Unsafe Foods

Unsafe Foods

Foods to Avoid During Pregnancy

Maintaining pregnancy health benefits both you and your baby, and a nutritional diet is an important part of this. However, just as there are many foods you should add to your diet, there are some you should avoid. Pregnant women have a suppressed immune system, which leaves them at higher risk for food borne illnesses. In addition, some foods contain toxins such as mercury, which can harm the baby. Here is a list of foods to avoid and the reasons why.

Unpasteurized Foods

Unpasteurized food can contain harmful bacteria such as salmonella, listeria, and Campylobacter jejuni. This includes all unpasteurized milk, cheeses and juices. Pregnant women are more susceptible to contracting listeriosis and can become seriously ill. The baby is also at risk for premature birth, low birth weight, dangerous bacterial infections, meningitis and stillbirth. Other bacteria can also cause serious illness, which can lead to hospitalization.

Deli Meats

Ready-to eat deli meats are unsafe primarily because of the risk listeria. Deli meats should only be consumed if they are heated to 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Note that smoked seafood from a deli may also harbor listeria.

Raw Oysters

Raw oysters can harbor the Vibrio vulnificus bacteria, which can cause serious illness or death.

High-Mercury Fish

Mercury can cross the placenta barrier, and at high levels, it can impede brain growth and affect the baby’s nervous system. Fish high in mercury include shark, albacore tuna, and king mackerel, tilefish and swordfish. Choose instead wild caught salmon, trout, shrimp or light tuna

Raw Sprouts

Bacteria such as e coli can be present in the seeds and remain as the sprout grows. This means that washing raw sprouts won’t eliminate the bacteria. Eat only cooked sprouts while pregnant.

Undercooked Meat

Undercooked ground beef, chicken, turkey, fish, sushi and pork all pose high food poisoning risks and this is especially so for pregnant women. Eat only foods that have been thoroughly cooked. No pink should remain in the center. Steak poses less risk than ground beef. However, to be on the safe side, opt for steak that is well done.

Unwashed Produce

Unwashed produce can be contaminated with bacteria such as e coli, or parasites, such as Toxoplasmosis. The latter can cause serious complications for babies, including mental impairment, vision problems, and hearing loss. Wash all fruits and vegetables thoroughly before eating.

If it seems there is a lot to watch out for, you are correct. However, by taking the simple precautions suggested, such as washing produce and cooking meats thoroughly, you can enjoy a healthy diet without concerns of food-related problems. Soon, your safer food habits will become second nature and you won’t even need to give it much thought.


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