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A Comprehensive List of Off-Limit Foods When You're Pregnant

A Comprehensive List of Off-Limit Foods When You're Pregnant

Balanced nutrition is vital for everyone at all times, but it is even more crucial when you’re pregnant. 

Making smart food choices can help you have a healthy pregnancy and delivery. While you need more of certain nutrients like iron and folate, you should avoid certain foods altogether to protect you and your baby. 

At the Center for Women’s Health in Wichita, Kansas, we’re dedicated to supporting women and helping you thrive. We provide top-quality obstetrics care to support you throughout your pregnancy. 

As you start your journey through pregnancy, you need regular prenatal visits, which gives us the opportunity to monitor your pregnancy.  

Most foods and beverages are safe to eat during pregnancy. But there are certain foods to steer clear of. We’ve put together a helpful list of foods to avoid during pregnancy. Our board-certified OB/GYN, Sharon Breit, MD, is happy to discuss prenatal nutrition with you. 

Raw sprouts

Your healthy salad option may contain some rogue components. Salmonella can be found in raw sprouts such as alfalfa, clover, radish, and mung bean sprouts. These bacteria thrive in the humid atmosphere that seeds require to sprout, and they're tough to get rid of. 

As a result, you should avoid raw sprouts. Cooked sprouts, on the other hand, are safe to eat. 

Deli meat

Deli meats can be contaminated with the listeria bacteria, which can cause a miscarriage and may cross the placenta and cause a serious infection. It’s best to avoid deli meats while pregnant. 

You may also notice some deli meat at your local grocer labeled “natural.” While this sounds better, it’s still a good idea to avoid all deli meats.  

High mercury fish

Fish that has a high mercury content is linked to disruptions in fetal development, so you should avoid it when you’re pregnant. Red-flag fish are:

Safe fish to eat during pregnancy are:

Canned chunk light tuna is lower in mercury, but you should still only eat it in moderation. 

Smoked seafood

Avoid refrigerated smoked seafood, such as lox, nova style, or kippered, due to the risk of listeria contamination. (These are safe to consume when used as an ingredient in a prepared meal.) 

The red-flag smoked seafood is usually found in the deli department of your local supermarket. Canned smoked seafood is safe to eat. 

Food made with raw eggs

Because of the risk of salmonella infection, avoid raw eggs and dishes made with raw eggs. Some examples include mayonnaise, custards, and hollandaise sauces. If the recipe is cooked at some stage, the risk of salmonella infection is reduced.

Pasteurized eggs are used in commercial ice cream, sauces, and eggnog, and they do not increase the danger of salmonella. 

Raw and undercooked seafood

Always avoid raw and undercooked seafood while pregnant. There is a risk of contamination from salmonella, coliform bacteria, and the parasitic infection toxoplasmosis.

Undercooked shellfish, such as oysters, clams, and mussels, are responsible for the majority of seafood-borne illnesses. Cooking can prevent some diseases, but it doesn't protect you against the algae-related ailments that are linked to red tides. 

Soft cheeses

Listeria bacteria may be present in imported soft cheeses like brie, camembert, roquefort, feta, and gorgonzola, as well as Mexican-style cheeses like queso blanco. Check food labels to ensure that any cheese you eat is made from pasteurized milk. 

Unpasteurized fruit juice

Pass up the fresh squeezed juice at your local grocer and farm stand. Unpasteurized juice carries a risk of food poisoning from pathogens like E. coli and salmonella. 

In some markets, raw, unpasteurized juice is sold in the refrigerated section; look for the required warning notice. Opt for pasteurized juice, and check labels to ensure you avoid unpasteurized juices.

Eating well helps you meet the extra demands on your body during pregnancy and is one of the best ways to support a healthy pregnancy. 

Our experts at the Center for Women’s Health provide a full spectrum of obstetrics and gynecological care. For all of your OB/GYN needs, call our office to schedule your appointment or request a visit through this website. We offer in-person and telehealth visits.

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