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Tips On What Not to Eat When Pregnant


There are a few foods to avoid during pregnancy. Some foods when pregnant can actually potentially harm your baby, but others may just make you feel ill.

If you're not sure whether a food is safe, it's a good idea to avoid it before you're able to talk to your healthcare provider. However, here's a list of what not to eat when pregnant.

1. Unpasteurized cow or goat milk

Unpasteurized milk may contain a bacteria called listeria and this bacteria can harm your baby. However, most milk at the supermarket is pasteurized, which means it's completely safe for both you and your baby.

2. Some seafood

Seafood can be a safe food when pregnant, but some varieties like swordfish, shark and marlin should be avoided. Tuna can be safe in small quantities, but take care to limit it to no more than four cans or two fresh steaks a week because of concerns with mercury -- too much mercury can cause harm to your baby's nervous system. Instead, look for seafood like crab, oysters, shrimp and mussels, but make sure it is cooked all the way through. Fish like sardines, trout, salmon and mackerel is also safe as long as portions are limited to two a week.

3. Unpasteurized cheeses

Such as brie, chevre (goat cheese), camembert and Danish blue. If these cheeses are unpasteurized, they could contain listeria. If you're craving cheese while pregnant, look for pasteurized versions such as parmesan, feta, cheddar, and processed cheeses.

4. Liver and paté

Liver can contain high levels of retinol vitamin A. Retinol has been linked to birth defects, which means it's safer to avoid this food when pregnant. Additionally, patés can carry a high risk of listeria.

5. Raw or undercooked meats

Undercooked meats including fish and chicken, can leave you at a risk of contracting salmonella. Make sure that meats are cooked all the way through with no pink inside and clear juices. Sushi is also out until after baby arrives.

This also includes pre-cooked foods that aren't heated all the way through. Frozen meals and pre-cooked refrigerated foods should be heated all the way through to kill off any unsafe bacteria like listeria. These can be safe as long as they're heated until they are piping hot.

an infograph showing what foods are good and which foods are not great to eat while pregnant

6. Unwashed produce

Fruits and vegetables should be a part of your regular diet, but they should be thoroughly washed to avoid listeria or a parasite known as toxoplasmosis.

7. Raw or undercooked eggs

If your pregnancy has you craving raw cookie dough, you should avoid it or look for one that's made without eggs. Other foods to avoid during pregnancy include homemade mayonnaise and undercooked cheesecake because these can all contain raw eggs and could cause food poisoning like salmonella. Instead, look for eggs that are cooked all the way through, mayonnaise from the supermarket shelves and goodies that are fully baked. Things like crème fraiche, sour cream, and yogurt are also safe to eat.

Eating while you’re  pregnant can seem confusing and complicated. For a complete list of foods to avoid during pregnancy, talk to your healthcare provider.

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