Congratulations! You're about to become a mother.
No doubt you're getting all kinds of advice about what you should do to ensure your baby is healthy. But what about those things you should not do?
Of course you want to avoid alcohol, tobacco and so-called "recreational" drugs. However, because pregnancy affects your immune system, you and your unborn baby are more susceptible to the bacteria, viruses and parasites that cause foodborne illness.
Even if you don't feel sick, some "bugs" like Listeria and Toxoplasma can infect your baby and cause serious health problems. Your baby is also sensitive to toxins from the food that you eat, such as mercury in certain kinds of fish.
Here, from the President's Food Safety Working group, is a checklist to help you keep you and your unborn baby healthy and safe. Another piece of advice: Invest in a food thermometer to check the temperatures of cooked food.
Don't Eat These Foods - Why - What to Do
Soft CHEESES made from unpasteurized milk, including Brie, feta, Camembert, Roquefort, queso blanco, and queso fresco. May containÂ E. coliÂ orÂ Listeria. Eat hard cheeses, such as cheddar or Swiss. Or, check the label and make sure that the cheese is made from pasteurized milk.
Raw COOKIEÂ DOUGH or CAKEÂ BATTER. May containSalmonella. Bake the cookies and cake. Don't lick the spoon!
Certain kinds of FISH, such as shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish (golden or white snapper). Contains high levels of mercury. Eat up to 12 ounces a week of fish and shellfish that are lower in mercury, such as shrimp, salmon, pollock, and catfish.Â Limit consumption of albacore tuna to 6 ounces per week.
Raw or undercooked FISH (sushi). May contain parasites or bacteria. Cook fish to 145Â° F.
Unpasteurized JUICE or cider (including fresh squeezed). May containÂ E. coli. Drink pasteurized juice. Bring unpasteurized juice or cider to a rolling boil and boil for at least 1 minute before drinking.
Unpasteurized MILK. May contain bacteria such as Campylobacter,E. coli,Â Listeria, or Salmonella. Drink pasteurized milk.
SALADS made in a store, such as ham salad, chicken salad, and seafood salad. May contain Listeria. Make salads at home, following the food safety basics: clean, separate, cook, and chill.
Raw SHELLFISH, such as oysters and clams. May contain VibrioÂ bacteria. Cook shellfish to 145Â° F.
Raw or undercooked SPROUTS, such as alfalfa, clover, mung bean, and radish. May containÂ E. coliÂ or Salmonella. Cook sprouts thoroughly.
Be Careful with These Foods - Why - What to Do
Hot dogs, luncheon meats, cold cuts, fermented or dry sausage, and other deli-style meat and poultry. May contain Listeria. Even if the label says that the meat is precooked, reheat these meats to steaming hot or 165Â° F before eating.
Eggs and pasteurized egg products. Undercooked eggs may contain Salmonella. Cook eggs until yolks are firm. Cook casseroles and other dishes containing eggs or egg products to 160Â° F.
Eggnog. Homemade eggnog may contain uncooked eggs, which may contain Salmonella. Make eggnog with a pasteurized egg product or buy pasteurized eggnog. When you make eggnog or other egg-fortified beverages, cook to 160Â°F
Fish. May contain parasites or bacteria. Cook fish to 145Â° F.
Ice cream. Homemade ice cream may contain uncooked eggs, which may contain Salmonella. Make ice cream with a pasteurized egg product safer by adding the eggs to the amount of liquid called for in the recipe, then heating the mixture thoroughly..
Meat: Beef, veal, lamb, and pork (including ground meat). Undercooked meat may contain E. coli. Cook beef, veal, and lamb steaks and roasts to 145Â° F. Cook pork to 160Â° F. Cook all ground meats to 160Â° F.
Meat spread or pate. Unpasteurized refrigerated pates or meat spreads may contain Listeria. Eat canned versions, which are safe.
Poultry and stuffing (including ground poultry). Undercooked meat may contain bacteria such as CampylobacterÂ or Salmonella. Cook poultry to 165Â° F. If the poultry is stuffed, cook the stuffing to 165Â° F. Better yet, cook the stuffing separately.
Smoked seafood. Refrigerated versions are not safe, unless they have been cooked to 165Â° F. Eat canned versions, which are safe, or cook to 165Â° F.