According to most lists, pregnant women can’t eat anything. Think I’m exaggerating? Check out this list of what not to eat:
1. Raw or undercooked (see: rare, medium rare, or anything that is not burnt and gray) meats
2. Raw sushi (this has pretty much been debunked)
3. Lunch/deli meat (unless you heat it up to the point of steaming and smelly. Is there anything worse than hot deli meat? Gross)
4. Hot dogs (with the exception of so-hot-it’s-practically-on-fire hot dogs)
5. Fish with mercury (because, in general, people always want fish with toxic mercury.)
6. Smoked seafood (bye, bye, lox & smear)
7. “Fish exposed to Industrial Pollutants” (Can someone please explain to me how you would actually verify this unless you caught the fish yourself?)
8. Raw seafood
9. Raw eggs
10. Unpasteurized milk
11. Unpasteurized juice
12. Soft cheeses
15. Unwashed fruits & veggies (yes, even fruits & vegetables are off limits if not properly bathed)
17. Herbal Tea
18. Raw sprouts
19. Caesar salad dressing
20. Bearnaise sauce
21. Hollandaise sauce
23. Anything from a potluck or buffet
24. Doggie bags (yup, you can’t take food home from restaurants. Listeria!)
25. Raw cookie dough or cake batter
26. Store-bought, pre-packaged salads, sandwiches, or meals
27. Anything from a salad bar
29. Homemade ice cream
30. Bacon and sausage (too many nitrates)
32. Cured meats, like salami and pastrami
33. Vitamin A. Period. At all.
The reason for most of the no-no’s is listeria, which only about 0.5% of the population suffers from every year. Statistically, this is a non-issue. Some studies have said pregnant women are 17% more likely to get listeria and the risk is greatest in the third trimester; however, this still means the risk is very low (approximately 8.5% chance of pregnant women getting listeria). The worst part about listeria is it’s not limited to the no-no foods. You can get listeria from unwashed produce, homemade food you took a minute too long to put in the refrigerator or your mouth, etc. Should pregnant women live in fear of listeria? I don’t know.
If you follow every rule on this list, you’ll probably drive yourself nuts and resort to processed junk, which is considered “safe” but isn’t exactly good for you.
Do you follow every pregnancy food rule?