What NOT to Eat When Pregnant
Depending on whom you ask, you can make yourself crazy when researching what not to eat when pregnant. For example, you may have read on the internet that you should avoid things like peanuts because of the risk of your child having a peanut allergy, while your mother may tell you, “I ate peanuts all the time and you turned out just fine.” The truth is – times have changed. We are learning more about what foods can be harmful to a growing fetus. There is a lot of misinformation available at our fingertips, however. Even doctors have different opinions regarding what not to eat when pregnant.
If you want to know what not to eat when you are pregnant, instead of believing everything that you hear, trust the advice of an experienced doctor who understands your dietary needs and beliefs. For example, if you are a vegan and your current doctor is clueless about the nutritional needs of a pregnant vegan woman, you had better switch doctors. Find someone who matches your lifestyle and who can make dietary recommendations based on the needs of you and your unborn child.
If you were to look on the internet, you could find a huge list of what not to eat when pregnant. But if you were to listen to all the advice out there, you would starve. Most doctors agree on a few basics when their patients ask them what not to eat when pregnant. Those basics include:
Caffeine has long been on the list of what not to eat when pregnant. If you cannot kick your coffee habit entirely, most doctors say one cup per day is permissible. Studies have indicated that a mother who consumes more than 200 mg of caffeine per day (about 12 ounces of coffee) has double the risk of a miscarriage, although studies are inconclusive.
No list of what not to eat when pregnant should be without alcohol. While it is common sense to most, it does not hurt to mention that a mother’s alcohol consumption can cause serious birth defects and developmental delays in her child.
Listeria monocytogenes is a type of bacteria that can contaminate certain types of food. This bacteria can cause listeriosis which is life-threatening to a fetus. The bacteria are killed when foods are heated thoroughly, however, so it is advised to thoroughly cook all meats and fish, as well as leftovers since leftovers can be breeding grounds for bacteria. Deli meats should be heated as well. Other foods to avoid include sprouts (linked to a listeria outbreak in 2008), soft cheeses, and other unpasteurized dairy products.
4. Raw Eggs, Meat and Fish
Raw eggs, meat, and fish should be avoided for the same reason as the listeria-prone foods: pregnant women are more susceptible to harmful bacteria that may be found on these items and only eliminated by heating them thoroughly.
5. Fish High in Mercury
Studies have shown that high levels of mercury in a mother’s diet can affect their growing fetus’ nervous system. Larger fish tend to have higher mercury contents than smaller fish. The list is long and detailed but if you want a basic list of what fish not to eat when pregnant, remember the four main types: shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish.
With the advice of a good doctor and a little bit of research, you can have a healthy (not hungry) pregnancy.