By Idries Abdur-Rahman, M.D., FACOG
Author, Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Pregnancy


Expecting your own bundle of joy? Check out our book is available on Amazon in both digital RIGHT HERE and print formats RIGHT HERE


So, you’ve gotten through the morning sickness phase and now those food cravings are starting to kick in. Well, the good news is that there are very few foods that pregnant women can’t have. But, if you are toting a bun around in that oven, you should be aware of the foods that every pregnant woman should absolutely avoid. So, let’s break it down:

#1). Fish and other seafood high in mercury:

Lots of people believe that you have to avoid all seafood during pregnancy, but that’s not actually true. Pregnant women should avoid fish and seafood that have high mercury content. Too much mercury can cause problems with your baby’s neurodevelopment, the development of the brain, and the nerves. So, what seafood should you avoid during pregnancy? Generally, the larger the fish, the higher the mercury content. Seafood to avoid includes Swordfish, Shark, King Mackerel, and Tilefish.


The good news is that most seafood is actually low in mercury content while being high in omega-3 fatty acids. Not only are these seafood options safe, but thanks to their high omega-3 fatty acid content, they are actually good for your developing baby. Omega-3 fatty acids help with your baby’s brain and eye development. Seafood recommended during pregnancy includes Shrimp, Salmon, Pollock, Catfish, Anchovies, Trout, Cod, Tilapia, and Light canned tuna (limit to 6oz per week).


#2). Lunchmeat, deli meat, and hot dogs:

All of these meats carry a high risk of infection with the bacteria listeria. Listeriosis, the infection caused by listeria, can cause fetal malformations and an increased risk of miscarriage, especially during the first trimester of pregnancy. Additionally, these meats contain nitrates as preservatives. Once we consume nitrates, they are converted to nitrosamines, and these compounds can also have a negative effect on a developing fetus.


#3). Unpasteurized dairy and cheese:

When it comes to these dairy products, listeria rears it’s ugly head again. Consuming unpasteurized dairy products increases the risk of listeria infection and therefore the risk of fetal malformation and miscarriage. Foods to avoid include Soft cheeses like Roquefort, Brie, Camembert, Feta, and Gorgonzola as well as Queso Blanco and Queso Fresco. You also want to avoid unpasteurized milk and products derived from unpasteurized milk.


#4). Pate and other refrigerated meat spreads:

Much like deli meat, hotdogs, and unpasteurized dairy products; pate and meat spreads also have a high risk of infection by listeria and therefore the negative effects that listeriosis infection can have on a developing fetus.


#5). Unwashed vegetables:

Any vegetables that you eat during pregnancy should be thoroughly washed especially if you are eating them raw. Unwashed vegetables are frequently contaminated with a bacterial called toxoplasma gondii. Infection with this bacteria causes a condition known as toxoplasmosis, and toxoplasmosis can cause severe physical and emotional fetal defects, especially if the infection occurs during the first trimester of pregnancy. To be safe, wash all vegetables with soap and water and limit your intake of raw vegetables at least during the first trimester.


Expecting your own bundle of joy? Check out our book is available on Amazon in both digital RIGHT HERE and print formats RIGHT HERE


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