Pregnancy Nutrition

Foods to Avoid

There are certain foods and beverages that can harm your baby if you eat or drink them while you are pregnant. Here is a list of foods and beverages that you should avoid as part of good nutrition during pregnancy:
  • Alcohol. Instead of wine, beer, or a mixed drink, enjoy apple cider, tomato juice, 100 percent juice mixed with sparkling water, or other non-alcoholic beverages.
  • Fish that may have high levels of methylmercury (a substance that can build up in fish and harm an unborn baby). Do not eat shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish during pregnancy. Eat no more than 12 ounces of any fish per week (equal to four 3-ounce servings -- about the size of a deck of cards).
  • Soft cheeses, such as feta, Brie, and goat cheese, and ready-to-eat meats, including lunch meats, hot dogs, and deli meats. These foods may contain bacteria called Listeria that are harmful to unborn babies. Cooking lunch meats, hot dogs, and deli meats until steaming hot can kill the bacteria and make these meats safe to eat.
  • Raw fish, such as sushi, sashimi, or ceviche, and raw or undercooked meat and poultry. These foods can contain harmful bacteria. Cook fish, meat, and poultry thoroughly before eating.
  • Large amounts of caffeine-containing beverages. If you are a heavy coffee, tea, or soda drinker, talk to your healthcare provider about whether you should cut back on caffeine. Try a decaffeinated version of your favorite beverage, a mug of warm low-fat or fat-free milk with honey, or sparkling mineral water.
  • Anything that is not food. Some pregnant women may crave something that is not food, such as laundry starch or clay. Talk to your healthcare provider if you crave something that is not food.
Ask your healthcare provider for a complete list of foods and beverages that you should avoid as part of good pregnancy nutrition.
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