Don’t Overlook Food Safety
To protect yourself and your baby from harmful bacteria such as E. coli, Salmonella and Listeria, “don’t eat raw or undercooked meat, poultry, seafood or eggs, and don’t eat leftover food that has been sitting out for more than two hours,” says Gidus. Also, stick a thermometer in your refrigerator to make sure the temperature is below 40 degrees, cold enough to stop bacteria from growing. Heat deli meats until steaming hot. With Brie, blue cheese and other soft cheeses, check the label to make sure they are made with pasteurized milk unpasteurized soft cheese can harbor Listeria, which can lead to premature delivery, miscarriage or stillbirth. If there’s no label, don’t take the chance. Stay away from sushi made with raw fish, but you’re welcome to enjoy California rolls containing imitation crabmeat or sushi made with cooked eel.
Raw Or Partially Cooked Eggs
Make sure that eggs are thoroughly cooked until the whites and yolks are solid. This prevents the risk of salmonella food poisoning. Dont eat foods that contain raw and undercooked eggs, such as homemade mayonnaise. If you wish to have dishes that contain raw or partially cooked eggs, consider using pasteurised liquid egg. Dont use cracked or dirty eggs.
Fish From Local Waters
Unless you know your local streams, bays, and lakes are unpolluted, avoid eating fish you catch yourself. Some lakes and rivers are contaminated with industrial chemicals. Locally caught bluefish, striped bass, salmon, pike, trout, and walleye may be affected. Check with your state’s fish and wildlife department for more information.
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If You Have A Compromised Immune System
The moist conditions required to sprout alfalfa seeds are ideal for bacterial growth.
Consequently, sprouts sold in stores are sometimes contaminated by bacteria, and multiple bacterial outbreaks have been linked to alfalfa sprouts in the past .
Eating contaminated sprouts can potentially make anyone sick, but most healthy adults will recover without long-term consequences. Yet, for people with a compromised immune system, an infection like this can be very serious.
Therefore, children, pregnant women, the elderly or anyone else with a compromised immune system to avoid alfalfa sprouts.
Alfalfa may be harmful for some people, including pregnant women, people taking blood thinners and those with an autoimmune disorder or a compromised immune system.
What About Listeria And Pregnancy
Theres also listeria, a food-borne illness thats riskier for pregnant people. You are more likely to get it when you are pregnant, and you are more likely to have complications from it.
It is very rare, but there are still instances of it every year.
So how do you avoid it? Take extra food safety measures to keep yourself safe regardless of which foods you decide to eat:
- Practice safe food handling
- Clean your fridge and kitchen regularly
- Cook things until well-done
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Do Limit Your Exposure To Pesticides By Choosing Organic And Locally Grown Foods When Possible
“The developing immune system is so much more sensitive than the adult’s,” says Rodney Dietert, Ph.D., professor of immunotoxicology at Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, whose research has linked prenatal pesticide exposure to later- in-life immune dysfunctions.
Other research has connected pesticides in the water supply to premature births and possibly birth defects. “We have a lot of evidence now that nitrates and pesticides have the ability in very small doses to interact with the hormonal milieu of the pregnancy,” says Paul Winchester, M.D., a clinical professor of pediatrics at the Indiana University School of Medicine. Washing your produce helps, Winchester says, but may not be enough. The types of produce harboring the highest pesticide concentrations tend to be fruits and vegetables with thin skins, such as peaches, apples, bell peppers and strawberries. Also know that foods imported from other countries, such as Mexico or Chile, may contain pesticides that are prohibited in the U.S.
General Food Safety Recommendations
- When handling raw meats, fish, shellfish, poultry and eggs, wash your hands with hot, soapy water for at least 20 seconds before and after preparation.
- Clean and disinfect all surfaces after handling food in the kitchen, especially raw foods, using either:
- a kitchen sanitizer or
- a bleach solution and rinse with water.
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Foods You Can Eat When Pregnant
Good news! A few foods you may have thought were forbidden actually aren’t.
Can pregnant women eat feta cheese, Brie, Gorgonzola, and other soft cheeses?
Soft cheeses such as Brie, feta, and Gorgonzola were once considered potentially harmful because they can harbor listeria. Listeriosis, an illness caused by the bacteria listeria, can be passed to the fetus, leading to miscarriage, premature delivery, or stillbirth. However, the FDA now allows soft cheese during pregnancy, as long as it’s made with pasteurized milk. Most cheese sold in the United States is, but “don’t ever take that for granted,” says Ward. It’s still important to check labels, especially with imported brands. If you live in a border state, steer clear of soft Mexican cheeses like queso blanco in markets .
Can pregnant women eat lunch meat?
