Common foodborne illness caused by Listeria, Salmonella, and E. coli can cause discomfort to you. However, your baby is much more vulnerable to these types of illnesses that can live in raw, undercooked, or processed foods.
To help guard you and your baby’s health, it’s important to limit certain foods when pregnant, such as the following:
Limit shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and albacore tuna to 1 serving per week.
Undercooked or raw fish
Avoid raw oysters and sushi that contains raw fish.
Undercooked, raw, and processed meats
All raw meat and poultry should be thoroughly cooked before eating. It's important to cook it until it reaches the recommended safe, minimum internal temperature because meat and poultry may contain E. coli, Salmonella, Campylobacter, or Toxoplasma gondii. Washing hands and cutting boards with soap and water also reduces exposure to bacteria. Limit your consumption of processed meat, such as hot dogs, deli meats, and smoked meats. They are high in sodium and can contain Listeria.
Avoid feta, Brie, Camembert, Roquefort, and Mexican-style cheese, like queso fresco, panela, and asadero. They may be unpasteurized.
Avoid foods made with raw eggs. These include homemade mayonnaise, hollandaise sauce, Caesar salad dressing, cookie dough, frostings, and homemade ice cream.
Avoid unpasteurized dairy products. Look for “pasteurized” on the label, as it means the product has been heated to kill germs.
Avoid honey while you’re pregnant, and don’t give it to children under 1 year old, as it may contain bacteria that can threaten your and your baby’s health.
The dirty dozen
It’s important to eat lots of fruits and vegetables, but some have more pesticide residue than others. Watch out for these “dirty dozen” and choose organic whenever possible: strawberries, spinach, nectarines, apples, grapes, peaches, cherries, pears, tomatoes, celery, potatoes, and sweet bell peppers.
For more information on staying healthy during every stage of your pregnancy, visit our Pregnancy Guides page.