More Articles on A Healthy Pregnancy

Thinking About Getting Pregnant?
Congratulations on Your Pregnancy! (for those who are newly pregnant)
What is a healthy pregnancy weight gain?
Can I continue to eat a vegetarian diet during pregnancy?
A Pregnancy Menu For You and Your Baby
Treating Nausea and Vomiting
What About Seafood?
Don't Eat That!
Pregnancy and Cholesterol
Wash Those Veggies!
Breastmilk, the Healthiest Diet for Babies
What DOES that Broccoli Do for My Baby?
Vitamin D Supplements in Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
New Research Affirms Individualized Vitamin D Supplementation for Pregnant Women
Breastfeeding: Developing a Future Gourmet
What to Do About The Flu
Gestational Diabetes
Decreasing the Risk of Gestation Diabetes
Keeping and Storing Breastmilk
Pregnancy Weight Gain Guidelines – Do We Need New Ones?
Breastfeeding: A Woman's Health Issue
Eating During Labor
Probiotics and a Decreased Risk of Gestational Diabetes
Pregnancy - a Time to be Active!
Clearing the Air : Quit Smoking for You and Your Child
What is a Healthy Pregnancy Diet for Obese Women?
Does Iron Intake Matter?
One Fish, Two Fish... Full Term Birth?
Folic acid in pregnancy and language development
A Mediterranean Diet, Pre-Pregnancy
There is No Substitute for a Healthy Diet
Honest Healthy Diets for Babies
Exercise for New Moms
A Healthy Pre-Pregnancy Diet and Gestational Diabetes
Vitamin D and Gestational Diabetes
Great News About Breastfeeding
Peanuts and Pregnancy
Fried Foods and Gestational Diabetes
Iodine supplements - should you take them?
Prevent Gestational Diabetes with a Mediterranean-style diet
FDA Updates Recommendations for Fish Consumption in Pregnancy

Faith Bontrager, RN, BSN

Faith Bontrager, RN, BSNFaith's passion in nursing is to help people find the options they need to discover their personal path to optimum health. Ask her friends and they will tell you that their appreciation of nutritious food has grown through Faith. About Faith Bontrager, RN, BSN


A Healthy Pregnancy

Don't Eat That!

Many of these articles are about things that you should eat. The focus of this article is about things that you should either limit or eliminate entirely from your diet.


Cut it out! There is no level of alcohol consumption that has been proven safe during pregnancy. Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs) is an umbrella term describing the range of effects that can occur in a baby whose mother drank alcohol during pregnancy. These effects include physical, mental, behavioral, and/or learning disabilities with possible lifelong implications. Visit the CDC site on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome for more information.


OK, it's not a food but I will mention it here because it is so dangerous to babies. We know that mothers who smoke are more likely to miscarry and babies of mothers who smoke are more likely to be born too early. Babies may have birth defects or other problems because smoking reduces the blood flow to the baby. If you smoke, stop! You will never have a better reason to quit. Having problems stopping? Talk to your doctor about smoking cessation programs in your area.

Potential sources of food poisoning

Your digestion slows down during pregnancy to allow to you absorb extra nutrients and share them with baby. However, this may also make you more susceptible to food poisoning. As always, wash your hands before cooking or eating. Unsure about those leftovers? Follow the old adage, "If in doubt, throw it out." Some have speculated that women's heightened sense of smell and taste during pregnancy are adaptations to protect themselves and their babies from food poisoning. Who knows? It is a positive way to consider these traits.

Fruits and vegetables

Fresh fruit and veggies are an important part of your diet but wash them well. Unwashed fruits and vegetables can harbor bacteria.


Skip the steak tartare. Use a food thermometer and cook meat to safe temperatures. Not sure how to use a food thermometer or what is a safe temperature? Here's more information from the USDA.

Skip the deli meat and the hot dogs. They can be a source of listeriosis, a food poisoning that is rare but quite dangerous. If you are REALLY hungry for them, heat them until they steam.


Stay away from soft cheeses unless the label states that they are made with pasteurized milk. Cheeses that are commonly made from unpasteurized milk include Blue cheese, Brie, Camembert, and many Mexican cheeses such as queso blanco, queso fresco, and queso asadero.


Should you eat sea food or not? What types? How much? Read my article on eating seafood during pregnancy. Don't eat raw sea food or refrigerated smoked sea food during pregnancy. They may contain viruses or bacteria that can harm your baby and you.

Raw eggs (or foods that contain raw eggs)

Eggs are a wonderful part of a pregnancy diet, but be sure to cook them. Raw eggs may contain salmonella, a food borne illness. Watch the hollandaise sauce, egg nog, and some mousse recipes.


Do you need to pass on Starbucks as well as the pub? This answer isn't as definitive. We do know that caffeine does cross the placenta. It can raise your baby's heart rate like it does yours. Is this dangerous? We are not sure. Some studies have shown that moderate levels of caffeine may increase the risk of miscarriage. Other studies don't show a strong link. Caffeine does interfere with your absorption of calcium and it can keep you from sleeping well.

The March of Dimes recommends that women who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant consume 200mg of caffeine or less daily. This is about 12 oz of average brewed coffee or 4 8oz cups of brewed tea. Chocolate also has caffeine. Read the labels.

Herbal teas

If you are cutting out or cutting back on soft drinks, coffee, and tea, what can you drink? Try water! Add a twist of lemon or lime for a refreshing beverage. What about herbal teas? The boxes look attractive on the shelf. Are they OK? Most of them are. Read the labels. Some are mixed with green or black teas and have significant amounts of caffeine. Want to check the safety of a specific herbal tea? Here is a list of teas linked to the Natural Medicines Database.

The good news is that you can safely eat most foods during pregnancy. Eat a variety of good food. Take time to enjoy food with good friends. Nourish yourself and your child!

While the information in this article applies to most pregnant women, you may have special nutritional needs because of your health history or pregnancy complications. Always talk with your doctor or midwife about nutrition.