Foods to Avoid in Pregnancy

Unfortunately, while you are pregnant it may be necessary for you to make some dietary changes. To keep you and your baby healthy, you should keep in mind the foods to avoid in pregnancy. This post lists the foods to stay away from and explains why it is necessary to do so.

If you have any further questions contact the office at (502) 895-6559 or email our OB nurse.

Raw meat: Avoid uncooked seafood and undercooked beef or poultry due to risk of bacterial contaminations called, toxoplasmosis and salmonella.

Fish with mercury: Avoid fish with high levels of mercury including shark, swordfish, king mackerel and tilefish. For other fish, limit consumption to two servings (about 12 ounces) per week.

Smoked seafood/meats: Refrigerated, smoked seafood should be avoided due to risks of listeria contamination.

Raw shellfish: This includes clams, oysters, and mussels, all of which can cause bacterial infections. Cooked shrimp is safe.

Raw eggs: Raw eggs or any foods containing raw eggs can be contaminated with salmonella. This includes some homemade caesar dressings, mayonnaise, and homemade ice cream. Cook eggs thoroughly, until the yolk is firm.

Soft cheeses: imported soft cheeses like brie, feta, goat cheese, havarti and camembert may contain listeria. Soft cheeses made with pasteurized milk are safe.

Unpasteurized milk: May contain listeria which can lead to miscarriage.

Pate: Refrigerated pate or meat spreads should be avoided due to risks of listeria.

Caffeine: Limit caffeine intake: 200 mg or the equivalent of 1 cup of coffee a day or less. Excess caffeine may be associated with miscarriage, premature birth, low birth weight, and withdrawal symptoms in infants.

Unwashed vegetables: Wash all vegetables well to avoid exposure to toxoplasmosis which may contaminate the soil where vegetables are grown.

Additional tips

Avoid spilling fluids from raw meat and hotdog packages on other foods, utensils, and food preparation surfaces.

Wash hands after handling hot dogs, luncheon meats, delicatessen meats, and raw meat (such as, chicken, turkey or seafood or their juices.)

All luncheon meats should be heated until steaming.

Special Concerns

Vegetarian diets: Be sure you are getting enough protein, at least 75 grams daily. You will probably need to take supplements, especially iron, B12 and vitamin D.

Lactose intolerance: During pregnancy, symptoms of lactose intolerance often improve. If you are still having problems after eating or drinking dairy products, talk with us. We may prescribe calcium supplements if you cannot get enough calcium from other foods. Remember, calcium can also be found in cheese, yogurt, sardines, certain types of salmon, spinach, and fortified orange juice.

Artificial Sweeteners: These are OK to use but we would recommend limiting it to 1-2 servings per day. If you have diabetes, the artificial sweeteners are better than sugar to help control your blood sugars. Only use Truvia, Stevia, Equal or Splenda.