When you’re pregnant, what you eat and drink influences your child’s health. And as Web MD points out, what you eat and drink may affect your child’s health forever.
You and your unborn baby are more susceptible to the bacteria, viruses, and parasites that cause foodborne illness.
“Whole grains, lean meats, fruits and vegetables, legumes, and low-fat dairy should form the basis of your diet. Rare meat, raw oysters, clams, sushi, unpasteurized eggs, raw cookie or cake dough, may contain bacteria, viruses, and parasites.”
To reduce your risk of foodborne illness, test meat, poultry, and fish with a food thermometer, and cook eggs until they are no longer runny.
According to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), even if you don’t feel sick, some “bugs” like Listeria and Toxoplasma can infect your baby and cause serious health problems.
Your baby is also sensitive to toxins from the food that you eat, such as mercury in certain kinds of fish. HHS advises pregnant women to invest in a food thermometer to check the temperatures of cooked food.
Below is a list of foods to avoid and foods you should consider avoiding if you’re pregnant, courtesy of HHS:
Don’t Eat These Foods
1) Soft CHEESES made from unpasteurized milk, including Brie, feta, Camembert, Roquefort, queso blanco, and queso fresco may contain E. coli or Listeria. Eat hard cheeses, such as cheddar or Swiss. Or, check the label and make sure that the cheese is made from pasteurized milk.
2) Raw COOKIE DOUGH or CAKE BATTER may contain Salmonella. Bake the cookies and cake. Don’t lick the spoon!
3) Certain kinds of FISH, such as shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish (golden or white snapper) contains high levels of mercury. Eat up to 12 ounces a week of fish and shellfish that are lower in mercury, such as shrimp, salmon, pollock, and catfish. Limit consumption of albacore tuna to 6 ounces per week.
4) Raw or undercooked FISH such as sushi may contain parasites or bacteria. Cook fish to 145° F.
5) SALADS made in a store, such as ham salad, chicken salad, and seafood salad may contain Listeria. Make salads at home, following the food safety basics: clean, separate, cook, and chill.
6) Raw SHELLFISH, such as oysters and clams may contain Vibrio bacteria. Cook shellfish to 145° F.
7) Raw or undercooked SPROUTS, such as alfalfa, clover, mung bean, and radish may contain E. coli or Salmonella. Cook sprouts thoroughly.
Be Careful with These Foods
8) Hot dogs, luncheon meats, cold cuts, fermented or dry sausage, and other deli-style meat and poultry may contain Listeria. Even if the label says that the meat is precooked, reheat these meats to steaming hot or 165° F before eating.
9) Eggs and pasteurized egg products. Undercooked eggs may contain Salmonella. Cook eggs until yolks are firm. Cook casseroles and other dishes containing eggs or egg products to 160° F.
Homemade eggnog may contain uncooked eggs, which may contain Salmonella. Make eggnog with a pasteurized egg product or buy pasteurized eggnog. When you make eggnog or other egg-fortified beverages, cook to 160°F
11) Fish may contain parasites or bacteria. Cook fish to 145° F.
12) Ice Cream
Homemade ice cream may contain uncooked eggs, which may contain Salmonella. Make ice cream with a pasteurized egg product safer by adding the eggs to the amount of liquid called for in the recipe, then heating the mixture thoroughly.
13) Meat: Beef, veal, lamb, and pork (including ground meat). Undercooked meat may contain E. coli. Cook beef, veal, and lamb steaks and roasts to 145° F. Cook pork to 160° F. Cook all ground meats to 160° F.
14) Meat Spread or Pate
Unpasteurized refrigerated pates or meat spreads may contain Listeria. Eat canned versions, which are safe.
15) Poultry and Stuffing (including ground poultry)
Undercooked meat may contain bacteria such as Campylobacter or Salmonella. Cook poultry to 165° F. If the poultry is stuffed, cook the stuffing to 165° F. Better yet, cook the stuffing separately.
16) Smoked Seafood
Refrigerated versions are not safe, unless they have been cooked to 165° F. Eat canned versions, which are safe, or cook to 165° F.
17) Unpasteurized JUICE or cider (including fresh squeezed) may contain E. coli. Drink pasteurized juice. Bring unpasteurized juice or cider to a rolling boil and boil for at least 1 minute before drinking.
18) Unpasteurized MILK may contain bacteria such as Campylobacter, E. coli, Listeria, or Salmonella. Drink pasteurized milk.