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Foods to Avoid While Pregnant

>> Monday, May 21, 2012

I had no idea before I started having children that there were so many foods I had to avoid. It was all new to me. Here's a list:

-Soft cheeses--During pregnancy, try to avoid Brie, goat, Camembert, feta, queso blanco, an blue or other veined varieties of cheese. The reason is that they may be unpasteurized and might contain listeria, which can trigger food poisoning. Cheeses like cheddar and Parmesan have been aged, which process kills bacteria naturally.

-Eggs--Don't avoid eggs, but we all know that can be contaminated with salmonella, which is more dangerous for pregnant women. Just make sure you eat refrigerated eggs that don't have any cracks and or have unclean shells. And, avoid runny eggs. We also aren't supposed to sample the cookie dough, but I have to admit, it is very, very hard for me to resist!!

-Deli and prepacked lunch meats--I somehow completely missed the memo on this one during my first pregnancy. Turns out they can also be contaminated with listeria if they aren't handled properly. Before eating deli or prepackaged lunch meats, make sure you heat them until they are steaming hot so you can kill the bacteria. Some meats can also be infected with toxoplasma. If the meats aren't fully cooked, it's one of the infections that can cross into the placenta.

-Some fish--There are fish that contains high levels of mercury, which is obviously bad for fetal brain development. Fish to avoid are shark, tilefish, king mackerel, swordfish, and albcore tuna. Don't think you have to stay away from all fish though. Canned tuna has very low levels of mercury and is ok once or twice a week. And salmon doesn't contain mercury. It's actually great for you during pregnancy, when your body needs a lot of omega-3 fatty acids, which it has!

-Caffeine--A 2008 study from Kaiser Permanente confirmed that high doses of caffeine daily during pregnancy can increase the risk of miscarriage. It found that women who consumed more than 200 milligrams or more of caffeine per day had twice the risk of miscarriage than women who didn't have any. So beware of coffee, tea, soda, cocoa, and energy drinks...especially during the first trimester.

-Alcohol--I think almost everyone knows this by now, but let's cover our bases just in case. Did you know that alcohol crosses into the placenta immediately? Women who drink frequently while pregnant put their child at risk of fetal alcohol syndrome, which can have mild to very severe side effects. In 2005, the US Surgeon General urged all pregnant women to avoid any alcohol.

-Soft serve ice cream--I just heard about this one a few weeks ago! I had no clue. It poses another danger when it comes to listeria. It can live in the machines that hold and serve it. Listeria can affect the placenta, amniotic fluid, and the placenta if you are infected.

With all that said...if you've had these things, don't stress. I can tell you I have enjoyed large amounts of chocolate, soft serve ice cream, cookie dough, and unheated lunch meats while pregnant, and it's all been ok. Just use caution in everything!

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Jess May 21, 2012 at 7:51 AM  

Soft serve ice cream? Never heard that before. That is probably true for frozen yogurt too, huh? I have eaten that quite a bit.

Kelly May 24, 2012 at 8:42 PM  

I'd never heard the soft serve ice cream one either. I'd never even think about that.

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