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Foods to Avoid in Pregnancy

The food limitations are because certain toxins in foods (like mercury) can cause significant damage to your baby and food-borne viral and bacterial illnesses can be deadly to developing babies. Nasty bugs (Salmonella, Listeria, etc) that, when not pregnant, might just make you miserable with the symptoms of food poisoning, can actually cause fetal death, miscarriage, or other serious harm to your baby. So please, strictly follow the below guidelines on foods to avoid.

*This is a great guideline put together by the Mayo Clinic. This is another great pregnancy food guidelines by the March of Dimes. It also includes info on some vegetables, herbals, etc.

• Dairy Products and Juices

  • Avoid any unpasteurized cheeses, milks, and juices
  • Check labels to confirm pasteurization, if no label (at a restaurant, potluck, family gathering without packages available)- AVOID
  • What are we worried about? Bacteria that doesn’t get killed off (and would, in the pasteurization process)
  • GUILTY CULPRITS: soft cheeses like Brie, feta, blue, etc, apple cider (especially from the local cider mill) and other fruits juices
  • Always be sure to check the label yourself

• Meat, Poultry, Eggs

  • AVOID any uncooked or undercooked meats
  • What are we worried about? Bacteria!
  • This means cook all hot dogs and lunch meats until they are steaming or avoid all together
  • Cook all meat until it is well done by thermometer
  • Mind how it’s been handled, how long it’s been out of refrigeration, etc
  • Avoid pates and meat spreads
  • Cook all eggs (yolk and eggwhite) until they are firm
  • Avoid raw dough and batter

• Seafood

  • AVOID any uncooked or undercooked fish or seafood (sorry, sushi!) What we’re concerned about? Bacteria!
  • Mind how it’s been handled, how long it’s been out of refrigeration, etc
  • Cooked fish- what we’re concerned about? Mercury!
  • AVOID: swordfish, shark, king mackerel and tilefish
  • LIMIT: (6 oz/week): albacore tuna, tuna steak
  • ENJOY (2 meals/wk): salmon, polluck, catfish, anchovies, trout, cooked shrimp and other seafood