“You are what you eat,” is more relevant when you are expecting a baby. Even though nourishment can come from many sources, moms-to-be should avoid certain food products during pregnancy.
Seafood and Mercury
For starters, be mindful of seafood that may contain mercury. Big fish such as swordfish, tilefish, king mackerel, and shark varieties are all fish that typically live long lives. Larger fish logically contain higher levels of the metal mercury. This metal can be developmentally harmful to a baby in utero, causing brain damage and developmental delays.
The good news is you can eat up to 12 ounces per week of what is considered “safe seafood.” This includes:
If you like tuna, you can consume up to six ounces per week.
For women who love sushi, here’s the bad news: skip it during pregnancy. Sushi, sashimi, and smoked seafood may contain harmful bacteria. This propensity can increase your chances of food poising, which can be disastrous if you are pregnant.
Even though most people love it, avoid eating raw cookie dough. Sounds silly, right? The reality is raw eggs are in cookie dough and other favorites like mayonnaise, Caesar salad dressing, and hollandaise sauce. The danger with foods that contain raw egg is salmonella.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), salmonella can result in diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps 12 to 72 hours after infection. The illness usually lasts four to seven days. While most recover without medication, pregnant women need to avoid foods that may contain salmonella.
Unpasteurized Food Products
Beware of cheeses like brie, feta, blue cheese, Roquefort, and other cheeses found in Mexican restaurants. Typically these types of soft cheeses are unpasteurized and may contain listeria, which is a type of bacteria that may cause a miscarriage. Milk and freshly squeezed fruit juices should also be avoided.
Hot Dogs and Cold Cuts
If you are planning on eating hot dogs (especially with those pregnancy cravings) or cold cuts (lunch meats), make certain they are heated to at least 165 degrees to avoid listeria contamination and poisoning.
Unwashed Fruits and Vegetables
Lastly, make sure you wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly before eating. Soil can contain toxoplasmosis, which is a type of parasite that can harm your baby during pregnancy. Subsequent harmful effects can include cognitive, hearing, and learning disabilities.
Check with Your Doctor
As always, be sure to check with your doctor on what you should and should not eat during pregnancy. For added measure, start the infant feeding conversation with your future little one’s pediatrician. You have two options:
- Breast feeding
- Formula feeding
Both methods will provide complete nutrition for baby. If you choose formula, be sure to discuss the types of baby formula on the market today. Depending on where you shop, chances are there is a store brand formula at your favorite store.
For example, if you are loyal Walmart customer, you can buy the Walmart brand baby formula Parent’s Choice.
Congratulations on having a baby and remember to watch what you eat.