Bad Foods for Pregnancy

By: Women's Care Staff

If you follow our blog regularly, you know the importance of a healthy pregnancy diet. By eating well-balanced meals comprised of necessary nutrients and avoiding the bad foods for pregnancy, you’re giving your baby the best chance for a healthy start.

So what constitutes an unhealthy pregnancy diet? Poor food choices before conception make for even poorer options when nurturing your growing baby. No one needs fried, fatty fast foods. However, some foods can be even more harmful and should be avoided completely when you’re expecting.

Check out this list of foods to avoid when pregnant:

Deli meat

No pastrami? That’s no baloney. Deli meats can be contaminated with harmful listeria, which can lead to multiple complications for you and your baby. These include:

  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Blood infections
  • Even miscarriage

If you do choose to eat deli meat, heat it until it’s a steaming 165 degrees Fahrenheit to kill off any bacteria. The same goes for hotdogs!

Unpasteurized foods

Listeria can also be found in unpasteurized milk and soft, unpasteurized cheeses such as brie, gorgonzola, queso Blanco, and Roquefort. Make sure all of your dairy is pasteurized. When it comes to juices, fresh squeezed is delicious, but it can be dangerous if you don’t know how long it’s been away from the fruit. So unless you plan on squeezing your own and drinking it right away, stick with pasteurized juices.

Pate and meat spread

Can listeria be found in other foods? You bet. Refrigerated pate and meat spreads can also contain harmful bacteria. However, canned versions of these should be safe to eat.

Undercooked meat and poultry

A rare steak may sound delicious. However, nothing is appetizing about E. coli, salmonella, or Toxoplasma gondii. Any of these bacteria or parasites can cause serious harm to fetal development. Be sure to follow the FDA’s guidelines and cook all poultry and meats to safe temperatures.

Raw stuff

You’ll want to think twice about eating raw foods during pregnancy. Raw eggs carry the risk of salmonella. Raw sprouts can carry bacteria. Lastly, unwashed raw fruits and vegetables (yes, even fruits and veggies!) can harbor listeria.

But before you bypass the apples or asparagus, remember they’re essential components of a healthy pregnancy diet. Just be sure to wash all fruits and veggies thoroughly before eating.

And finally, a word about fish: when it comes to fish, safety should be priority number one (sorry sushi). The FDA has put out a useful chart on pregnancy dietary restrictions involving fish. It helps you determine which are your best choices and how frequently you can eat them safely.

Fish is an excellent source of quality protein and can offer many developmental benefits. The point isn’t to avoid all fish; it’s to become aware of the fish that can be harmful. Only some fish are categorized in the bad foods for pregnancy list. Because while tilefish, swordfish, and king mackerel have among the highest levels of mercury, a dangerous element that could affect the development of your baby’s nervous system, other fish like salmon and anchovies can offer significant nutrition.

Avoiding fish altogether is one of the common myths of pregnancy diets. The protein is a delicious way to boost your Omega-3 fatty acids. Guiding expectant mothers towards a well-balanced diet — and learning what not to eat when pregnant — is part of the patient-doctor relationship at Women’s Care.

You can read more about common myths about pregnancy and nutrition on our website. Or, schedule an appointment with your Women’s Care physician to discuss a healthy eating plan for you and your growing baby.

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