10 foods to avoid during pregnancy

May 06, 2016

When you're pregnant, there's a long list of things you can't do any more. At the top of that list is your own diet. When you're responsible for another life inside you, there are foods you have to avoid lest you risk impairing its development and overall health. Some of the foods might be a bit of a bummer, but you have to keep reminding yourself: It's only nine months. You can do it!

In the meantime, if you have any questions about what foods you should avoid, just consult this list:

1. Cheese made from unpasteurized milk 
Avoiding cheese might be tough news for some - who doesn't love a good baked brie? - but Foodsafety.gov explained that soft, unpasteurized cheeses are a no-go. The source explains that this is because these cheeses might still harbor bacteria like E. coli or Listeria - and you don't need to get sick with either of those. This means no cheeses like brie, feta or quesos. Fortunately, not all cheese is banned - just check the label and make sure it's made from pasteurized milk - like cheddar or Swiss - and you should be safe.

2. Raw meats
Okay, so avoiding raw meats probably seems like a given, but here's why: Uncooked or undercooked meats and seafoods haven't been cooked at a high enough temperature to burn off any bacteria that could get you and your newborn really sick. Skip the sushi or you could risk consuming coliform bacteria, parasites and salmonella, reports the American Pregnancy Association. 

3. Deli meats
On the same note, deli meats should be avoided if possible as well. This is because these meats could potentially have Listeria, which the APA says causes miscarriages, or blood-poisoning of the baby. 

"Be sure you aren't consuming anything with raw eggs."

4. Runny eggs
Be careful - eggs are good to eat, but only under a couple of conditions, explains Baby Center. Much like cheese, eggs are safest to consume if they are pasteurized. And like meat, eggs must be cooked thoroughly - avoid runny, undercooked egg yokes otherwise you risk Salmonella. Also be sure you aren't consuming anything with raw eggs. Cookie dough, cake batter and dessert sauces like custard, or eggnog don't show obvious signs of uncooked egg, but you know it's there!

5. Unpasteurized juices or cider
The theme of this list is "unpasteurized," isn't it? Again, consuming juices or ciders that haven't been pasteurized put you at risk for E. coli. But if you're craving your favorite juices and you can't find them in the pasteurized persuasion, Foodsafety.gov explains that you could bring them to a boil for a minute before you drink up. 

Yes, you even have to monitor your coffee intake!Yes, you even have to monitor your coffee intake!

6. Caffeine
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news - but the APA reports that caffeine is thought to be a cause of miscarriage. It should especially be avoided during the first trimester, says the source, but if you have intense cravings, after that the rule is to cap yourself at 200 mg per day.

7. Unwashed vegetables
Yes, you should be getting ample amounts of fruits and vegetables into your diet, but the APA warns against eating them before a thorough washing. This is because they could have come in contact with Toxoplasmosis, parasites that is the leading cause of death from foodborne illnesses.

8. Shellfish
Raw shellfish like oysters and clams have the potential to contain the Vibrio bacteria, which according to Foodsafety.gov can cause some serious digestive issues, that can turn into life-threatening complications. But if you must get your seafood fix, make sure they're thoroughly cooked to kill off any unwanted bacteria!

9. Ice cream
Unfortunately, ice cream is on the do-not-consume list as well. This is because your favorite treat might contain raw egg, which as you know might contain Salmonella. Again, be sure to read labels closely and only pick up frozen treats with pasteurized ingredients just to be on the safe side!

10. Salads 
Salads that weren't made directly in front of you should be off limits. You don't know how it was prepared and it could contain ingredients like unwashed vegetables - which you now know can be dangerous. Foodsafety.gov explains that you should stick to making your own salads, so you can give everything a thorough wash and prepare everything on it's own surface to avoid cross contamination. 

Overall, go with your growing gut - if you have any doubts about some food, just skip it!

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