Top Foods to Avoid When You’re Pregnant

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When you’re pregnant, the cravings you experience may include foods and beverages you really shouldn’t consume. While maintaining a healthy diet is important at all times, it’s never more critical than when you’re carrying a child. During this period, your immune system is more susceptible to dangerous bacteria and food-borne illnesses. As a result, there are certain foods you should avoid during pregnancy.

Seafood

Seafood is especially risky. Raw oysters and other uncooked seafood should be saved for after-delivery meals, as should fish that contain high levels of mercury, sushi, smoked seafood and raw shellfish. Since these items could be contaminated with listeria or algae-related infections, expectant mothers should stay away from them.

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Soft Cheese

Got a hankering for Brie or feta as an appetizer or to top your salad? Imported soft cheeses like these, including Roquefort, Gorgonzola and Mexican-style versions, may contain listeria since they’re often made with unpasteurized milk. Pregnant women should avoid these delicious foods unless they clearly state that they were made with pasteurized milk. In that case, they’re safe to eat.


Undercooked Meat

Every so often, a juicy hamburger sounds like a treat. If you like your red meat medium rare, however, it may be a good idea to ask for it medium well. Raw or under-cooked meat or poultry is dangerous for expectant mothers, as is refrigerated meat of any kind, including deli meats and hot dogs unless they’re cooked until steaming.

Caffeine

Many doctors will say a small intake of caffeine won’t hurt pregnant women, but it’s important to avoid beverages containing the stimulant in the first trimester. Since caffeine is a diuretic, it eliminates fluid from the body. Too much can result in water and calcium loss, a bad sign for both mothers and their unborn children. Moms should drink plenty of water, juice and milk to ensure they’re hydrated.