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Foods to Avoid When You are Pregnant

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As soon as my husband and I decided to start trying I figured I might as well take a look at the infinite list of things not to eat while pregnant. This never-ending list left me feeling like my safest bet was to regress back to eating Cheerios and pureed bananas. In our safety conscious society, as soon as there is a chance of some type of food affecting your unborn child…. then it makes it onto the NO-NO list. I personally think a lot of it can be exaggerated and driven by paranoia, but the majority of the reasoning for avoiding certain foods is for a good cause. Pregnant women are simply 20% more susceptible to bacteria, viruses, and parasites that cause foodborne illness. Lucky us hey?! Basically, if you devour a bowl of raw eggs you may be more likely to get sick but it’s still not a guarantee, so if you happened to eat any of these foods during your pregnancy don’t fret. You are going to be fine. But for your sanity once you know you’re pregnant, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

  So hopefully I can help you feel a little more at ease when making choices on what to really avoid. The reason for avoiding the majority of the below listed foods is that they are known for the possibility of containing either Listeria, Salmonella, or E.Coli. But there are still ways to work around these food guidelines.

  • Unpasteurized Milk – most standard milk (skim, 1% and 2%) is already pasteurized, but if you wanna guzzle down some buttermilk or homo milk, just check the label

  • Unpasteurized Juice– as long as its pasteurized go ahead

  • Unpasteurized Honey– just check the label

  • Deli Meats – as long as you cook the meat until it’s steaming, it’s safe to eat. So if you can’t keep your hands off the spicy pepperoni, just zap it in the microwave or frying pan

  • Raw or undercooked sprouts, such as alfalfa, clover, and radish – As long as you cook them it’s considered perfectly safe

  • Runny Eggs -This one was hard for me to give up because I love sunny side eggs. I’ll just compromise on egg salad and scrambled eggs for 9 short months. (keep your paws off the raw cookie dough though…. sad I know)

  • Undercooked Meat – I love a good steak so I simply bought a meat thermometer. As long as it’s cooked to the proper internal temperature you are fine to indulge your cannibal side

  • Raw Sushi– I love sushi! But there are so many other sushi options that don’t contain raw fish so don’t feel like you have to pack away your chopsticks just yet.

  • Certain Herbal Teas– The affects of herbal tea hasn’t been fully researched but it’s suggested to avoid chamomile tea, sage tea, parsley tea, teas with aloe, coltsfoot, juniper  berries, pennyroyal, buckthorn bark, comfrey, labrador tea, sassafras, duck  roots, lobelia and senna leaves. (for example chamomile contains very high natural anti-inflammatory agents that could affect the baby)

  • Soft Cheeses like Feta and Brie – I read that you should avoid these cheeses because they are unpasteurized but after a couple of months of reading labels I realized that the majority of these cheeses are already pasteurized. This was music to my ears so I ran to the store for brie and crackers!

  • Caffeine – There is no reason to give up coffee. Just limit your intake to the suggested 200 mg daily level and you can still empty your wallet at Starbucks

My only advice, don`t believe everything you hear. I have had some crazy advice from strangers while pregnant. I was told once that I shouldn’t pet a friend’s cat. I’m sure pregnant ladies don’t toss out their cats when they are with child but thanks for the advice. Yes you shouldn’t change the litter box, but as long as you’re not petting the cats butt I’m sure you’re fine. Or when I was scolded by a stranger for chewing mint gum because it can induce labor. I don’t know about you, but if a piece of Trident gum is all that’s keeping my child from coming out at 6 months…. well I got bigger issues.

Every year it seems like something new is added to this list. In all honesty I’m sure my mom’s generation didn’t fret when eating bologna and brie sandwiches with a side of unpasteurized apple juice, and I turned out fine. I think. haha. There is plenty of research behind all the environmental factors that affect pregnancy but I personally think the psychological factors are just as important. If you eat a piece of cheese without checking the label don’t go running to the ER to get your stomach pumped. I think the stress will do a lot more damage than the cheese itself. After all…..there is only a chance of getting sick from food whereas the damage of stress on your body is a guarantee. So if you’re a 4 cup of coffee type of girl, you might find that the caffeine deprivation and stress of weaning yourself down to a single cup is more damaging to your body than the caffeine itself. Listen to your body. Speaking of caffeine though (I never really drank coffee before pregnancy so it was easy to give that up) remember that the half-life of caffeine increases during pregnancy. For example: if normally caffeine lasts 2 hours in your system, in the second trimester it lasts 4 hours and in the third trimester it lasts 8 so don’t be chugging down a large espresso at 4pm unless you want to be counting sheep til 5 in the morning.

All in all, if you are really worried about something you already ate or want to eat, ask your doctor, OBGYN, or midwife so you can put your mind at ease. The best diet for pregnancy isn’t a calorie free diet or a dairy free diet… it’s a stress free diet.

In every life we have some trouble, but when you worry you make it double. Don’t worry, be happy. ~ Boddy McFerrin

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Author: Domestic Ingenuity

I am a DIY-ing, crafting, thrifting, baking, sewing, cooking, deal-loving gal with too much energy and a love for creating.

5 thoughts on “Foods to Avoid When You are Pregnant

  1. Eeek! We’re not trying for a baby yet, but I’m going to have to completely reform my diet during pregnancy! I love most of the foods on that list… especially the sushi/raw fish, soft cheeses, raw honey, runny eggs and caffeine! Plus alcohol, which I’d need to eradicate. Wah. Great to have a balanced viewpoint though… this is one of the minority of articles that actually tell you how to overcome the issues, rather than just saying “you should live on overcooked meat, hard boiled eggs and cooked vegetables”!! xx

    • hahah Thanks so much! I try to write from a somewhat unbiased point of view while still giving my personal experiences. I truly believe that some people could probably eat every single thing that there not supposed to and still be fine. I just prefer to stay closer to the safe side. And by all means….. indulge in what you feel comfortable eating. Of course I don’t suggest rare steak and a bottle of wine but a cheeseburger and sparkling grape juice can sometimes do the trick! Good luck!

  2. I am eating a runny egg as I read this ;) ha! But for reals, the long list is scary, you just have to do what is right for you!

    • Haha exactly! They only suggest to avoid these things because of the small chance. However I think your diet could consist of EVERYTHING on this list and you could still be okay. haha it could make a poor pregnant go crazy!

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