Many pregnant women find themselves asking, "What should I avoid eating during pregnancy?" A mother has to understand that whatever she takes into her body will also affect her growing fetus. The truth about pregnancy dietary needs is pretty straight forward. Eat healthy and eat regularly to avoid drops in blood sugar. Obvious no-no’s include alcohol and recreational drugs, and cigarettes. There are also fruits to avoid when pregnant and vitamins to avoid during pregnancy. A mother has to understand that whatever she takes into her body will also affect her growing fetus. Below is a list of the Top 5 food to avoid during pregnancy, as well as other dietary myths about what is and isn’t safe to eat.

Concerns about Fish

Certain fish do contain higher levels of mercury. Fish that are high in mercury include shark, swordfish, and king mackerel, so they should be avoided while pregnant. But you can still eat some and remember that fish is an important part of a healthy diet and is low in saturated fat. You can partake in up to 12 ounces of fish per week, and benefit from healthy omega -3 fatty acids.

Thoughts about Caffeine

Caffeine is a stimulant, and can increase heart rate and blood pressure. Drinking it while pregnant is a highly debatable topic. Some doctors say minimal amounts of caffeine are fine while others argue that even small amounts can be harmful to your unborn child. The safest and most effective way to avoid harming your baby may include tapering off your caffeine consumption or not drinking it at all. This way you eliminate the chance of damaging your baby’s development in utero. Please limit caffeine intake to 12 ounces per day. The source of the caffeine does not matter.

What about Raw foods?

Raw foods should be eaten with care or not at all. Acceptable raw dishes include salads and raw veggies for snacking, only after the food has been washed properly. Cookie dough, rare meat , etc., can be contaminated with all sorts of bacteria and what might be a small case of food poisoning for a normal healthy adult, can be exponentially worse for the pregnant woman. The fetus is always the most susceptible with a pregnant woman.

Prepackaged Shelved Items

Examples include potato chips, ramen noodles, mac and cheese, etc. These foods are loaded with preservatives, salt and little nutritional value. They will fill you up on carbohydrates and sodium. This is not what you need to be eating while carrying a little one. Your appetite may be curbed but you will be missing proper nutrition for yourself and the baby, not to mention gaining weight and retaining water thanks to all that salt. Salt also increases swelling in the hands and feet.

Tomatoes and Garlic

Ok, technically there is nothing wrong with tomatoes or garlic. They are simply triggers to cause heartburn and indigestion. If you can tolerate the high acidity in tomato based meals, such as spaghetti, lasagna, and pizza, then go right ahead. Just remember that these meals too are high in carbohydrates and sodium.

This is list is not all-inclusive and is just a guideline. Mothers should always check with their doctor before starting any kind of dietary adjustments to be sure that they are safe.