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Foods to avoid during pregnancy

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7 Foods to Avoid During Pregnancy

Proper nutrition is crucial during pregnancy as it affects the growth and development of the baby. However, there are certain foods that expectant mothers should avoid for the health of themselves and their babies.

Raw or undercooked meat and eggs, specific high-mercury fish, unpasteurized dairy products, caffeine, alcohol, and certain herbs and spices should be avoided during pregnancy.

1. Raw or undercooked meat
Raw or undercooked meat can contain harmful bacteria and parasites that can cause food poisoning, which is especially dangerous during pregnancy. Meat should be cooked to a safe temperature, with an internal temperature of at least 145°F for beef, pork, and lamb, and 160°F for ground meats.

2. Raw or undercooked eggs
Salmonella in raw or uncooked eggs can cause food poisoning. To avoid this, eggs should be cooked until both the yolk and the white are firm. Foods containing raw or undercooked eggs should also be avoided, such as homemade mayonnaise, hollandaise sauce, Caesar salad dressing, and raw cookie dough.

3. Specific fish
Fish is an excellent source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids, but some types of fish contain high levels of mercury, which can harm the developing nervous system of the baby. Shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and shellfish should be avoided, and low-mercury fish like salmon, shrimp, canned light tuna, and catfish should be chosen instead.

4. Unpasteurized dairy products
Raw milk and cheese can contain harmful bacteria such as Listeria, adverse affects from which can cause miscarriage, stillbirth, and other complications during pregnancy. Therefore, pasteurized dairy products are recommended.

5. Caffeine
Eight ounces of coffee has about 95 milligrams of caffeine. While moderate consumption during pregnancy is considered safe, high levels of caffeine are linked to an increased risk of miscarriage and low birth weight. The daily intake of caffeine should be limited to no more than 200 milligrams.

6. Alcohol
Fetal alcohol syndrome can cause physical and mental disabilities in babies and may arise from drinking alcohol during pregnancy. No amount of alcohol is safe during pregnancy, and it is crucial to abstain from drinking completely.

7. Some herbs and spices
Some herbs and spices, though generally safe during pregnancy, may harm the developing fetus. Large consumption of basil, oregano, rosemary, and thyme can lead to uterine contractions and miscarriage. Large consumption of cinnamon and sage can also have a negative impact on the baby’s neurological development.

In conclusion, a healthy and varied diet during pregnancy is necessary for both the mother and baby. It is crucial to avoid certain foods that may have a negative impact on their health and development. If there are any questions or concerns, healthcare providers should be consulted. Following the recommended guidelines allows for a healthy and safe pregnancy.

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