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Food Safety and Avoiding Contamination
As a pregnant woman, there are certain foods that may affect the safety of your baby.
You should avoid or limit the intake of the following items. Please use the links to learn more about each.
If you have concerns please discus them with your midwife at your
Consuming raw or undercooked meats
can cause the illness
toxoplasmosis. Be careful when handling raw meat before
cooking. Always wash hands and surfaces thoroughly. This
organism can also be found in contaminated water and soil,
unwashed fruit or vegetables, and cat feces. It's for this
reason that pregnant moms should avoid changing the litter box.
High levels of mercury in
fish and shellfish may harm an unborn baby or affect a young child's developing nervous system. While fish and shellfish are an essential part of a healthy diet and provide important nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids and protein to babies, fish that have high amounts of mercury should be avoided during pregnancy. These include shark, swordfish, king mackerel, tilefish, and albacore tuna. To learn more, visit this FDA web page.
Soft or unpasteurized cheeses may contain harmful bacteria called Listeria. If you get sick from Listeria, the baby you're carrying could get sick or die. During pregnancy, eat hard and pasteurized cheeses to protect your unborn baby. To learn more, visit
this CDC web page.
Careful food preparation and
selection practices will help reduce the risk for developing
listeriosis. The following is a table from the
FDA Cosumer website on Food Safety. These are their
|Do not eat:
||It's okay to eat:
|Hot dogs and luncheon meats –
unless they're reheated until steaming hot.
||Steaming hot, thoroughly
reheated hot dogs and luncheon meats.
|Soft cheeses, such as Feta,
Brie, Camembert, "blue-veined cheeses," or "queso
blanco," "queso fresco," or Panela – unless they're
made with pasteurized milk.
||Soft cheeses labeled as made
with pasteurized milk.
|Refrigerated pÔtÚs or meat
||Canned or shelf-stable pÔtÚs or
|Refrigerated smoked seafood –
unless it's in a cooked dish, such as a
casserole. (Refrigerated smoked seafood, such as salmon,
trout, whitefish, cod, tuna, or mackerel is most often
labeled as "nova-style," "lox," "kippered," "smoked," or
"jerky." These types of fish are found in the
refrigerator section or sold at deli counters or grocery
stores and delicatessens.)
||Canned or shelf-stable smoked
|Foods that contain unpasteurized
||Foods that contain pasteurized
|Do not drink:
||It's okay to drink:
Over the Counter Medications:
Although generally it is best not to take any medications during pregnancy, there is no evidence that the following medications are harmful, and they may be used sparingly. Please follow dosage instructions on the label and call your midwife if symptoms persist or you have any questions. You can also refer to the "Common complaints" page for other remedies.
||Saline nose spray, Benadryl, Sudafed, Actifed
||Plain Robitussin, Cepacol spray, lozenges
||Maalox, Mylanta, Tums, Rolaids, Pepcid, Tagamet
||stool softeners such as Metamucil, Fiber-Con, Citracal, Colace, Surfak
||Anusol, Preparation H
||fluids, Kaopectate, Pedialyte
||peppermints, saltine crackers, Vitamin B (50 mg three times daily), ginger ale
||Monistat, Gyne-Lotrimin, Terazol
|Herbs and Supplements
||please check with the midwives prior to use.