Following a slew of dietary rules is one of the things you sign up for as an expectant mama, from eating more leafy greens for the folic acid to saying adieu to alcohol. But another, equally important piece of your new menu is making sure what you eat isn’t going to make you or your baby sick.
As a mom-to-be you fall into the highest risk category for food-borne illness. That’s why your ob/gyn has already suggested you skip raw foods such as sushi. But what about all the headline-grabbing recalls of foods typically considered safe during pregnancy? Should you be limiting those, too?
What the experts say
I went straight to the experts to get their current opinion on what you really can’t eat while pregnant—and they seemed surprisingly unfazed. Most foods that have been in the news still get the green light. Neither the American Pregnancy Association nor the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology have revised their guidelines to include staples such as beef, spinach, tomatoes, and peanuts, or even extras like hot peppers and refrigerator cookie dough, all of which have been involved in recalls. Why not? “Because there was a recall doesn’t mean there was an increased outbreak in pregnant women; the science simply hasn’t found [these foods] to be high risk,” says American Pregnancy Association President Brad Imler, Ph.D.
On the other hand, when it comes to the miss list from your doctor, most of those foods aren’t high risk per se, but they all pose a risk because the bacteria they potentially contain can cross the placenta and even cause miscarriage. That’s why the guidelines tip toward the conservative side. They’re all about managing this serious risk. You can find them at americanpregnancy.org/pregnancyhealth/foodstoavoid.html.
Keep reading: Guide to the First Trimester: The Raw Truth