As you start your pregnancy journey, getting the right nutrients is important for a healthy mama and baby. While you start increasing the amount of nourishing foods in your diet, you may also want to consider cutting some foods out. These foods can either be harmful to the baby while you're pregnant, or may have other adverse effects you will want to consider.
Here are the top 10 foods to avoid during pregnancy.
1. Raw and unpasteurized foodsAccording to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), undercooked beef or poultry should be avoided due to the risk of contamination with coliform bacteria, toxoplasmosis and salmonella. If contracted, the baby can then be susceptible to foreign bacteria as well, leading to effects such as low birth weight, jaundice and other serious complications. Raw and unpasteurized foods to avoid include:
- unpasteurized dairy or juice
- raw seafood (like sushi, oysters, and mussels)
- raw eggs (and foods that contain raw eggs like cookie dough and salad dressings)
- raw meats
2. Deli meats, unless heated per USDA guidelinesDeli meats can contain listeria, a bacteria found in contaminated water and soil. If contracted while pregnant, it could cause a miscarriage or premature birth. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) suggests cooking hot dogs, luncheon meats, bologna, or other deli meats until steaming hot or reaching a safe temperature of 165 °F (73.9 °C) as measured with a food thermometer.
3. Unwashed produceFruits and veggies are essential to a balanced diet, but make sure you're washing them well before eating to avoid exposure to harmful bacteria like toxoplasmosis and listeria. For more information on how to properly wash produce, check out these tips recommended by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
4. Precut fruit that's been sitting out or fresh-squeezed juiceFruit that's been sitting out and anything unpasteurized are ripe conditions for potential bacteria growth.
5. SproutsThis goes for all types of sprouts, such as alfalfa, radish, clover and mung bean. Sprouts need warm and humid conditions to grow, conditions that are also perfect for bacteria such as listeria, E. Coli and salmonella. These bacterias could cause harm to a fetus.
6. Soft cheesesSoft cheese may contain listeria, which can be harmful. Cheese to avoid include:
- queso blanco/fresco (unless made from pasteurized milk)
7. High-mercury fishMercury consumed during pregnancy has been linked to some congenital issues, such as developmental delay and brain damage. Fish that have high mercury levels include:
- king mackerel
- orange roughy
- ahi tuna
- bigeye tuna