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Food Safety During Pregnancy

Why should I avoid certain foods during pregnancy?

Changes in your hormones suppress your immune system, making it easier for you to get sick. Food borne illness in pregnancy can result in miscarriage, still birth, premature labor or serious illness after birth.

Read FDA warning

Diseases and bacteria of special concern to pregnant women:

  • Listeria moncytogenes
  • Toxoplama gondil
  • Brucella species
  • Salmonella species
  • Campylobater jejuni

Things to avoid in order to lesson exposure to the above pathogens:

  • Cold hot dogs, deli meat/luncheon meat (reheat to steaming hot)
  • Undercooked meat and poultry
  • Raw or undercooked seafood
  • Refrigerated smoked fish and pre-cooked seafood
  • Refrigerated pate and meat spread
  • Raw sprouts
  • Soft Cheeses (brie, camembert, feta, blue-veined queso fresco, queso blanco, panela)
  • Raw or undercooked eggs
  • Raw (unpasteurized) milk/milk products
  • Unpasteurized juice

Personal Hygiene

Always wash hands with warm running water and soap before handling food, after using the toilet, after changing baby diapers or touching animals.

Food Safety

  • Cook to safe temperatures
  • Reheat leftovers to 165 degrees
  • Cool leftovers to safe temperatures
  • Avoid cross contamination

Mercury Contamination

  • Do not eat shark, swordfish, king mackerel, or tilefish
  • Eat no more than 6 ounces per week of albacore tuna or tuna steaks
  • 12 ounces per week of fish and shellfish with lower levels of mercury is acceptable
  • Check local advisories about the safety of fish caught in your area

For more information: