When pregnant, you need to eat balanced meals to ensure you get all the essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals your baby needs. Thankfully, most foods are safe for pregnant women. One exception is raw meat, which can carry bacteria, toxoplasmosis and salmonella. It is important to make sure that the meat in your home is cooked to at least 145 F before eating it.

Avoiding deli salads

Pregnant women are advised against eating deli salads and processed meats, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). These types of foods may contain listeria bacteria, which are harmful to the unborn child. Listeria can cause infections and serious gastrointestinal problems, including fever and muscle aches. In rare cases, it may even lead to miscarriage or preterm labor. Because pregnant women have a lower immune system than average, they are more vulnerable to listeriosis.

Despite the dangers of deli salads and meats, it’s best to avoid them entirely while pregnant. Generally speaking, the meats used to make salads or meats in delis have not been refrigerated for long, and may not have been properly pasteurized. Therefore, it’s best to prepare your own deli salads or meats.

Avoiding unpasteurized cheese

There are about 300 different kinds of cheese that can be harmful to pregnant women. While it may be difficult to know which ones to avoid, there are several types that you should avoid at all costs. These include soft blue-veined cheeses and mould-ripened cheeses. For these reasons, you should avoid unpasteurized cheese while you’re pregnant.

If you do decide to eat cheese during pregnancy, the best choice is to purchase individual rounds of pasteurized cheese. This way, there is no risk of cross-contamination. You can purchase popular cheeses such as Brie and Camembert in eight-ounce rounds, and there are also many mainstream American artisan cheeses. You can also buy hard, dry, acidic, and salty cheeses that are generally safe.

Avoiding fatty fish

While pregnant women should limit the amount of fatty fish they consume, there are some types of fish that can be consumed without causing any ill effects. Tuna and salmon are considered safe to eat while pregnant and provide the baby with the necessary nutrients. It is important to remember serving size and safe cooking methods when preparing these foods.

Even though the benefits of seafood are many, there is a small risk of mercury exposure during pregnancy. Although fish is rich in essential nutrients for the fetus, it can also be contaminated with harmful substances like mercury and PCBs, which can negatively impact the baby’s nervous system and brain development. The recommendations for consuming fish while pregnant have changed over the years, and it is important to follow the latest ones.

Avoiding caffeine

Although it’s long been thought that moderate consumption of caffeine during pregnancy is safe, new research suggests that pregnant women should reduce their intake of caffeine. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends limiting a pregnant woman’s caffeine intake to 200 milligrams per day, the equivalent of about two cups of moderate strength coffee. The recommendations are based on the cumulative evidence that drinking caffeine during pregnancy can harm the baby. However, the researchers acknowledge that their studies are observational and that there are confounding factors such as cigarette smoking and maternal recollection of caffeine intake.

There are also ethical barriers to evaluating caffeine consumption during pregnancy. One of these is the difficulty in separating pregnant women into groups. This makes the study difficult to be reliable, as researchers cannot separate caffeine consumption from other factors.

Avoiding unpasteurized juice

If you are pregnant, you should avoid drinking unpasteurized juices. This is because they contain harmful bacteria that could make the mother or child sick. Pregnant women are especially vulnerable to food poisoning because of their weakened immune system. It is best to choose pasteurized juices or make your own juice at home with thoroughly washed produce.

Unpasteurized juices can be obtained from many sources, such as restaurants, apple orchards, farmers markets, and health food stores. They are often sold as “raw” and do not come with a warning label. To make them safe for consumption, they should be heated for about a minute before being sold.

Avoiding raw shellfish

Pregnant women should avoid eating raw shellfish and other types of seafood. This is because they may contain dangerous bacteria such as toxoplasmosis. This bacteria can cause serious health problems, including miscarriage and stillbirth. In addition, it may lead to developmental delays in the fetus. Hence, it is recommended to stay away from raw shellfish and oysters while pregnant.

Pregnant women should avoid eating raw shellfish because they have weakened immune systems and are more likely to contract foodborne infections.