Thursday, February 17, 2011


I have been promising to write this for some time, in response to a question. As someone said to me the other day, it seems that you have to eat well while you are pregnant, but at the same time, there are so many foods that are dangerous that you shouldn't eat. Yes, if you want to give birth to a healthy child - and who doesn't- you definitely have to be more careful.

From a safety point of view, pregnant women are wise to avoid foods that are more likely to carry those contaminants that can cause miscarriage, birth defects or developmental problems. The worst hazards in industrialized nations include the bacteria Listeria monocytogenes and Salmonella, the protozoan Toxoplasma gondii, toxic metals such as mercury and dangerous industrial chemicals like dioxins and PCBs. This is of course, only a partial list.

Here are the foods you may want to avoid. To keep this short, I am not going to give a technical explanation here of each food, but may explain some in future posts.

• Raw eggs, undercooked eggs and foods containing raw or undercooked egg such as Caesar dressing, mayonnaise, homemade ice cream or custard, unpasteurized eggnog, Hollandaise sauce….
• Any unpasteurized dairy products, including raw cheeses, even if aged 60 days, as we are now discovering that this may not be enough to kill all bacteria. To be safer, it is better to avoid all soft cheese, for example, blue-veined cheeses such as Roquefort, feta, Brie, Camembert, and Latin-American soft white cheeses such as queso blanco, queso fresco, queso de hoja, queso de crema, asadero. (Eat hard cheeses like cheddar).
• Meat or poultry that is rare or undercooked.
• Deli meats, including hot dogs and salami, unless you re-heat them to a temperature of 165 degrees.
• Pate and meat spreads, unless they are tinned.
• Raw sprouts such as alfalfa, and fresh pre-cut fruits and vegetables (eat well-washed whole fruit and vegetables and cooked produce)
• Unpasteurized juices (including apple juice and apple cider).
• Vegetables grown in an area where cats roam around.
• Raw or undercooked shellfish of any kind (such as oysters, clams and mussels). Remember too that cooking shellfish well may kill the bacteria, but will not inactivate natural toxins that shellfish can carry.
• Raw fish dishes such as sushi, sashimi, ceviche, carpaccio, tartare, yusheng, kuai, mul-hoe and smoked fish.
• High mercury fish, especially shark, swordfish, king mackerel, tilefish. Eat other fish in moderation: a rough guide – no more than 12 oz. per week with preference to canned fish and smaller ocean fish. Five of the most commonly eaten seafood that are low in mercury are shrimp, canned light tuna, salmon, pollock, and catfish. *
• Fish that might contain industrial pollutants, such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in their fatty tissues, such as bluefish and striped bass, and freshwater fish such as salmon, pike, trout, walleye from contaminated lakes and rivers.*
• Smoked seafood, often carrying the label of lox or nova style, unless you cook it well first (to at least 165 F degrees). Don't eat it as it comes out of the package.

* This warning should already be heeded by women who are planning to become pregnant in a few years’ time.


Anonymous said...

wow, this limits the options. Useful, but its going to be hard to stick to it. What about tiering the options?

Anonymous said...

This is just another reason not to eat raw seafood. I love ceviche but stopped eating it years ago. since kids are in my future, i won't be restarting.

Pregnancy Miracle said...

There are many things which we need to consider during the pregnancy such that she need to take care of the food while pregnancy also.

jorellana said...

so does it mean that a women 7 months pregnant cant eat bluefish?

Anonymous said...

People, seriously.
Everything in moderation.

Dipti said...

hey i never knew about these food items that should not be eaten during the pregnancy period..thanks for sharing this blog..

Food for Pregnant Women

Healthy Food Options said...

Yes. me too agree with what you write,
same thing as in the pages of this website
nice topic guys.

low mercury fish pregnancy said...

i have learned that seafood is good for pregnant ladies. it controls their anxiety level,