A roast-beef sandwich from your favorite deli. A runny fried egg on toast. A big juicy albacore tuna steak. Sound tasty? Well, here’s a heads-up: An expectant mother should avoid eating any of these things. All kinds of potential dangers may be lurking in these foods.
Certain foods should be avoided completely during pregnancy, including:
• Cheese made from unpasteurized milk (unpackaged, real buffalo mozzarella, some brie or camembert, gorgonzola)
• Cold cuts and other uncured meat (prosciutto, bologna)
• Raw fish: sushi, seared tuna steak, lox
• Smoked fish or meat
• Raw meat: steak tartar, carpaccio
• Raw eggs: homemade mayo, eggs over easy, soft-poached eggs
• Salad bar foods
These foods can contain listeria, salmonella, toxoplasmosis and nitrites, all of which are extremely harmful for the unborn baby.
You should take this list of taboo foods to heart, but don’t be too concerned if you had some salami or lox yesterday – since the last serious listeria epidemic, in 1985, the FDA has established strict regulations and the incidence of listeria is very low. And many women are immune to toxoplasmosis, the result of an infection they didn’t even notice. If you have a cat or if you eat raw meat, your obstetrician will check your blood at the beginning of your pregnancy tests for this.
Antibiotics can be used to fight listeria, although they don’t always successfully cure the disease. You should really try to curb any desire you may have for these forbidden foods – it’s just better that way.
In additional it’s essential that you take a few precautions when preparing food while you’re pregnant. Here are the basics:
• Always wash your hands with soap before preparing food.
• Make sure you always carefully wash fruits and vegetables.
• Don’t eat any food past its expiration date, even if it still seems OK.
• Eat only thoroughly cooked food.
• Heat food only once and throw any leftovers away.
By the way, you may be interested to know that our Norwegian sister site (www.babyverden.no
) advises pregnant women not to eat the following foods: seagull eggs, seal, whale, rays, crab viscera (entrails) and reindeer meat. So just consider yourself lucky that you’re not craving any of those