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Foods To Avoid While Pregnant

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Foods To Avoid While Pregnant

It is extremely important for mothers to eat healthy and safely throughout the duration of their pregnancy to help ensure that mommy and baby turn out alright. Make sure to always consult with your physician for a detailed meal plan. Also, get professional advice on what you should not consume.

Here are some common foods to avoid while pregnant.

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Lunch meats and unpasteurized dairy items are foods to avoid while pregnant

Hot dogs, deli meats, or unpasteurized milk all are prone to be a breeding ground for the bacteria listeria monocytogenes, which can cause listeriosis. Miscarriages, stillbirths, and other serious problems that can be the result of listeriosis. The risk of this bacteria has been the topic of debate. A big question is if this bacteria is high enough to really be a concern, or is it better to be on the safe side and substitute a non-meat alternative from your local grocery store’s health food section when a craving hits. It is also important to stay away from smoked seafood (like lox) and cheeses that contain unpasteurized milk, like brie, feta, and Camembert.

Raw or under-cooked food

Sashimi (raw fish), raw oysters, and homemade eggnog all fall under the list of foods that can harbor serious bacteria, viruses, or parasites. Therefore these foods should be avoided. To make sure your food is cooked thoroughly test meat with a food thermometer and cook eggs until the yolk is hard. When baking, remember not to eat the cookie dough with raw egg in it, as tempting as it may be.

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Certain fish

Specifically, fish is one of the foods to avoid while pregnant, since they contain high levels of mercury that can damage your child’s growing brain and nervous system. Larger fish like sharks, swordfish, tilefish, and king mackerel tend to have higher levels of mercury and should be avoided. Not all types of fish need to be avoided though, since the FDA says it is safe for pregnant and nursing women to eat up to 12 ounces of seafood that has low levels of mercury. This list includes salmon (farmed and wild), shrimp, canned light tuna, pollock, sardines, tilapia, and catfish. Since albacore (white) tuna has higher levels of mercury than canned light tuna, it is recommended only to eat 6 ounces of this fish (included in the 12 weekly ounces). It is also important to be vigilant of where the fish was caught; since rivers, ponds, lakes, and streams tend to have higher levels of pollutants than oceans or bays.

Too much chocolate

This is a difficult selection on the foods to avoid while pregnant list: chocolate! For those mothers-to-be who have a giant sweet tooth, chocolate is not off the list, but it should be consumed in moderation due to its caffeine content. Numerous studies have shown that caffeine can put you and your baby at risk for birth defects, premature labor, preterm delivery, and various other reproductive problems. It is recommended that 200 mg of caffeine maximum should be consumed daily, so just make sure not to overdue it.

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Too many extra calories

It may be tempting to give in to those pregnancy cravings and eat your weight in junk food, but it is important to do so only in moderation. Gaining too much weight during pregnancy puts your own health at risk for illnesses like high blood pressure, which can lead to gestational diabetes, overdue (delayed) pregnancy, labor issues, risk of miscarriage, various infections, preeclampsia, and also higher risk of emergency c-section. Your baby can be at risk for being born overweight (with a higher chance of having childhood obesity), as well as chronic conditions such as heart disease later in life, and being born with birth defects. Each women’s pregnancy weight requirements are different, so make sure to check with your primary doctor to see what is a healthy calorie intake for your specific situation.

Featured photo credit: Flickr via flickr.com

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