Foods To Avoid During Pregnancy

Young pregnant woman eating vegetable salad

Pregnancy is an exciting time in every woman’s life when they get the chance to experience the miracle of growing a new being inside them. It can sometimes feel confusing and overwhelming trying to figure out what foods to avoid to prevent potential dangers for your baby. If you find yourself in this position, don’t worry, you’re not alone. This article cuts through the junk and tells you precisely what not to eat during your pregnancy. You don’t need to play the guessing game anymore. Keep your baby and yourself safe with this list of foods to avoid during pregnancy. 

  1. Large Fish Species

Fish can be an excellent way to introduce omega-3 and vitamins D and B3 to your diet. However, they are known to have high levels of mercury, which can be harmful to developing babies. The larger the fish, the higher the mercury levels they contain. For this reason, the American Pregnancy Association recommends avoiding large species entirely while pregnant to keep your little one safe. Fish you should not eat are:

  • Bigeye Tuna
  • King Mackeral
  • Marlin
  • Orange Roughy
  • Swordfish
  • Shark
  • Tilefish

It is also important to note you should never eat raw or undercooked seafood while pregnant. No matter how strong your sushi cravings get, it’s best to wait until after delivery to satisfy them. 

  1. Undercooked Meat Or Eggs

Meat contains many harmful bacteria that the cooking process eliminates. It’s essential to make sure that you cook every piece of meat you eat thoroughly. For beef, pork, lamb, and veal, the internal temperature should be 160 degrees Fahrenheit or 72 degrees Celsius. Poultry, chicken, duck, and turkey should reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit or 74 degrees Celsius. 

You should also cook hot dogs and luncheon meats until they are steaming, or avoid them altogether due to their high levels of nitrates, nitrites, and sulfates. Avoiding refrigerated pates and meats is recommended unless they are in a sealed can. It’s also important to cook eggs until the whites are completely opaque before eating. 

  1. Unpasteurized Food

All unpasteurized foods, including unpasteurized juices, can contain harmful bacteria and should not be eaten. Soft cheeses are the most commonly found  and include:

  • Brie
  • Blue Cheese
  • Feta

It is important to note that some of these soft cheeses may be pasteurized. Always check the label as the pasteurized choices are safe. 

  1. Unwashed Fruits And Vegetables

Fruits and vegetables can contain an insane amount of germs and bacteria from the shipping process and possible pesticide use while growing. Make sure to wash every one you eat, regardless of whether you will cook them or not. An easy and inexpensive way to do this is by soaking them in a bowl with water and a few splashes of white vinegar for about five minutes and then rinsing. If you prefer, you can also buy vegetable wash; both work equally well and will get rid of anything harmful on your produce. 

  1. Caffeine

Caffeine is always one of the hardest things to take out of your diet. Some doctors will allow up to 200mg of caffeine a day in their pregnant patients, but you should always talk to your doctor first before consuming this amount. Caffeine is a stimulant, which increases your heart rate and blood pressure, which can be dangerous during pregnancy. It’s also a diuretic, so it will increase urination which may cause dehydration. It’s best to cut out caffeine entirely for your safety as well as your baby’s. 

  1. Herbal Teas

There haven’t been many studies on the effect of different herbal teas on developing babies, which makes it a good thing to avoid while pregnant. You can consult with your doctor to see if he clears them, but it’s best not to take the risk until then.

  1. Alcohol

There is no safe amount of alcohol you can consume while pregnant. Drinking alcohol can have devastating effects on developing babies, including fetal alcohol syndrome and delayed development. Pregnant women should never drink alcohol, period. 

During pregnancy, having peace of mind is priceless, and knowing which foods to avoid can take the guesswork out of meal planning. You should not eat large fish species or consume raw seafood, undercooked meat, unpasteurized juice or cheese, unwashed produce, caffeine, herbal teas, or alcohol. If you have any questions about the foods you should avoid, don’t hesitate to speak to your doctor. Pregnancy is beautiful, and with the correct knowledge, you can enjoy it with confidence.