Don't Eat That!

Diet Makeover

Every woman who decides to have a baby wants the best for her child. It's the desire to take the best possible care of her unborn child that drives a woman to start taking vitamins (if they weren't a regular part of her diet), stop smoking and forego the wine. Changes in nutrition are encouraged and knowing what is good and what is not good for mother and baby during pregnancy is the starting place for healthy eating.

Our environment is full of pollutants which can affect our food-and be especially dangerous for pregnant women and their unborn babies. Some foods that were perfectly fine before conception may be dangerous now. Awareness and taking precautions regarding food that is potentially harmful will not only reduce the danger, it will help to ensure a safe and healthy pregnancy.

Unpasteurized Products And Listeriosis

Diary products that are made from unpasteurized milk are potential carriers of a bacteria called listeri-raw milk, soft cheese with rinds (like Brie and Camembert), blue cheese and Mexican-style cheeses (queso blanco and queso fresco)-are all on the no-no list. Any unpasteurized product can carry the bacteria, so add unpasteurized juices to list. Listeria can also breed in soil, wood, decaying vegetation and water. Animals such as cattle and sheep can be carriers of the bacteria and it can be in the meat from these animals. It is important to wash all vegetables thoroughly, especially if you are eating them raw. Cook all meats properly and avoid pre-packaged, cooked meats and processed meats (like bologna and hot dogs) unless you cook them well. All of these foods have the potential to cause listeriosis.

E. Coli, Toxoplasmosis And Salmonella Lurk In Certain Foods

Undercooked meats and raw fish can cause an E. Coli infection, toxoplasmosis or salmonella poisoning. Avoid eating sushi (unless it is vegetarian), deli meats, pates, raw seafood, especially shellfish and meats that are not cooked well. Salmonella can be found in raw eggs and dishes made with raw eggs. Caesar dressing, unpasteurized eggnog, Hollandaise sauce, cookie batter, and homemade ice cream should all be avoided by a pregnant woman.

Eat Fish-But Check First

While fish and seafood can be a source of lean protein, B vitamins and Omega-3 fatty acids, unfortunately pollution has made them less than great to eat. Dumping into water sources by large industries has increased the incidence of mercury in fish and seafood. Mercury overload can damage an unborn baby's brain and vision as well as his/her nervous system. Swordfish, shark, tilefish, and King mackerel are among the most toxic of fish. Farmed fish can also be very dangerous. The FDA provides a list of which fish are best to eat and the quantities advised.

Yes, You Can Get Too Much Of A Good Thing

Liver is good food and high in Vitamin A. However, keep the liver intake down during pregnancy because studies have shown that a high intake of Vitamin A causes birth defects. Vitamin A comes in two forms, beta carotene and retinol. Retinol is found in some foods, like liver. Beta carotene is considered a safer form on Vitamin A. Check with the health care provider before taking increased doses of Vitamin A. Another vitamin caution is overdoing it with Vitamin E. New research indicates that too much Vitamin E promotes oxidative damage, damaging cells and speeding up aging of cells. The result of this is heart disease and cancer. There is some disagreement about the issue and checking in with the doctor is suggested.

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