Eating Raw Foods When You Are Pregnant 10 Foods to Avoid

Eating Raw Foods When You Are Pregnant 10 Foods to Avoid

What Happens If You Eat Raw Foods When You Are Pregnant?

Eating raw foods during pregnancy can result in infections that may lead to miscarriages, premature labor, and birth defects.

Health experts caution against eating any raw food during pregnancy.

During pregnancy, your body undergoes changes to accommodate the growing fetus. The immune system is naturally suppressed, increasing the risk of infections. These infections can be transmitted to your unborn child even if there are no symptoms in the mother.

The following infections can cause miscarriages, premature labor, and birth defects in the child:

  • Listeriosis: Listeria monocytogenes are bacteria that infect young children, immunocompromised individuals, and pregnant women. Symptoms include fever, vomiting, and diarrhea in the mother. The infection can lead to sepsis and meningitis in the unborn baby.
  • Toxoplasmosis: Toxoplasma gondii is a parasite found in uncooked meat. Handling uncooked meats can lead to toxoplasmosis infestation in the unborn baby, causing congenital hearing loss, blindness, and brain damage.
  • Salmonellosis: Salmonellosis during pregnancy may cause inflammation of the placenta and membranes surrounding the fetus, increasing the risk of stillborn babies.

In addition, raw foods may be contaminated by other bacteria such as E. coli, Shigella, and Campylobacter jejuni that can cause food poisoning in pregnant women, leading to dehydration, shock, and low blood pressure.

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10 raw foods to avoid during pregnancy

Here are 10 raw foods to avoid when pregnant (although they can be enjoyed if well cooked):

  1. Raw meat: Avoid raw or undercooked beef, lamb, pork, or poultry during pregnancy due to the high risk of E. coli and toxoplasmosis. Meat should be thoroughly cooked. Sausages, burgers, and steaks should be cooked until no blood or pinkness remains.
  2. Raw eggs: Avoid foods that may contain raw eggs such as mousse, certain sauces, salad dressings, homemade ice creams, and tiramisu. These foods can transmit Salmonella bacteria from the intact shell to the inside of the egg.
  3. Sushi: Salmon and codfish used in sushi can be contaminated with Vibrio vulnificus bacteria, posing a risk of gastroenteritis in pregnant women.
  4. Shellfish: Avoid fresh or cured oysters during pregnancy due to the high risk of E. coli and salmonellosis.
  5. Cured meats: Some cold cured meats like chorizo, salami, and prosciutto may be contaminated by toxoplasmosis parasites and should be avoided.
  6. Unpasteurized milk: Avoid unpasteurized milk as it carries a high risk of Listeria contamination. This includes milk in the form of cold coffee, ice creams, or drinks.
  7. Cheese: Avoid cheese made from unpasteurized milk and mold-ripened soft cheese with a white rind, as well as soft goat cheese and blue cheese. These cheeses pose a high risk of Listeria contamination. Soft cheese contains more moisture and is more susceptible to food poisoning.
  8. Uncooked sprouts: Uncooked alfalfa and radish sprouts often contain bacteria that cannot be completely washed off. It is better to steam them before consumption.
  9. Celery and lettuce: Raw salads made with celery and lettuce can be contaminated with E. coli and Salmonella. It is advisable to avoid raw salads during pregnancy.
  10. Juices: Be cautious with freshly squeezed juices from restaurants, as they may not be pasteurized. It is safer to make juices at home, ensuring fruits are thoroughly washed and glasses are clean.
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QUESTION

6 foods to avoid during pregnancy

Some foods are dangerous during pregnancy, even when cooked:

  1. Certain fish: Certain fish contain high levels of mercury, which can cause defects in brain development. Avoid king mackerel, marlin, shark, swordfish, tilefish (from the Gulf of Mexico), and bigeye tuna.
  2. Organ meats: Limit consumption of occasional small portions of organ meats and pates, as they are rich in vitamin A, which may cause birth defects.
  3. Caffeine: Limit caffeine consumption to no more than 200 mg daily, including caffeine in drinks such as tea, sodas, chocolate, and cold medications. High caffeine consumption is linked to low birth weights.
  4. Alcohol: Avoid alcohol completely during pregnancy, as it is associated with developmental anomalies in children.
  5. Herbal teas: Avoid herbal teas that contain sage, parsley, peppermint, and aloe vera, as they may stimulate uterine contractions. Ginger tea is generally safe during pregnancy.
  6. Miscellaneous: Discuss with your doctor regarding the consumption of herbs such as fenugreek, turmeric, ashwagandha, and raw papaya during pregnancy. Their safety is uncertain.

What should I do if I eat something risky during pregnancy?

If you eat something risky, do not panic or try to induce vomiting. Contact your doctor or midwife for advice.

If you experience symptoms such as cramps, spotting, and vomiting, visit the emergency room.

3 food precautions when having takeout during pregnancy

Follow these three food precautions when having takeout during pregnancy:

  1. Two-hour rule: If you cannot consume the food within two hours of being served, do not take the leftovers home. Drive home as soon as possible after eating out and refrigerate any perishables left out at room temperature for longer than two hours.
  2. Temperature: Do not let hot food sit out at room temperature. If you receive a lukewarm dish in a restaurant, send it back.
  3. Heat the food before eating: If you are not going to eat the food within two hours, keep it hot in the oven with the temperature set at or above 200°F. Make sure the food is heated at a high temperature and not just warmed up. Check with a food thermometer to ensure the food is held at an internal temperature of 140°F.
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