What Foods Are Dangerous to Eat When Pregnant?

By Brandi Laren
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During pregnancy, mothers tend to indulge on foods they considered forbidden when they weren't pregnant. As they give into their cravings, they may feast on fatty foods, salty and sweet treats and other delectable food items. But, not all foods are safe to eat when a woman is pregnant. In fact, certain foods can put an unborn child at great risk. Read on to find out what foods are dangerous to eat during pregnancy.

Types

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When a woman is pregnant, she should be wary of seafood. Fresh seafood, such as fresh water fish can be contaminated with chemicals. Fish known to have high levels of mercury should also be avoided, including swordfish, shark, tilefish and king mackerel. The consumption of these fish can be dangerous to the development of the baby's brain and nervous system.

While low-mercury seafood, such as salmon, shrimp and catfish is safe to eat during pregnancy, a mother should limit her consumption of these food types to 12 ounces per week.

Warning

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Avoiding undercooked or raw foods is key during pregnancy in order to prevent exposure to bacteria and a variety of viruses. So, if a pregnant woman has a craving for sushi, by no means should she indulge. Raw eggs are also dangerous, so if a pregnant woman is baking cookies or cake, she should avoid the consumption of the cake batter or cookie dough.

Effects

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Dairy foods can be dangerous to consume when pregnant as well. Soft cheese should be avoided, as well as brie feta and blue-veined cheese such as Roquefort. These cheeses can contain listeria bacteria and can be harmful to the baby. Listeriosis, which is caused by the consumption of listeria bacteria, can cause problems for the mother and the baby, including miscarraige, stillbirth and premature delivery.

Hard cheese, such as cheddar, is safe to consume during pregnancy. But, all dairy products that are consumed during pregnancy should have a label that says "pasteurized."

Prevention/Solution

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Deli meat should also be avoided during pregnancy. These types of meats, such as bologna, sliced turkey and ham have been known to be contaminated with listeria, which like cheese, can cause miscarraige. Unwashed vegetables should also be avoided, because they can cause toxoplasmosis, a blood disorder that can lead to low birth weight, jaundice, mental retardation and more in the baby. Vegetables should always be washed thoroughly before they are consumed to prevent any type of infection.

Considerations

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A pregnant woman should consult her obstatrician throughout her pregnancy about foods that are safe and dangerous to consume during pregnancy.

There are a variety of foods that are safe to consume during pregnancy and that should be eaten to maintain the health of the unborn child. Some of these foods are peanut butter and thoroughly cooked poultry, which are packed with protein and are essential to the baby's growth, leafy green vegetables and citrus fruits which contain folic acid. Folic acid prevents brain and spinal cord defects. Yogurt and skim milk should also be consumed, which contains calcium and helps in the development of the baby's bones and teeth.