Certain Foods Are Not Safe To Eat For Pregnant Women
Being pregnant means that whatever you eat, your baby eats also. In addition to helping you stay well, a healthy diet during pregnancy is an important part of your babys development and growth.
How do you know which foods are best and which might be harmful?
Immune system changes during pregnancy place women and their babies at increased risk of foodborne illness. These illnesses can be worse during pregnancy and affect the fetus or newborn.
Certain foods have a higher risk of containing harmful bacteria and other things that can cause food poisoning, such as listeria, E. coli, salmonella and toxoplasmosis. Pregnant women and their newborns, for example, are much more likely to get a listeria infection from foods contaminated with this bacterium, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention .
Understanding which foods to avoid during pregnancy can help you make smarter choices for you and your baby, Dr. Dunn says. You dont want to run the risk of accidentally eating something that might be contaminated.
Look for your doctor to provide you with specific guidelines about foods that you should and should not eat.
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Give Into Your Cravings
I can’t stress this enough if you have a craving that you’re just can’t satisfy and it’s nagging you, just go get it. In my experience, I’ll end up eating way more trying to satisfy the craving than if I would’ve just given in. All summer I watched everyone posting their ice cream photos on Instagram and it was like a slow build for me. Finally one day I found myself googling the nearest Coldstone because a simple scoop wasn’t going to do, I wanted the richest, thickest, creamiest ice cream packed with brownie and goodies.
The nearest Coldstone was like 20+ min away and my craving wasn’t that bad so I pushed it aside. Until 2 days later, I announced, I’m having ice cream for dinner. E was flabbergasted and I said, I’ve been wanting it and I figure that it’s better to just eat it for dinner, rather than eat dinner AND ice cream. Plus this way I can eat the ice cream earlier versus just before bed. It’s a win-win-win. So give into your cravings if you haven’t been able to satisfy them in a couple of days and, if you can, do it smartly!
Foods To Avoid While Pregnant
Raw Meat: Uncooked seafood and rare or undercooked beef or poultry should be avoided during pregnancy because of the risk of contamination with coliform bacteria, toxoplasmosis, and salmonella. At home, the temperature should reach at least 145 F for whole cuts, 160 F for ground meats like hamburger, and 165 F for chicken breasts.
Deli Meat: Deli meats have been known to be contaminated with listeria, which can cause miscarriage. Listeria has the ability to cross the placenta and may infect the baby, which could lead to infection or blood poisoning and may be life-threatening. If you are pregnant and you are considering eating deli meats, make certain that you reheat the meat until it is steaming.
Fish with Mercury: Fish that contain high levels of mercury should be avoided. Mercury consumed during pregnancy has been linked to developmental delays and brain damage. A sample of these types of fish includes shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish. Canned, chunk light tuna generally has a lower amount of mercury than other tuna, but still should only be eaten in moderation. The American Pregnancy Association recommends Safe Catch Tuna because their testing technology ensures each can of tuna is as pure as wild salmon or wild sardines.
Certain types of fish used in sushi should also be avoided due to high levels of mercury. Please see Mercury in Fish for specific types of fish and further information on how to calculate mercury levels.
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Solid Saturated And Trans Fats
It is better for you to take good fats during pregnancy and avoid Solid, saturated and trans fats, as much as you can. These fats can raise your cholesterol levels and cause illnesses such as heart disease and diabetes. It can also have negative effect on your babys metabolic and develop the risk of obesity after birth. There some fat and foods contain these types of fats, such as
*The best temperature for cooking ground meats is 160 F, for whole cuts is 145 F and for chicken breasts is 165 F.
Food Poisoning In Pregnancy
Food poisoning can be dangerous when you are pregnant.
To avoid food poisoning:
- wash your hands before, during and after food preparation
- use different knives, chopping boards and utensils for raw and cooked food
- put food in the fridge as quickly as possible
- keep raw and cooked meats separate
- wash all fruits, vegetables and pre-packed salads before eating
- eat leftovers within 2 to 3 days
- do not eat foods past their use-by date
- make sure all meat, poultry, seafood and eggs are cooked thoroughly
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Foods To Avoid During Pregnancy
You want to eat right when youre pregnant, but sometimes it can be hard to know just what that means.
In addition to getting extra calories, taking your prenatal vitamins to get nutrients like folic acid and iron and eating a well-balanced diet, theres also the subject of what not to eat when youre pregnant.
Minimise Or Avoid Food Products High In Added Sugar
During and immediately after pregnancy, it is clear added sugar is hazardous to health.
Perhaps even toxic, as sugar is so often labelled in todays media.
Excessive sugar in the diet leads to insulin resistance and pre-diabetes, otherwise known as Glucose Intolerance. The risk of glucose intolerance is far greater during pregnancy, as insulin function naturally declines .
Less working insulin means more sugar stuck in your bloodstream. For this reason, its crucial to minimise or even completely avoid foods high in added sugar.
A glucose intolerance identified during pregnancy is known as Gestational Diabetes.
The risks of gestational diabetes are prominent for both mother and child:
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Liver And Other Foods Containing Vitamin A
Avoid liver and liver products, such as liver pâté and liver sausage. Liver products have lots of vitamin A in them. This can be harmful to an unborn baby. It is not safe to take multivitamins containing vitamin A or fish liver oils, such as cod liver oil. It is fine to eat low levels of vitamin A found naturally in foods like carrots. But it is important to avoid any foods that have vitamin A added . It is okay to use cosmetic products, like face cream, that contain vitamin A.
Steer Clear Of Alcohol And Large Amounts Of Caffeine
Teratogenic is the term used for any compounds and substances that can disrupt the development of an embryo or foetus.
Not all teratogens will harm an unborn child, but the ones that do carry the potential to cause serious birth defects.
To be safe, complete avoidance of teratogenic substances during pregnancy is strongly recommended.
Some well-known teratogens include:
- DMAE medications, typically used to treat cognitive decline
- Lithium medications , used to treat bipolar disorder .
It is well-established that the offspring of mothers consuming alcohol during pregnancy suffer from developmental delays and behavioural changes. As such, zero alcohol should be consumed throughout the entire pregnancy .
Caffeine is another teratogenic substance thats not safe in large quantities.
It is a psychoactive substance one that crosses the placenta to the baby. While you may be tolerant to the caffeine in your morning brew, your child is not.
And remember that caffeine exists in a variety of different foods including tea, soft drinks and chocolate.
Summary: Teratogenic substances can disrupt the development of an unborn child. Common foods sources include alcohol and caffeine. It is recommended all alcohol be avoided, and caffeine intake limited to 200 mg per day.
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Other Potential Health Benefits
There is a long list of traditional uses of alfalfa as a medicinal herb.
They include lowering blood pressure, acting as a diuretic, increasing breast milk production, treating arthritis and getting rid of kidney stones.
Unfortunately, most of these proposed health benefits have not yet been researched. However, a few of them have been studied to some extent.
Healthy Snacks In Pregnancy
If you get hungry between meals, try not to eat snacks that are high in fat and/or sugar, such as sweets, biscuits, crisps or chocolate. Instead, choose something healthier, such as:
- small sandwiches or pitta bread with grated cheese, lean ham, mashed tuna, salmon, or sardines, with salad
- salad vegetables, such as carrot, celery or cucumber
- low-fat, lower-sugar fruit yoghurt, plain yoghurt or fromage frais with fruit
- hummus with wholemeal pitta bread or vegetable sticks
- ready-to-eat apricots, figs or prunes
- vegetable and bean soups
Find out more about healthy food swaps.
When choosing snacks, you can use food labels to help you. Find out more about food labelling, including how the “green, amber, red” code can help you make healthier choices quickly.
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Nutrition During Pregnancy: 10 Do’s And Don’ts
Healthy prenatal eating isn’t just about avoidingit’s about choosing wisely.
When I ordered shrimp rolls at a tapas bar 12 weeks into my pregnancy, one of my friends reacted as if I’d ordered a double martini. “You can’t have shrimp when you’re pregnant!” she insisted. When I asked her why not, all she could offer was, “Well, I’m not sure, but I know you can’t.” Turns out, she was mistaken , a common phenomenon when it comes to prenatal nutrition.
Yes, certain foods and eating patterns can compromise a baby’s development in utero, and every mom-to-be should know about them. But it’s equally important to focus on the nutrient-rich foods and healthy habits that will keep you and your baby thriving for the whole nine months. Here, in a nutshell, is the lowdown on nutrition during pregnancy.
More Foods To Avoid While Pregnant
It may seem daunting to keep track of all the foods you can and canât eat while pregnant. Here, weâve compiled some frequently asked questions about specific foods to help make it a little easier.
It may seem like a lot to consider, but a healthy pregnancy diet is as much about enjoying what you can eat as it is about looking out for what you cannot eat while pregnant. You might see this as an opportunity to sample some previously unknown foods â a fruit or vegetable youâve never tried, for example. Or, you might even learn how to cook an old favorite in a new way, like baked salmon prepared at home instead of salmon rolls from your neighborhood sushi spot.
Try not to dwell on any food restrictions, and instead focus on the endless opportunities to enrich your pregnancy diet. You can have a lot of fun sampling a rich variety of foods during your pregnancy, with your prenatal vitamins providing any extra nutrients you need.
As you get ready for the arrival of your little one, you may want to download the Pampers Club app. You have a lot to think about in the coming months, but weâre here to help make this journey easier. With the app you can get great rewards for all those diapers that are in your future!
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