Nancy Baker Co-Founder of Childmode.com shares tips on how to eat safely while pregnant

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What Not to Eat When You’re Pregnant

A few things might stress you out during pregnancy, but eating shouldn’t be one of these things. However, pregnancy attracts all sorts of unsolicited advice on what you should and shouldn’t eat from family, friends, and sometimes even total strangers.

All the information on what is and is not safe for pregnant women can be enough to confuse you. Even so, eating healthy during pregnancy should be paramount. To ease the confusion, here is a list of foods to avoid and limit during pregnancy:

Foods Not To Eat During Pregnancy

Some foods are okay to consume when you're not pregnant but should be off-limits when one is pregnant. As a result of being pregnant, women experience changes to their immune systems that make them more vulnerable to food-borne diseases.

What could only lead to a stomach upset before could induce severe complications during pregnancy, such as dehydration, preterm labor, and sometimes miscarriages. 

Raw Eggs

Raw eggs contain Salmonella, a bacterium that can cause vomiting, fever, and diarrhea in pregnant women. Pregnant women should watch out for anything that contains raw eggs such as homemade eggnog, Caesar salad dressing, soft scrambled or sunny-side-up eggs, and raw cookie dough.

However, pregnant women can avoid any risk by making sure eggs are well-cooked before consumption. Both the yolk and white should be fully-cooked.

Unpasteurized Juice

Pregnant women should stay away from juices sold at farm stands like cider because they may not have been pasteurized. Pasteurization helps kill any toxins or bacteria in the juice.

Though most of the juices and milk sold in stores today have been pasteurized, some brands on shelves still haven’t. Hence, before making a purchase, read the labels.

Sushi

While excluding California rolls and other cooked items, sushi shouldn't be consumed by pregnant women as it may contain parasites that could induce particular illness and in extreme cases, a miscarriage.

Fish

Fish with high levels of mercury should be shunned during pregnancy. Methyl-mercury is a pollutant that could affect the baby's nervous system. Avoid all large fish species that live longer like shark, swordfish, and tilefish, because they accumulate more mercury in their flesh.

Most types of fish have traces of mercury, and so you might have to limit your weekly fish consumption. According to the FDA, you can enjoy 12 ounces of lower-mercury fish per week like catfish, salmon, shrimp, Pollack, and canned light tuna.

Foods to Limit During Pregnancy

Consume these foods in small amounts, avoid going overboard:

Nitrate-rich Foods

Go easy on hot dogs and cured meats like sausage and bacon and always eat them cooked. These foods contain nitrates, additives that have been linked to possible brain tumors, and diabetes. 

Hence, it makes sense to limit how much you eat these foods since they aren't of high nutritional value anyway. Limit diet sodas as well because they contain saccharin, an artificial sweetener that could potentially cross the placenta.

Caffeine

Caffeine is not harmful to pregnant women when taken in moderate amounts. Pregnant should limit their caffeine intake to 300mg per day.

Alcohol

We recommend avoiding alcohol while pregnant all-together. However, an occasional drink is considered okay. However, heavy drinking could lead to Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, which causes a host of abnormalities and mental retardation.

Some researchers have linked even moderate drinking to cause subtle physical and mental damage, hence to be safe, steer clear of it.

While avoiding and limiting some of these foods, make sure to make fruits and vegetables a staple in your diet. During pregnancy, focus on consuming foods that are rich in vitamins and fiber but with precautions.

Always thoroughly wash vegetables to wash away any potential traces of E. coli or Salmonella. Wash the outside of fruits as well, even if you don't intend to eat the skin. This will help avoid dragging any germ into the flesh when cutting fruits and vegetables. Visit Chilmode to learn more.

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