Cheese, cold cuts, fish and caffeine are some of the long-believed no-no foods during pregnancy, but are they really dangerous? With conflicting information and a seemingly ever-expanding list of things to be avoided, it can be a long nine months for expectant mothers. Dr. Simi Suri, an obstetrician and gynecologist with White Plains Hospital Medical & Wellness in Armonk, offered helpful advice.
1. Be a Half-Caff Convert
Cutting out caffeine can be one of the hardest things for pregnant women. Don’t despair, said Dr. Suri. “Some caffeine is not harmful,” she said, “but the key is moderation.” It is suggested that expectant mothers limit their caffeine intake to one 8-12 oz. cup of coffee a day. For those who are used to consuming more, “I tell my patients to fill up their cups, but switch to half decaf and half regular,” said Dr. Suri. “That way, their cup is never half empty.”
2. Deli Meat Dilemma
Wondering if you can still have your daily deli sandwich while baby is on board? Yes, and no, said Dr. Suri. “The concern with deli meats, particularly those straight from the counter, is listeria, which is a type of bacteria that can survive colder temperatures and can be harmful to a developing fetus,” she said. “Choose a panini-style sandwich, where the meat has been heated, to minimize the risk.”
3. Better Fish Finds
High doses of mercury are best avoided by pregnant women due to the potential harm to a developing baby’s organs, vision and nervous system. Swap out higher mercury fish, including tuna steaks and canned solid white albacore tuna, for lower-mercury options including salmon, cod and shrimp. “Salmon is also heart-healthy and high in omega 3 fatty acids, which support fetal brain development,” says Dr. Suri.
4. For the Love of Cheese
As with deli meat, the safety issue with some types of cheese for pregnant mothers is listeria. Fortunately, not all cheeses are created equal in this domain. “Stick with hard cheeses and generally the risk is extremely minimal,” said Dr. Suri. “Softer cheeses such as feta, goat cheese, brie, camembert and some Mexican cheeses have not been pasteurized and therefore should be avoided.”
To make an appointment at White Plains Hospital Medical & Wellness in Armonk, call (914) 849-7900 or visit wphpa.org.