Pregnancy cravings may have you longing to indulge in your favorite foods, but some fare may actually harm your growing baby. Before you take your next bite, discover seven foods to skip while pregnant.

Don't give into your cravings

Cravings are synonymous with pregnancy, but does eating for two give you the right to indulge? Unfortunately, no. "Being pregnant increases certain hormones in your body, many of which can trigger food cravings," explains Sherri Pinero, R.D., recipeanalysis.com, "but sticking to safe, low bacteria foods is advised."

Foods to avoid

Bacteria and other toxins can pass through your placenta and deposit into fetal tissue, so be selective in what you eat while pregnant. Even when you are yearning for these yummy selections, it's best for your unborn baby if you skip these foods that are pregnancy no-nos:

  • Soft cheese and deli meats: Cheeses made with unpasteurized milk are laden with listeria, a bacteria to avoid when you're pregnant, such as blue cheese, feta, blanco and more, which can also transfer to cold deli meats.
  • Saccharine and other artificial sweeteners: Sugar substitutes such as Sweet 'N Low and Stevia have not been deemed safe when you're pregnant, while Cyclamate isn't save for anyone.
    Being pregnant increases certain hormones in your body, many of which can trigger food cravings
  • Uncooked fish and meat: Sushi, smoked fish such as lox and rare-cooked meats harbor harmful bacteria, so only eat when cooked all the way through or ordered well-done.
  • Herbal teas and supplements: The effects of herbs on your unborn baby have not been confirmed, so opt for decaffeinated teas for a safe alternative.
  • Mercury-laden fish: Baby brain-boosting omega-three fatty acid can be found in fish, but avoid fish higher in mercury such as swordfish, Chilean bass and shark to be safe.
  • Raw eggs: These can contain salmonella, so be sure to avoid unpasteurized Caesar salad dressing, mayonnaise and eggnog.
  • Unpasteurized drinks and foods: In order to kill microorganisms that can injure your growing baby, foods and juices need to go through the pasteurization process.

Look for hidden offenders

Even if the list of seven foods to skip while pregnant may seem obvious, it's the ingredients that you cannot see that can sometimes do the most harm. "Being aware of items with multiple ingredients can be tricky, so be a super sleuth food label reader and don't be afraid to ask your server questions when you eat out," advises Pinero. "It is better to be safe than to spend nine months worrying if what you ate could have affected your baby." Besides, you'll have plenty of opportunities for mommy guilt when your bundle of joy arrives!

More about the second trimester

Second trimester ultrasound: What to expect
Finding out the gender: Yay or nay?
How much caffeine is safe during pregnancy?

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