High mercury seafood: Shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish and tuna are among the list of seafood that should be avoided by expectant mothers because of their mercury content. Mercury can impair a baby’s developing brain and nervous system.
Unpasteurized (raw) milk or juices: Listeriosis is a bacterial infection that can be very dangerous to your baby. The bacteria that causes listeriosis can be found in raw milk and juices and can even continue to grow in the refrigerator.
Deli meat (unless steaming hot): Listeriosis can also be found in cold deli meat. The same goes for refrigerated smoked seafood, meat spreads, and deli salads such as coleslaw, potato salad, ham salad, and seafood salad. Unless you don’t mind eating these steaming hot, you’ll want to avoid them.
Raw or undercooked meat, poultry, fish, shellfish, and eggs: The main risks in eating raw and undercooked food are the bacteria Salmonella and the parasite Toxoplasma, both of which can infect your unborn baby and cause serious health problems. Avoid sauces made with raw eggs, which can include homemade Caesar salad dressing, béarnaise and hollandaise sauces, and mayonnaise.When dining out, order your meat well done, your eggs and seafood fully cooked through.
Raw sprouts and unwashed produce: Toxoplasma is also a concern in unwashed fruits and vegetables. Make sure to rinse produce thoroughly under running water before using it. And avoid eating bruised fruit or vegetables, as bacteria can thrive in areas where the produce has been damaged.
Unpasteurized cheese: Like raw milk, unpasteurized soft cheese carries the risk of Listeria contamination. The cheeses that are typically of concern include feta, Brie, Camembert, fresh mozzarella, blue cheese like gorgonzola, Limburger, queso blanco, and queso fresco. As long as the label says that the cheese is pasteurized, it’s safe to eat.
Energy drinks and excessive coffee: Up to 200 milligrams a day of caffeine is considered safe during pregnancy. That amounts to about 12 ounces of drip coffee, which sounds like a lot until you consider your consumption throughout the day. The stimulant can lurk in many other drinks and some foods, pushing you over the maximum. Avoid drinks with “natural” energy boosters such as guarana, ginseng, yerba mate, and green tea extract, all of which are stimulants that have not been proven safe to use during pregnancy.