18 foods that are forbidden during pregnancy and can harm your baby

During pregnancy, we must make some changes and adjustments in our routine and lifestyle, because now our body has different needs that we must take care of and take into account so that everything works correctly.

One of these changes is in the diet, since there are certain foods that are more likely to contain harmful microorganisms that cross the placental barrier and that can affect the baby that are not recommended at this stage. We share 18 foods that are prohibited during pregnancy and can harm your baby .

Prohibited foods during pregnancy

1. Raw milk

Raw milk is the milk of cows, sheep, and goats (or any other animal) that has not been pasteurized to kill harmful bacteria. According to the website of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) , raw milk can carry dangerous bacteria , such as Salmonella , E. coli , Listeria, Campylobacter, and others that cause foodborne illnesses.

These bacteria can be found in raw milk, as well as in derived products. Remember that boiling raw milk is not enough , the only way to ensure that it is safe is to buy pasteurized milk .

2. Unpasteurized dairy

Like raw milk, unpasteurized dairy could contain listeria, so we must make sure that all dairy products specify on their labeling that they have been pasteurized or made with pasteurized milk .

Pregnant women are at serious risk for listeriosis caused by the bacteria Listeria , a bacteria commonly found in protein-rich foods served raw or without reheating that can lead to miscarriage, premature delivery, infection, or death of the newborn.

Unpasteurized dairy products include those derived from milk such as yogurts, creams, ice cream or frozen yogurt, and soft cheeses.

3. Unpasteurized soft cheeses

Al igual que los productos lácteos sin pasteurizar, debemos tener precaución con ciertos tipos de quesos, debido al riesgo de listeriosis que presentan, particularmente los quesos blandos o estilo mexicano, como: brie, queso feta, camembert, queso blanco, queso fresco, queso panela.

Es importante que lleven el sello de que están fabricados con leche pasteurizada y no comprarlos en mercados donde dudemos de la refrigeración que han tenido y del envasado.

4. Queso roquefort

The roquefort cheese or blue cheese , which belongs to the group of soft cheeses that have stretch marks is best avoided during pregnancy because they are at increased risk of being contaminated with the bacteria.

The cheeses that are safe to consume in pregnancy are hard cheeses , such as cheddar, extra-hard cheeses , such as Parmesan , and semi-soft cheeses , such as mozzarella . Pasteurized sliced ​​cheese, spreadable cheese like cream cheese, and cottage cheese are also considered safe to consume.

5. Raw or smoked fish

Raw fish and / or foods made from raw or smoked fish and shellfish are more likely to contain parasites or bacteria than foods made from cooked fish.

Therefore, the consumption of raw and / or smoked fish and shellfish or that are not well cooked should be avoided to avoid the risk of listeria or anisakis , a worm-shaped parasite that lives in the digestive tract of fish, cephalopods and mammals. marine.

Some examples of this are sushi (with raw fish that is not properly frozen to -20 degrees properly), smoked salmon, fish carpaccio, fish tartare or fish ceviche .

6. Raw seafood

According to the FDA , pregnant women should avoid eating raw or undercooked shellfish such as prawns, prawns, oysters, clams, mussels and oysters because of the risk of anisakis.

It is also not recommended to eat the heads of shrimp because they contain a high content of cadmium, a metal capable of causing kidney dysfunction.

7. Bluefin tuna and other large fish

Although the consumption of fish during pregnancy is good due to proteins and nutrients such as Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids, there are certain types of fish that we should avoid during this stage, because they contain very high levels of mercury . Large high-mercury fish to avoid include bluefin tuna, shark , swordfish, King Mackerel and pike.

The Spanish Agency for Consumption, Food Safety and Consumption (Aecosan) recommends pregnant women or those who may become pregnant, women who are breastfeeding and young children (between 1 and 30 months old, avoid consuming these fish.

To continue consuming fish and obtain all the benefits that it can provide during pregnancy, we can choose safe and low-mercury options such as: salmon, shrimp, cod, sardines, anchovies, trout, tilapia and canned tuna.

8. Raw or undercooked meats

When cooking food , it is extremely important to make sure it is done correctly, especially during pregnancy. Not being well cooked runs the risk of toxoplasmosis , a parasite called toxoplasma gondii , which is found in the raw meat of many animals and in the droppings of an infected cat.

Some of the damages it can cause are: premature labor, low birth weight, fever, jaundice, abnormalities in the retina, delayed mental development, seizures, abnormal size of the head and calcifications in the brain.

Eating raw meats that are not well done should be avoided , including raw beef, raw chicken meat, raw pork or meat from any other animal that is not well cooked or is directly consumed raw, such as in carpaccios .

