foods to avoid when pregnant
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Foods to Avoid When Pregnant

Almost every woman knows the basic of what they should and should not do during pregnancy, but they don't always know what foods to avoid when pregnant. They know that caffeine should be cut back; they should not smoke, drink alcohol or spend time in any hot tubs.

It is essential that pregnant women eat a well balanced meal at all times to provide their growing baby with the vitamins, nutrients and minerals that the baby needs to grow. However more and more studies reveal there are definite items pregnant women should avoid for the duration of their pregnancy.

Following is a guide that lists known toxins to avoid when pregnant, and the foods that do or may have them.

Listeria

Listeria, listeria monocytogenes

A bacteria found in water and soil that can cause miscarriage; it can cross the placenta and infect the fetus. It is killed by cooking foods, and pasteurization.

Avoid unwashed vegetables, unpasteurized milk, raw eggs, processed meats unless they are cooked thoroughly, smoked seafood, fish caught in industrial waters, raw shellfish, and soft cheeses that do not specifically state they used unpasteurized milk, like brie, feta, and gorgonzola.

Toxoplasmosis

A parasite, toxoplasma gondii, that is common in cat feces. From the Organization of Teratology Information Services (OTIS):,

If infection occurs between weeks 10-24, the risk for severe problems in the newborn is about 5-6%. Effects on the baby include: premature birth, low birth weight, fever, jaundice, abnormalities of the retina, mental retardation, abnormal head size, convulsions, and brain calcification.

Avoid changing the litterbox, eating raw or rare meat or giving it to your cat, keep the cat off counters, and practice handwashing every time you have touched the cat and are going to eat.

Salmonella

Salmonella is a type of food poisoning that is often mild, but is much more serious when pregnant. Common carriers include reptiles and poultry.

Avoid raw and undercooked meat, eggs, food containing raw eggs including cookie dough, Caesar salad dressing, and unpasteurized milk products and fruit juices.

Mercury

Mercury has been linked to brain damage and delayed development in babies.

Avoid large fish species like swordfish, shark, King mackerel, and sushi. Tuna also contains a lot of mercury but canned, chunk light tuna has a lower amount of mercury and can be eaten in moderation. Raw shellfish also should be avoided through out pregnancy.

When dining in a restaurant, ask if any sauces or dressings contain raw eggs. Most restaurants should be using pasteurized eggs in any raw egg recipe but one should still double check.

There has never been a more important time to be careful what a woman eats then when she is pregnant. Some of the above foods have been linked to miscarriages and other birth defects.

If you are pregnant and you have already indulged in a few of the foods you should not have, do not panic. Chances are, you and your baby are fine.

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