For all the comedy that has been made over the years about pregnant women and cravings, it is absolutely true diet is a vital concern for the pregnant mother. Ultimately, what she eats is also feeding – or potentially harming – the child growing within her. Along with knowing what nutrient to add to meals, it’s important to know what not to eat. So what food should be avoided?
Soft cheeses, such as Brie – Why? As they contain more moisture and lower acidity than harder cheeses, they can become a breeding ground for bacteria. The bacteria in turn can cause listeria, resulting in miscarriage or stillbirth.
Avoid liver — Other kinds of meat are all right, but liver runs the same risk of listeria as soft cheese. Avoiding liver also means avoiding liver based patés.
Cut back on coffee and tea. – 200mg of caffeine is the limit, which is one mug of brewed coffee or five cups of tea. The reason is that high caffeine intakes have been linked to lower birth weights.
No raw eggs or raw fish – The rationale should be fairly obvious. Again, it is the risk of harmful bacteria being ingested and passed on to baby.
Raw cookie dough or cake batter — No, the spoon cannot be licked! Raw batter or dough is a breeding ground for salmonella. (This one is probably the hardest to avoid when having cravings.)
Eggnog – Look out for this one over Christmas. Homemade eggnog may contain uncooked eggs.
Turkey and stuffing – Another Yuletide risk. If the bird and stuffing have both been heated to a temperature of 165˚ Fahrenheit, both are acceptable. In fact, memorize that 165˚ as a safety zone. All fish, flesh and fowl eaten during pregnancy should be heated to that temperature.
Unpasteurized juices – Processed juices contain their own risks in terms of unreasonably high levels of white sugar. However, even if one makes juice at home, do boil it first, then chill.
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