When you’re pregnant, it’s important to eat healthy and avoid certain foods that can harm the baby. For instance, some types of fish contain high levels of mercury which is toxic to both mother and fetus. Below are some foods that should be avoided by pregnant women for various reasons.
Raw or undercooked meat
Raw or undercooked meat can contain harmful bacteria that can cause food poisoning. Pregnant women are especially susceptible to food poisoning and should avoid eating any raw meat, poultry, or seafood.
Unpasteurized milk and dairy products may contain harmful bacteria such as listeria which can cause miscarriage, stillbirth, premature labor, or serious illness in the baby.
Caffeine can cross the placenta and increase the risk of miscarriage or low birth weight babies. Pregnant women should limit their caffeine intake to 200 mg per day (about one 12 oz cup of coffee).
Certain types of fish
Certain types of fish should be avoided because they contain high levels of mercury which is toxic to both mother and fetus. Mercury can damage the developing brain and nervous system of the baby. Some fish that contain high levels of mercury include swordfish, tilefish, shark, king mackerel, and largemouth bass.
Alcohol can harm the baby’s development and should be avoided altogether during pregnancy.
Raw sprouts can contain harmful bacteria such as E. coli which can cause food poisoning. Pregnant women are especially susceptible to food poisoning and should avoid eating any raw sprouts.
Foods that should be eaten when pregnant
Certain foods are especially important during pregnancy. For instance, eating calcium-rich foods can help the baby’s bones develop properly. Other foods to eat when pregnant include iron-rich vegetables and fruits, whole grains, nuts, poultry with skin removed (to avoid consuming harmful bacteria), eggs safely cooked until firm or hard boiled for up to one month after conception (avoid soft scrambled eggs).
It’s also important to drink plenty of fluids, especially water, when pregnant. Pregnant women should aim to drink at least eight glasses of water per day. And lastly, be sure to get enough protein and vitamin C—both are essential for a healthy pregnancy. Consult with your doctor or nutritionist about the best diet for you during pregnancy.