During pregnancy there are many different foods, drinks, supplements, and drugs that should be avoided for the health and safety of both the pregnant woman and her baby. Hot dogs during pregnancy are absolutely on the “foods to avoid list,” but they are just one of many. 

The main reason not to eat hot dogs during pregnancy is that hot dogs and sandwich meats could contain the bacteria Listeria monocytogenes. This particular bacteria could result in a miscarriage. It is important for a pregnant woman to wash her hands after handling lunch meats or hot dogs, to decrease the chances of contact with the bacteria. Not all hot dogs and deli meets contain listeria, but these foods are much more likely to have the bacteria than other foods. Unpasteurized dairy products are also more prone to the bacteria. This includes unpasteurized milk as well as various cheeses, such as brie. 

One other reason that hot dogs should be avoided during pregnancy is that there is a risk that they could be undercooked. All raw or undercooked food originating from an animal should be avoided. Raw fruits and vegetables are not from an animal and therefore fine to eat. To avoid any potential problems order your meet with “no pink.” Make sure that any eggs are fully cooked and not runny and take care not to eat any raw dough, because it could contain uncooked eggs. Stay away from sushi and all other uncooked fish. It is recommended to avoid most fish during pregnancy because they could contain levels of mercury that could be unsafe for a developing baby. 

Drugs including alcohol, tobacco, and caffeine need to be eliminated. Some experts say that a mild amount of caffeine is acceptable during pregnancy, but others disagree. It is advisable to error on the side of caution regarding these matters, because any brain damage done to a developing child is permanent and irreversible. 

Despite the fact that there are so many foods on the list of foods to avoid, there are still a large number of foods that are recommended to pregnant women. Most of the diet recommendations are the same general recommendations that would be given to someone looking to improve his or her overall diet. These recommendations include, eating less processed food and eating more fruits and vegetables. It is also recommended that pregnant women eat more complex carbs from sources like whole grains, while eating fewer simple carbs from sugar.  And lastly it is important for a pregnant woman to get her protein from legumes, lean meat, and low fat dairy. If all of these recommendations are followed and the recommendations of foods not to eat are followed, the odds of a healthy pregnancy are greatly improved.