What do you actually need to steer clear of during pregnancy?

What do you actually need to steer clear of during pregnancy?

You can’t eat sushi while pregnant…right? It's totally safe to soak in a hot tub…I think? It’s time to, for once and for all, get the record straight on what you actually should be avoiding during pregnancy, and what is myth.

What foods should you avoid?

Dairy and egg
Due to listeria risk, stay away from unpasteurized milk or any cheeses made from unpasteurized milk. Mold-ripened soft cheeses with white coatings and soft blue cheeses should not be eaten unless cooked fully at a high heat (replace your charcuterie board with baked brie + apple). Additionally, raw or partially cooked eggs of any kind should not be consumed due to salmonella risk.

Meat and seafood
Pregnancy is not the time to take a trip to Italy, lol. It's best to avoid cold-cured meats, such as salami, pepperoni, chorizo, and prosciutto. Due to toxoplasmosis risk, do not consume liver, pate, game meats, or raw or undercooked meats. Good news- sushi with cooked fish is safe, however raw seafood should be avoided due to food poisoning risk, and raw shellfish should not be consumed. Tuna and oily fish may be eaten, but in limited quantities, due to mercury and pollutants, respectively. Swordfish, marlin, and shark should not be included in your pregnancy diet.

Lay off the licorice root, and be careful not to consume more than 200mg of caffeine.

What substances do I need to steer clear of?

Multivitamins are important to your baby’s health, but be sure to take prenatal vitamins, not highly concentrated vitamins intended for non-pregnancy use. Do not take Vitamin A supplements. If you have questions, it's always a good idea to consult your doctor regarding the use of any medications.

Drinking during pregnancy, in any amount or at any time, is not regarded as safe and could lead to fetal alcohol syndrome.

Smoking during pregnancy slows growth and development, decreases oxygen supply, and increases risk of birth defects.

What activities should I sit out of?

Hot tubbing
Overheating due to hot tubs may increase the risk of miscarriage during early pregnancy.

Certain forms of exercise 
Heaving lifting may increase the risk of premature birth or miscarriage. Similarly, high-intensity exercise may cause overheating, resulting in the same risks. If you want to exercise while pregnant, try yoga, pilates, or long walks. 


See this as your excuse to pass off some of those household chores! Avoid cleaning cat’s litter boxes due to the potential risk of toxoplasmosisUse nontoxic products or make your own cleaner with vinegar. Avoid dry-cleaning clothing due to chemicals used.

While the prevalence of plastics can make them difficult to avoid, phthalates, a chemical found in plastic packaging and cosmetics, are potentially harmful.

Examine your everyday surroundings and to dos. Some occupations, such as those in healthcare facilities, veterinarian offices, and salons, are associated with increased exposure to disinfectants, which pose a risk to the fetus. Plus, frequent exposure to loud noises, such as crows, machines, music, sirens, and airplanes, may damage a baby’s hearing. 

So... what can you do?

Yes, the list of “no’s” is long. But the list of “yes’s” is much longer (too long to list here!). If you’re unsure of whether an item excluded from the list is safe during pregnancy, it is always best to consult your doctor.

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