What Not to Eat
The do’s and don’ts of prenatal nutrition
DON’T forgo water and fiber
Drink at least eight glasses of water daily to help prevent dehydration. This can also can help prevent constipation, as can eating high-fiber foods such as whole-wheat and whole-grain breads and pastas, and lots of fruits and vegetables. Fiber also helps you feel full, so you may be less likely to overeat. Aim for at least 25 to 35 grams of fiber every day (3⁄4 cup of bran cereal, for example, contains an average of 5 grams of fiber).
DO avoid risky foods
Unpasteurized soft cheeses such as Brie, Camembert, Feta, blue-veined and Mexican-style cheeses, can harbor Listeria, a bacterium that causes listeriosis, a serious infection that can lead to miscarriage, premature delivery or stillbirth.
Deli meats also may pose a risk, so buy prepackaged cold cuts rather than those from the deli counter, or heat deli-counter meats thoroughly before eating them. “To minimize the risk of listeriosis, cook all leftovers and deli foods to at least 140˚ F,” Hertz says. For the same reason, never eat raw or undercooked meat, seafood (that includes sushi!) or eggs.
DON’T eat high-mercury fish
These include shark, king mackerel, tilefish and swordfish. Federal guidelines recommend limiting low-mercury fish to 12 ounces a week. Safe choices include canned light tuna (limit albacore tuna, which is higher in mercury, to 6 ounces a week, maximum), catfish, pollock, salmon and shellfish. For more on seafood consumption during pregnancy, including the best sources of brain-boosting omega-3 fatty acids, go to fitpregnancy.com/mercuryrising.