10 Dangerous Foods All Pregnant Women Should Avoid
1. Feta Cheese
Feta is a popular form of cheese, used in many salads and pastas and adored by food connoisseurs all over the world. Unfortunately, this type of cheese (along with other soft, unpasteurized cheese which we talk about later in this article) has been linked to foodborne illnesssuch as Listeriosis. Avoid any cheeses that have “unpasteurized” on the label and opt for safer choices like mozzarella cheese instead.
2. King Mackerel
King mackerel may be a healthy source of omega-3 fatty acids for average individuals but the high level of mercury in this particular fish (and a few others on our list) can be potentially dangerous to your unborn baby. Too much mercury can damage your baby’s developing nervous system.
3. Caffeinated Coffee/Tea/Pop
The amount of caffeine a pregnant woman can safely consume has been widely argued by many experts. Caffeine can cross the placenta and affect your baby’s heart rate. Common sources of caffeine include, but are not limited to, coffee, tea and pop. Many doctors recommend that pregnant women consume no more than 200 milligrams of caffeine per day. On average, an 8-ounce cup of coffee contains approximately 95 milligrams of caffeine, an 8-ounce cup of tea contains about 47 milligrams and and a 12-ounce pop contains about 29 milligrams. If you’re unsure about how much caffeine is safe, it’s best to avoid it altogether until you talk to your doctor.
4. Brie Cheese
Brie cheese, similar to feta cheese, is commonly unpasteurized and can pose potential health risks to you and your unborn baby. These types of soft cheeses are commonly linked to foodborne illnesses such as Listeriosis. Listeriosis can be incredibly dangerous for pregnant women. Even a mild form of this infection can lead to miscarriage, stillbirth or severe illness in newborn babies. Always check the label and avoid any foods that indicate that they are “unpasteurized.
5. Deli Meats
Processed deli meats should be avoided during pregnancy. These meats have been linked to Listeriosis – a dangerous foodborne illness that can cause miscarriage, severe illness and even stillbirths. Foods in this category include any processed deli meats (ham, turkey, chicken, salami etc) as well as uncooked hot dogs and bologna. Either cook these meats until they are steaming hot – or avoid them altogether.
Liver – and most liver products (like liver pate or liver sausage) – contain dangerously high amounts of Vitamin A. Too much Vitamin A has been linked to birth defects in babies. Monitor your intake of Vitamin A (ask your doctor how much of this vitamin is safe) and avoid high-dose multi-vitamin supplements, fish liver oil supplements and any supplement containing Vitamin A.
7. Unpasteurized Milk
Much like unpasteurized cheeses (like Brie and Feta, mentioned earlier) unpasteurized milk can pose huge health risks to your unborn baby. Don’t drink raw milk (also known as unpasteurized milk), including sheep’s milk or goat’s milk (that includes goat cheese as well) as these have been known to cause foodborne illnesses such as Listeriosis. Listeriosis is a dangerous infection that can lead to miscarriage, severe illness and even stillbirth.
8. Uncooked Eggs
Many people toss a few uncooked eggs into their morning smoothies but pregnant woman should avoid eating uncooked eggs altogether. In their uncooked form, eggs pose a huge risk for salmonella poisoning. Other products to be wary of are ones made with raw or partially cooked eggs such as some Caesar salad dressings, raw cookie dough and eggnog.
Similar to King mackerel, shark and swordfish can potentially dangerous levels of mercury for pregnant women. As we noted earlier in the article, too much mercury can damage your baby’s developing nervous system. Instead, eat healthier fish like canned light tuna, salmon, shrimp or cod – but make sure you monitor your intake. FDA guidelines state that pregnant women can eat up to 12 ounces (340 grams) of mercury contaminated fish per week, which averages to about 2 seafood meals.
10. Blue Cheese
Blue cheese (and other soft cheeses like Camembert and Mexican-style cheeses like queso fresco and queso blanco) can lead to food borne illness. These products (like feta cheese and brie cheese) are generally made with unpasteurized milk which has often been linked to Listeriosis. Listeriosis is a harmful and potentially fatal infection that can lead to miscarriage, severe illness and even stillbirths. Instead, opt for pasteurized cheeses like mozzarella and cottage cheese.