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How To Know What You Can Eat During Pregnancy

Eating for two? Avoid harmful food-borne contaminants with these simple rules.


  • Step 1: Put down the raw cookie dough! Stay away from anything that might contain raw or undercooked eggs, like Caesar salad dressing, eggs cooked over easy, and custards and certain sauces.
  • Step 2: Stay away from raw sprouts like alfalfa and clover; it's nearly impossible to wash away all the bacteria they may contain.
  • Step 3: Keep bacteria from growing on food that's cooling off or heating up by following the two-hour rule: Throw out any perishables that have been left out at room temperature for more than two hours. If it's more than 90 degrees outside, discard after one hour.
  • Step 4: Get the latest food safety information by calling 1-888-SAFE-FOOD or searching
  • FACT: Did you know? Pregnant women are 20 times more likely to get listeriosis than other healthy adults.
  • Step 5: Give up alcohol during your pregnancy. As for coffee, the jury's out on whether small amounts of caffeine are safe during pregnancy. Consult your doctor before drinking coffee, tea, cola, and other caffeinated drinks. Only drink pasteurized fruit and vegetable juices.
  • TIP: Ask your doctor if you may eat sushi in limited amounts.
  • Step 6: Use a meat thermometer to ensure you cook your meat to at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Reheat hot dogs and refrigerated meat until they're steaming; otherwise, they could contain the bacteria listeria, which is dangerous to fetuses. Don't eat raw or undercooked meat, and don't touch your mouth after handling raw meat.
  • TIP: Canned meat spreads that don't require refrigeration are safe to eat.
  • Step 7: Skip soft cheeses like Brie and Camembert; blue cheeses, and fresh cheese like queso fresco and feta unless the label says they're made from pasteurized milk. Like undercooked meat, they may contain listeria.
  • Step 8: Don't eat shark, swordfish, king mackerel, or tilefish, which also goes by the names golden snapper; they are all high in mercury. Don't eat refrigerated smoked fish; it could contain listeria. Limit consumption of canned and fresh tuna to six ounces per week, and overall fish consumption to 12 ounces per week.
  • : Women have different nutritional needs during pregnancy. For personalized guidance on nutrition, always consult a medical professional.

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