and miscarriages.

Foodborne illnesses like Toxoplasma gondii and Listeria can affect the unborn baby even without inflicting the mother with severe symptoms. If you can avoid certain foods during pregnancy, you can prevent potentially life-threatening effects of foodborne diseases.

Seafood is one of the major culprits. Whether fresh or smoked, seafood can contain foodborne disease-causing parasites or bacteria that can put you and the baby at risk. Even though fish is a high-quality source of proteins, vitamins, and minerals, they contain Listeria that poses harm to pregnant women.

Pregnant women should avoid all raw seafood like sashimi and sushi, ceviche, raw oysters, scallops, and clams or make sure they are cooked to 145 degrees F before consumption.

Refrigerated smoked seafood like trout, tuna, salmon, cod, whitefish, or mackerel also contains Listeria. Unless smoked seafood is cooked at 165 degrees F internal temperature, pregnant ought to stay away from it.

As a precaution, avoid smoked seafood labeled like kippered, nova-style, smoked, lox, or jerky.

Premade salads and deli meats are a no-go for pregnant women. Hence, you can no longer opt for a tuna salad or deli sandwich as a grab-and-go lunch option because they also contain Listeria.

Avoid deli salads such as chicken salad, tuna salad, ham salad, and seafood salad. The same goes for deli meats such as hot dogs, cold cuts, refrigerated meat spreads or pates, fermented or dry sausage, and any other deli-style meat.

However, if you are craving a deli-prepared meal so bad, you need to reheat the deli meats or hot dogs at 165 degrees F until they are steaming hot to reduce the chances of foodborne disease. The heat kills Listeria and makes deli meats safe to consume.

Unpasteurized juice or cider should also be avoided even when it’s freshly squeezed. Even though these drinks can be passed off as healthy, they contain E. coli and other harmful germs.

Pregnant women should opt for pasteurized versions, and if they must drink unpasteurized juice, they need to be brought to a rolling boil before drinking it.

Undercooked or raw cookie dough can be very tempting, especially when the spatula is dripping with that brownie batter. However, raw cookie dough also bears E. coli from flour and salmonella from raw eggs, both harmful to you and your unborn baby. Make sure to cook any batter-based baked goods before consumption thoroughly.

If you want to learn more about what you can or can’t eat while pregnant, is here to guide you.

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