Eating Healthy During Pregnancy
During pregnancy, you can eat the same things that you normally eat when you were not pregnant. But especially in the first few months of your pregnancy, your baby can be hurt by poisons (toxins) or germs (bacteria).
For this reason, you need to be aware of these food dangers and learn how to choose and prepare your food safely.
What Foods Might Be Harmful to My Baby During Pregnancy?
The foods of most concern are fish, meat, milk, and cheese. Because these are important parts of most diets, you will want to learn to choose the right fish, meat, milk, or cheese.
What’s the Problem With Fish?
Many fish – especially fish that are large, eat other fish, and live a long time – have mercury in them. Mercury can cause problems with the development of your baby’s brain and nerves. Fish may also have dioxins and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). These toxins may cause problems with the development of your baby’s brain and may cause cancer.
So Should I Just Stop Eating Fish?
No. Fish is a wonderful food. It has lots of good protein and other nutrients. You can continue to eat fish, but you may wish to cut down on the amount of fish you eat and change the kind of fish you eat.
What Meat is Dangerous?
In the United States most of our meat is safe to eat. However, meat that has not been kept cold or that has not been prepared properly may have germs or parasites that could harm you or your baby. Raw meat may contain toxoplasmosis. Toxoplasmosis is a germ that can damage your growing baby’s eyes, brain, and hearing.
What Do I Need to Know About Milk And Cheese?
Some cheese may contain germs (bacteria) called listeria. These germs can cause a disease called listeriosis, which may cause miscarriage, stillbirth, or serious health problems for your baby. To avoid listeriosis, you may want to avoid soft cheeses like Mexican-style queso blanco fresco, feta, or Brie.
How Do I Prepare Food Safely?
- Wash your hands and cooking surfaces often.
- Keep raw meat away from raw fruit and vegetables and cooked meat.
- Cook your food until it is steaming hot. Keep uneaten food cold or frozen.