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6 Foods to Avoid during Pregnancy


While you're pregnant, you do everything you can to be healthy for your baby. You're probably eating extra fruits and vegetables during this time, but what are some foods to avoid during pregnancy?

1. Alcohol

No amount of alcohol has proven safe for developing babies, so cut alcohol from your pregnancy diet entirely. It can increase your risk of stillbirth and miscarriage, and can lead to heart problems, low birth weight and developmental delays for your baby. If you plan to breastfeed, you'll want to continue the moratium on alcohol as it does reach your baby through breastmilk as well.

If you are concerned because you drank some alcohol before realizing you were pregnant, talk with your healthcare provider.

2. Unwashed Fruits and Vegetables

Fruits and vegetables are a wonderful food choice for pregnant women, but be sure to scrub them first to remove harmful bacteria. It's wise to also avoid sprouts of any type because they can also carry unsafe bacteria.

3. Some Meat

Most meats are excellent choices during pregnancy as protein is a prime building block for your baby's brain, but there are exceptions.

Avoid large quantities of liver. It is high in vitamin A, which can cause birth defects at high levels.

Avoid deli meats, which can be tainted with listeria. Listeria is a type of bacteria known to cause miscarriage or infection and blood poisoning in the baby. If you do eat deli meat, it is safer if heating to steaming. Listeria can also be found in pate and other meat spreads.

Thoroughly cook all the meats you eat while pregnant; undercooked meats can lead to bacterial food poisoning, which is more common during pregnancy than at other times because of changes in your metabolism and circulation.

4. Some Seafood

Seafood is full of nutrients and healthy oils, but some kinds can be dangerous when you're pregnant.

Avoid seafood high in mercury, which can damage a baby's developing nervous system. Types generally high in mercury include shark, swordfish, king mackerel and tilefish. Don't go overboard on canned, chunk light tuna, as it can be high in mercury as well.

Raw shellfish should be avoided as well, especially oysters, clams and mussels.

5. Soft Cheese

The problem with many soft cheese is that they are made with unpasteurized milk, which contain bacteria which may cause miscarriage. Cheese to avoid are brie, camembert, roquefort, feta, gorgonzola and Mexican-type cheeses including queso blanco and queso fresco. Any cheeses stating that they are made with pasteurized milk are safe.

6. Caffeine

Although safe in moderate quantities, caffeine does cross the placenta and can elevate your baby's heart rate. Large quantities of caffeine can result in lower birth weight and an increased risk of miscarriage. How much is too much? Limit your caffeine to less than 200 mg per day (this is the amount in a 12 oz. cup of brewed coffee).

The list of no-no's may seem long, but your attention to healthy eating for these 9 months will pay off.


Susan Braun is a freelance writer living with her husband, three daughters, 2 rabbits, 2 gerbils and hedgehog in Indiana.  She writes at and Associated Content.

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