Just Say No

When you’re expecting, there are some foods that you really should avoid.

As a general rule, ob-gyns agree on what to consume when you are expecting. “What would normally be considered a healthy diet is also true for a pregnancy diet,” says Dr. Holly Sternberg of Atlanta Women’s Obstetrics and Gynecology. “Focus on lean protein, fruits and vegetables.” Keep the sugar consumption down to avoid diabetes or unnecessary weight grain, Sternberg says.

Foods to Avoid

  • Soft cheeses made from unpasteurized milk like Brie, feta, queso blanco (Mexican cheese dip), queso fresco, Camembert and Roquefort.
  • Seafood high in mercury, such as swordfish, shark, king mackerel and tilefish. Too much mercury can damage your baby’s developing nervous system. But don’t skip all seafood. Omega-3 fatty acids can help promote brain growth. Eat shrimp, salmon, pollock, catfish and cod instead, along with small amounts of canned, light tuna (just avoid albacore tuna).
  • Raw, undercooked or contaminated seafood, such as sushi, sashimi, oysters and clams. Also avoid refrigerated, smoked seafood such as lox. If you’re going to eat shellfish, cook until the internal temperature is 145 degrees.
  • Undercooked meat, poultry and eggs. Don’t forget processed deli meats and hot dogs – cook these until they are steaming hot since they can carry the food-borne illness listeriosis. Cook eggs until the yolks and whites are firm, and avoid eggnog and hollandaise sauce.
  • Excessive amounts of caffeine. If you have to have it – limit the amount to less than 200 mg a day, or one 8-ounce mug of coffee. Caffeine can decrease birth weight and affect your baby’s heart rate.
  • Alcohol. While one drink a day isn’t likely to cause problems, moms who drink during pregnancy have higher rates of stillbirth and miscarriage, not to mention fetal alcohol syndrome, which causes facial deformities, heart problems and mental retardation.
  • Raw honey, which can carry botulism.

Medicines…

Avoid Advil, Motrin, aspirin and prescription medicines, unless your doctor says otherwise.

But it’s still OK to use…

Benadryl, Tylenol, Robitussin, Vicks, Metamucil, Imodium, Neosporin, Maalox, Tums and Mylanta, hemorrhoid creams, and saline nose sprays.