9. Uncured or unfrozen ham

Ham had been associated with the risk of toxoplasmosis, but recent studies conclude that pregnant women can eat ham, although with certain specifications : as long as the ham has aged for more than 18 months (24 in the case of Iberian ham) .

10. Sausages

The sausages are also other food group with which we must be careful during pregnancy, as they may be contaminated with listeria during processing. This section includes, for example, chorizo, salami, salami, mortadella, fuet, etc.

According to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) , the only safe way to consume them is by checking that they are reheated and very hot .

11. Raw or undercooked eggs

Eggs should be avoided raw due to the possible risk of salmonellosis , caused by the salmonella bacteria , mainly contained in raw poultry, as well as raw or undercooked meats and eggs. If it enters the body it can cause: dehydration, bacteremia, reactive arthritis or Reiter’s syndrome and meningitis.

It is important to mention that it is not only the raw egg itself, but also foods that take it in its preparation and are not cooked later should be avoided . So this section includes homemade mayonnaise , hollandaise sauce or any sauce or dessert prepared with raw egg such as mousses , tiramisu ( can be made without eggs ), meringues .

12. Patés or foie

Another food that is not recommended to consume in pregnancy are refrigerated spreads or spreads , due to the risk of listeriosis they present. What we must do is verify that they are pasteurized and avoid those that are made at home .

On the other hand, it is important to limit the consumption of pates that contain liver (even if their labeling indicates that they have been pasteurized), as they are high in vitamin A, which in excess could be harmful to the health of the baby .

13. Unwashed vegetables

Although vegetables are an essential part of a healthy diet during pregnancy, it is important to handle them correctly before consuming them .

This includes washing them well to avoid possible contamination by toxoplasmosis , since this could be present in the soil where they are grown. Avoid contact with raw meats and clean kitchen utensils well after use.

14. Raw sprouts

Although they are very beneficial to health , during pregnancy we must take certain precautions and preferably avoid raw sprouts and sprouts , since they are prone to being contaminated with bacteria such as E. Colli and Salmonella due to the conditions in which they develop.

This group of raw sprouts and sprouts includes alfalfa , radish, soybeans, or clover .

A safer way to consume them is by cooking them to eliminate possible bacteria that may be present.

15. Packaged sandwiches

As recommended by Aecosan , pregnant women should avoid the sandwiches that we can buy packaged as well as other prepared foods that contain vegetables, eggs, meat, cold cuts, fish and derivatives.

16. Brown algae

Brown algae such as laminaria, kombu, or Macrocystis are contraindicated in pregnancy due to the potential actions at the level of thyroid function in pregnant women. Although green algae are beneficial on a nutritional level, it is recommended not to consume them in large quantities.

17. Coffee (more than one large cup a day)

On the other hand, consuming an excess of caffeine in pregnancy is related to an increased risk of miscarriage and preterm delivery. The WHO establishes the maximum consumption of coffee in pregnant women at 300 milligrams per day . For its part, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG for its acronym in English) reduces this amount in its 2010 recommendations. It advises pregnant women to limit their consumption to less than 200 milligrams of caffeine per day .

This equates to more than a large cup or two small a day, although a recent study indicates that even in amounts that are considered safe, caffeine could affect a baby’s birth weight. Remember that we also find caffeine in chocolate and in some soft drinks.

18. Alcohol

And of course, it cannot be considered a food, but alcohol is totally prohibited in pregnancy . As there is no safe minimum amount , it is best to avoid it completely. What the mother drinks gets to the baby, and alcohol use in pregnancy is the most common non-genetic cause of mental retardation. Important reason not to drink a drop of alcohol during pregnancy.
Subscribe to receive every day our tips on pregnancy, motherhood, babies, breastfeeding and family.

General recommendations for a safe diet during pregnancy

In addition to avoiding these foods that are considered prohibited and not recommended during pregnancy, we must always take certain precautions to eat a safe diet during pregnancy . To do this, we share some tips:

  • Wash your hands well before and after handling any food.
  • Properly clean kitchen utensils after use.
  • Wash fruits and vegetables well to remove traces of dirt and pesticides, as well as possible bacteria or parasites that cause diseases.
  • Cook food at a temperature of more than 75ºC to kill all kinds of microorganisms that transmit diseases. Never serve semi-cooked, “juicy” or raw meats.
  • Avoid contact of raw food with cooked food .
  • Consume food after cooking. Do not leave them at room temperature for more than two hours.
  • Keep perishable foods in the refrigerator.
  • Thaw meat completely before cooking.
  • If we consume reheated food, make sure that it has reached high temperatures (more than 75ºC).
  • Do not consume food after its expiration date.

With these tips and avoiding foods that are forbidden during pregnancy , you can avoid the appearance of food illnesses that harm you and your baby.

Leave a Comment