What foods to avoid during pregnancy

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More foods can affect your health or your baby's than you might realize. Find out what foods to avoid during pregnancy.

 

You want what's best for your baby. That's why you add sliced fruit to your fortified breakfast cereal top your salads with chickpeas and snack on almonds. But do you know what foods to avoid during pregnancy?

Fish

DON'T EAT

• Raw or undercooked fish or shellfish such as oysters and clams
• Fish with high levels of mercury, including shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish
• Refrigerated smoked or pickled fish that's unpasteurized, unless heated until steaming
• More than 1 serving a week of canned solid white or albacore tuna

DO
• Cook fish until opaque in the center.
• Eat up to two servings a week of low-mercury fish, such as salmon, shrimp, Pollack, or trout.

Meat & poultry

DON'T EAT
• Raw or undercooked meat or poultry
• Refrigerated meat of any kind such as ham, turkey, roast beef, hot dogs, bologna, prosciutto, pâté, etc. unless heated until steaming
• Dry, uncooked sausages, such as salami and pepperoni, unless heated until steaming hot

Eggs

DON'T EAT
• Runny or undercooked eggs
• Raw cookie dough or cake batter that contains raw eggs
• Homemade desserts or sauces that contain raw eggs such as eggnog, ice cream, custard, chocolate mousse, hollandaise sauce, béarnaise sauce, mayonnaise, and Caesar salad dressing

DO
• Cook eggs until yolks are firm.
• Use a pasteurized egg product when making food that calls for uncooked eggs.

Cheese

DON'T EAT
• Unpasteurized soft cheese such as feta, Brie, Camembert, blue-veined cheese, queso fresco, queso blanco, and queso panela

DO
• Check the label when buying soft cheese to make sure it's made with pasteurized milk.

Other foods

DON'T EAT
• Prepared salads from the deli especially if they contain eggs, chicken, ham, or seafood
• Buffet or picnic food that's been sitting out for two or more hours
• Raw sprouts or any unwashed produce, especially lettuce and cabbage

DO
• Reheat previously cooked leftovers until steaming hot
• Keep cold buffet food on ice and hot buffet food steaming hot.
• Peel fruits and vegetables or wash them well.

Beverages

DON'T DRINK
• Alcoholic beverages
• Unpasteurized milk
• Unpasteurized or fresh squeezed juice
• More than 200 mg of caffeine per day

DO
• Watch out for caffeine in tea, soft drinks, energy drinks, chocolate, and coffee ice cream.
• Wash fruit thoroughly before squeezing it for fresh juice.

Understanding what foods to avoid during pregnancy can help you make the healthiest choices for you and your baby.

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