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Foods to Avoid During Pregnancy

Foods to Avoid During Pregnancy

If you're pregnant, it's important to avoid certain foods and drinks to protect your baby's health. 

Be safe. Avoid the following: 

  • Alcohol. Any amount of alcohol can cause serious mental and physical health problems for your child. Don't take the risk. 

  • Certain fish. Some large fish may have mercury, which is harmful. Types include: 

    • Bigeye tuna. 
    • King mackerel. 
    • Marlin. 
    • Orange roughy. 
    • Tilefish. 
    • Shark. 
    • Swordfish. 
    • White (albacore) tuna—avoid eating more than 6 ounces per week. 
  • Certain foods. These foods may contain germs that could cause foodborne illness: 

    • Refrigerated, smoked seafood, like whitefish, salmon and mackerel. 
    • Hot dogs or deli meats, unless steaming hot. 
    • Refrigerated meat spreads. 
    • Unpasteurized dairy or juices. 
    • Store-made chicken, egg or tuna salad. 
    • Unpasteurized soft cheeses, like feta, brie, queso blanco, queso fresco and blue cheeses. 
    • Raw sprouts of any kind (alfalfa and radish, among others). 
  • Too much caffeine. It's not known how much caffeine from tea, coffee, chocolate, energy drinks and soda are safe. It can cause a slight increase in blood pressure. Limit coffee drinking to 12 ounces or less. Check with your health care provider to see if even small amounts are OK for you and your baby. 

What's good to eat 

As part of a healthy diet, include foods that contain folic acid, which can prevent certain birth defects. Try these: 

  • Fortified cereal. 
  • Enriched bread and pasta. 
  • Peanuts. 
  • Dark green, leafy vegetables. 
  • Orange juice. 
  • Beans. 

Some of those foods may also contain calcium, iron and vitamin D, which are important for both your baby's health and your own as well. 

Not sure about eating a particular food during pregnancy? Talk to your health care provider for guidance. Lake Charles Memorial Hospital for Women is home to a team of OB/GYN and women’s health experts. To learn more, click here. >>> 

Sources: American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology; U.S. Food and Drug Administration; March of Dimes; National Institutes of Health