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Healthy Pregnancy Diet: What Not to Eat When You’re Expecting

Nutrition is an important part of pregnancy. It gives moms the opportunity to increase their intake of vitamins, minerals, and essential nutrients. This boosts their energy, helps their babies’ development, and can even improve some of the symptoms of pregnancy. But as important as what to eat when pregnant is a topic that’s decidedly less fun: what not to eat during pregnancy.

Dr. Haley Talks Nutrition During Pregnancy

Dr. Haley discusses some of the foods to avoid during pregnancy.

Foods to Avoid During Pregnancy

  • Raw meats. Raw or undercooked meat can carry all kinds of bacteria. Stay away from rare beef and poultry, sushi, uncooked hot dogs, and items that contain raw eggs, which may include salad dressings and sauces (be careful about Caesar salad dressing and aioli!), raw cookie dough, and desserts like tiramisu.
  • Other meats. Just because it’s cooked doesn’t mean that it’s safe. Expectant mothers should avoid eating deli meat, smoked seafood, fish containing mercury, refrigerated pate or meat spreads, and fresh meat that may have been exposed to pollutants.
  • Soft cheese. Some imported soft cheeses–including brie, feta, Camembert, and many Mexican quesos–are not made with pasteurized milk, which increases the risk of listeria. Love soft cheese? Read the label! If it was made with pasteurized milk, you’re free to satisfy your cravings.
  • Unpasteurized anything. Milk is the biggie, but moms-to-be should also avoid unpasteurized juices, especially ones bought from local farms.
  • Unwashed veggies. Vegetables provide essential nutrients for pregnant women and the babies they carry. Just make sure to wash them before digging in.
  • pregnant woman eating yogurt
    Caffeine
    . New studies show that small amounts of caffeine are okay later in pregnancy, but expectant mothers should keep a close eye on their caffeine intake. Try to avoid caffeine entirely during the first trimester. Consume no more than 200 mg per day later in your pregnancy, or you may increase your risk of miscarriage, premature birth, or low birth weight. (*Tips for pregnant women who consume caffeine: drink plenty of water, remember that decaf coffee contains caffeine, and look for hidden caffeine in protein bars, yogurt, and candy).
  • Alcohol. Most moms know not to drink alcohol during pregnancy, because it can lead to Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. But in today’s climate of “sure, that’s fine!” advice, it bears repeating: no matter what you see in the news, alcohol is a big no-no for moms-to-be.

Cherokee Women’s Health helps expectant mothers in Canton through the unique experience of pregnancy. For a personalized diet plan, advice on healthy eating and fitness during pregnancy, and other prenatal care, schedule an appointment with one of our certified physicians or midwives.