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Food and Environmental Safety

Remember that anything you take in, your baby takes too… here are some general tips for pregnant women:

  • Meat - Eat meat only if it is cooked to well done, smoked or cured in brine. Avoid processed/delicatessen meats, hot dogs, soft cheeses, smoked seafood, meat spreads, and pate (especially in the third trimester) as these are associated with Listeria which can be very harmful to the baby.
  • Food preparation - Keep hands away from the mouth and eyes while handling uncooked meat, unwashed raw fruits and vegetables
  • Wash hands and kitchen surfaces thoroughly after handling raw meat
  • Wash fruits and vegetables before consuming
  • Unpasturized foods - Avoid foods that can easily carry bacteria including: Raw sprouts (including alfalfa, clover, radish, and mung bean), unpasteurized milk, cheese, or juice that has not been pasteurized
  • Seafood - You should not eat types of fish that could have a lot of mercury in them. These include shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish. Mercury is a metal that can keep the baby's brain from developing normally. You can eat types of fish that do not have a lot of mercury, but not more than 2 times a week. The types of fish and other seafood that are safe to eat 1 or 2 times a week include shrimp, canned light tuna, salmon, pollock, and catfish. Tuna steaks are also OK to eat, but you should have that only 1 time a week.
  • Alcohol - You should avoid alcohol completely. Even small amounts of alcohol could harm a baby.
  • Caffeine – Limit the amount of caffeine in your diet by not drinking more than 1 or 2 cups of coffee each day. Tea, cola and chocolate also have caffeine.
  • Herbal products – Check with your doctor or nurse before using herbal products. Some herbal teas might not be safe.
  • Environmental hazards - Avoid contact with cat feces and litter boxes or wear gloves. Disinfect the litter box with boiling water for at least 5 minutes
  • If gardening, wear gloves and keep hands away from mouth and eyes
  • Avoid uncovered sandboxes

For more information on food safety and preparation, please see the following:

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