14 Surprising Foods You Really Shouldn't Eat If You're Pregnant
Sadly, it's not just about saying no to cookie dough and sushi.
Since you're eating for two during pregnancy, food becomes a big part of your life. But some foods are off-limits because they may contain bacteria, which could harm the mother or baby.
Most mothers-to-be know this means giving up raw meat and eggs — but there are other less obvious risky foods that you should probably avoid during pregnancy.
1. Unpasteurized fruit or vegetable juice
2. Lox (smoked salmon)
4. Queso fresco
Most pregnant women know to avoid soft cheeses made with unpasteurized or raw milk, such as brie or camembert. However, they might not know to also steer clear of queso fresco or cotija cheese — it's a harder, crumbly cheese found in many Mexican dishes. It has a similar look and texture to feta, and it's often sprinkled on top of tacos, elote (corn on the cob), or enchiladas.
"Queso fresco is often made with unpasteurized milk and it isn't heated, so it can contain foodborne germs like Listeria, which isn't always harmful to the mother but could really harm the fetus, especially in the first or second trimester," Mehta-Lee says.
5. Alfalfa sprouts
7. Hot dogs
8. Store-bought chicken or ham salads
9. Salami or pepperoni
10. Homemade Caesar or blue cheese dressings.
11. Homemade ice cream
12. Hollandaise sauce
Meringue is made by beating raw egg whites with sugar. It's totally safe to eat when it's fully cooked — like it is in those little hard meringue cookies. However, if the meringue isn't cooked all the way through, or only torched on the top (like it is in lemon meringue pie), you should avoid it while you're pregnant.
"If the egg whites are still raw in the meringue, they could contain Salmonella and end up making the mother very sick," says Mehta-Lee. So even if the soft meringue is store-bought or from a restaurant, just say no. Even though undercooked meringue made with pasteurized eggs is safe to eat in all other stages of life, it really isn't a good choice for pregnant women.