Foods to Avoid
Why are some foods off-limits when you’re pregnant — but fine if you’re not? First, changes to your immune system now make you more vulnerable to food-borne illnesses. What would’ve meant stomach upset before could mean serious complications now — from dehydration to miscarriage.
So to be safe, avoid the common culprits of food-borne illness:
Eggs: Because raw eggs may be tainted with salmonella, a bacterium that can cause fever, vomiting, and diarrhea, watch out for restaurant-made Caesar salad dressing, homemade eggnog, raw cookie dough, and soft scrambled or sunny-side up eggs — any dish in which the eggs (both yolk and white) are not cooked completely. “If eggs are cooked, the risk is gone,” adds Madeleine Sigman-Grant, PhD, maternal child health and nutrition extension specialist at the University of Nevada.
Sushi: With the exception of California rolls and other cooked items, sushi is not safe when you’re expecting, either, because it may contain illness-inducing parasites.
Unpasteurized Juice: Stay away from juice (like cider) sold at farm stands; it may not have undergone pasteurization, a processing method that kills bacteria and toxins. Though the majority of milk and juices sold in stores today are pasteurized, there are still some brands on shelves that aren’t, so read labels.
Other foods are unsafe due to possible contaminants that can harm the fetus:
Some Varieties of Fish: Fish, which boasts omega-3 fatty acids that help baby’s brain development, is a great meal choice right now. But some varieties should be shunned due to high levels of methyl-mercury, a pollutant that can affect baby’s nervous system. These include swordfish, shark, and tilefish — all big species that live longer, accumulating more mercury in their flesh. (You may want to avoid these fish entirely during your childbearing years because your body stores mercury for up to four years, Ward advises.)