Having a healthy diet is vital during pregnancy. Optimal nutrition can help a person meet the increased physical demands of pregnancy and help the fetus develop.
During pregnancy, it's wise to avoid some foods completely (we're looking at you, deli egg salad). But many other foods that are otherwise unsafe for pregnancy are actually fine if you take a few precautions, like cooking them thoroughly. You'll want to steer clear of raw or undercooked meat, poultry, eggs, fish, and shellfish, as well as unpasteurized dairy products and juice. But go ahead and enjoy fresh-baked cookies and a hot dog that's been heated to steaming hot. Here's more specific guidance on foods to avoid or eat with caution when pregnant:
Caffeine can travel through the placenta and increase your baby’s heart rate.
Current research suggests that women can safely consume a cup or two of coffee each day, but forego downing a triple-shot latte while you’re carrying.
2. Raw eggs
This includes foods that contain raw eggs, so be wary of homemade Caesar dressings, Hollandaise sauces, mayonnaise, and certain custards. Raw eggs can pose a risk of salmonella.
Babies born to women who smoke during pregnancy are more likelyTrusted Source to have a lower birth weight and are at a greater risk for learning disabilities than children born to nonsmoking mothers.
Additionally, children born to women who smoke are more likely to try smoking at a younger age and become regular smokers earlier, due to physiologic nicotine addiction.
4. raw meat
Raw and undercooked meat and eggs carry the risk of foodborne illness, such as listeriosis and toxoplasmosis. Food poisoning is also a possibility.
These conditions can cause serious, life-threatening illnesses that could lead to severe birth defects and even miscarriage. Make sure all eggs and meat that you eat while pregnant are well-cooked.
It’s advised to completely avoid drinking alcohol when pregnant, as it increases the risk of miscarriage and stillbirth Even a small amount can negatively impact your baby’s brain development.
Drinking alcohol during pregnancy can also cause fetal alcohol syndrome, which involves facial deformities, heart defects and intellectual disability.
Since no level of alcohol has been proven to be safe during pregnancy, it’s recommended to avoid it altogether.
Symptoms of FAS include:
low birth weight
lagging patterns in terms of growth and development milestones
Even small amounts of alcohol can be a problem. There appears to be no safe level of alcohol intake in pregnancy.
If you need help stopping drinking while you’re pregnant, talk with your doctor as soon as possible. The sooner you get help, the healthier your baby is likely to be.
The bottom line
When you’re pregnant, it’s essential to avoid foods and beverages that may put you and your baby at risk.
Although most foods and beverages are perfectly safe to enjoy, some, like raw fish, unpasteurized dairy, alcohol, and high mercury fish, should be avoided.
Plus, some foods and beverages like coffee and foods high in added sugar, should be limited in order to promote a healthy pregnancy.
If you want to learn more about what foods you should eat during pregnancy, check out this article: Healthy Eating During Pregnancy.
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