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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Important Foods to Avoid When Pregnant

By: Catherine L Pittman © 2010

Congratulations, you are expecting!  It is important to keep in mind that your unborn bundle of joy shares all that you eat and drink. Eating healthy foods and avoiding those that can cause harm to the development of your little one is a constant balancing act.

You and your unborn child require a diet that contains a balance in vitamins and nutrients for overall good health.  The quality of the food consumed during your pregnancy will determine your child's health in the future.  Certain foods can cause Toxoplasmosia, Salmonella Bacterium and Listeria.

What is Toxoplasmosia?
Is an infection, caused by a parasite called Toxoplasma gondii. It is most commonly acquired from coming into contact with raw or undercooked meat. It is usually symptomless other than mild flu-like symptoms.  The U.S. Centers for Disease Control estimates that 60 million people in the United States may carry the parasite.  They have no symptoms because of a healthy immune system.  Women infected while pregnant can transmit the toxoplasma parasite to her baby with serious to catastrophic consequences. Toxoplasmosis exposure includes:

  • Touching your hands to your mouth after touching raw or undercooked meat
  • Eating raw or partially cooked meats, particularly pork, lamb or venison

What is Salmonella Bacterium?
Salmonella can cause food poisoning.  Food poisoning can cause a high temperature, vomiting, diarrhoea and dehydration.  This can be a potential cause of miscarriage.  Foods that can cause Salmonella are:

  • Uncooked or runny eggs
  • Mayonnaise made with raw egg
  • Raw or undercooked meat

What is Listeria?
Listeria is caused by Listeriosis, a group of bacteria capable of causing a miscarriage, still birth or premature birth.  Listeria contamination has been the cause of many U.S. food recalls.  Foods that can cause Listeria include:

  •  Liver and liver pate
  •  Unpasteurized milk and dairy products
  •  Ripened soft cheeses, like brie, camembert and blue-veined cheeses
  •  Unheated cooked-chilled foods

Other foods to avoid:
  • Salad and coleslaw bags.  Salads are good for you, but make your own from organic lettuce and vegetables.
  • Raw or undercooked shellfish (can cause food poisoning)
  • Peanuts, which can increase your baby's risk of developing allergies to nuts
  • If you consume cold-cuts or hot dogs purchased from the grocery store, reheat the meats in a microwave to steaming hot to help kill any potential bacteria. This includes deli ham, turkey, bologna and salami, all of which are prone to Listeria. Avoid eating "Deli-fare" from your favorite deli.  You do not know if your local deli thoroughly cooks the eggs in their egg, potato or similar salads or their deli meat long enough.  If you do consume sandwiches from your favorite deli, ask that they microwave the meat.
  • Refrigerated pates, meat spreads and smoked seafood.
  • While fish is good for you and baby because of the Omega 3's, you should avoid eating larger fish, such as swordfish, shark tilefish, king mackerel and limit eating canned albacore tuna.  Large fish harbor higher levels of methylymercury, which is detrimental to your baby's brain and nervous system development. According to the FDA, pregnant women and nursing mothers may safely eat up to 6 ounces of albacore white tuna.
  • Raw seafood, such as oysters, clams, sushi
  • Avoid "licking the bowl" when making cakes or cookies, since the batter contains raw eggs.
  • Unpasteurized juices, which can contain E Coli.  Discontinue drinking cider at your local farmer's market, roadside stand or in stores.  Always check that the juices purchased are labeled pasteurized.
  • Herbal supplements.  Herbs are natural, but herbal products have not been studied enough to recommend consuming them during a pregnancy.
  • Alcohol of any kind. There is NO safe level to drink while pregnant, so discontinue spirits of any kind. They can rob your baby's developing cells of oxygen and make normal development impossible.
  • Avoid caffeine, which may increase the potential of your child developing diabetes.
About the Author
Catherine resides in Oregon and is the owner, songwriter and main vocalist for her children's music production company, Pitter Patter Productions. The company specializes in original award-winning music for children from newborn through kindergarten, and also produces Kindle ebooks.  Our children's music is available on CD and via download at, and is also available for download at:, and iTunes. Our first Kindle book, All About the Nursery: Designing Your Baby’s Nursery Haven is available at

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