5 foods to avoid during your first trimester

June 02, 2014 12:00 AM by

Morning sickness tends to be most intense during the first trimester, but if you know how to handle it, you can have a more pleasant pregnancy. Every woman in different, and some have more severe symptoms or longer periods of morning sickness than others. Read on to find out what foods you should avoid in your first trimester.

1. Deli meat
Put away the roast beef sandwiches and Italian subs for nine months: Deli meat is a big no-no for pregnant women. Deli meat is notoriously prone to being contaminated with listeria, a type of bacteria found in water and dirt, according to American Pregnancy. Listeriosis, sickness caused by eating meat contaminated with listeria, is most common among pregnant women, suggesting that they are more susceptible to it, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. Listeria is capable of crossing the placenta and can hurt your baby, resulting in a potentially fatal infection or blood poisoning. If you just have to have that hoagie, make it a hot one and be sure that the meat is thoroughly cooked before taking a bite.

2. Some fish – probably your favorite
This might just be the most gut-wrenching culinary omission for some pregnant women. Certain types of fish contain high levels of mercury, which can cause your growing baby to become developmentally delayed in the womb and lead to brain damage. Here are some you should avoid:

  • Swordfish
  • Mackerel
  • Smoked salmon
  • Raw shellfish

In general, mothers-to-be should avoid any raw or undercooked foods to reduce their risk of food poisoning. 

3. Spicy Foods
Stay away from spicy foods! In the first trimester, your sense of smell goes into overdrive, which could put you off of spicier fare. Eating spicy foods can also cause diarrhea. Also, pregnant women are prone to heartburn, which spicy food only exacerbates.

4. Soft cheeses
Deli meat isn't the only kind of food that listeria may contaminate – soft cheese is another. Numerous types of soft delicious cheeses, such as brie, gorgonzola and roquefort​, are made with unpasteurized – or raw – milk. Anything made with the aforementioned substance is a definite no-go during pregnancy. The smell might put you off it anyway.

5. Caffeine
Yes, caffeine. Your daily cup of coffee will have to be put down while your baby is developing. Whether your traditional beverage of choice is coffee, soda or tea, all caffeinated drinks are bad news while you're pregnant. Drinking the equivalent of 200 milligrams or more cups of coffee per day can increase a woman's chance of miscarriage two-fold, according to a study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. 

Caffeinated beverages can also mess with your body in unwanted ways when you're already going through some immense changes. In addition to harming the baby, they can cause heartburn and insomnia.

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