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Diet Diva
Diet Diva

Get advice on healthy eating, nutrition, and weight loss from expert dietitian Tara Gidus. 

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Pregnancy "Do's and Don'ts," Part Three

Now that you know not to eat double portions of everything and you have learned to love your body, let’s finish this series with some other helpful hints for what to eat and not eat when you are pregnant.

Cook food to proper temperature

I know this might seem like obvious advice, but food safety is of utmost importance when you are pregnant. Your body has had years to build up it’s immunity to those little bugs like listeria, e. coli, salmonella, etc. But your baby’s body has essentially very little immunity. The bacteria can pass over to the fetus and cause infections, premature delivery, and miscarriage. When heating leftovers, microwave until steaming hot.

Eat raw or unpasteurized meat, cheese, milk, yogurt, or raw eggs

Coming from a sushi lover, this is easier said than done. Veggie sushi, California rolls made of crabstick, and sushi with shrimp or other cooked fish is fine. Stay away from raw or undercooked tuna and salmon. You may see lists of cheeses like brie, feta, blue, camembert, and queso blanco fresco also on the list of no-no’s. In the US, most cheese is going to be pasteurized. Feta is fine as long as the ingredient label says it is pasteurized. I would stay away from the moldy cheeses like blue (roquefort) and gorgonzola. Eggs also need to be cooked well—no more sunny side up or over easy. Order them scrambled well or over hard. Be aware of raw eggs in things like mousse or cookie dough. Now I am really getting mean—no raw cookie dough!

Refrigerate promptly and make sure your fridge is at 40 degrees or less.
Buy a thermometer for your fridge to make sure it is at the proper temperature. Take food out off the fridge and eat it as soon after as possible. If you have leftovers from a restaurant, get them home and refrigerated within 2 hours of the meal or just throw them away.

Let perishable food sit out on the counter for more than 2 hours.
When you make the lasagna, serve and eat. Get the leftovers in the fridge as soon as possible. Don’t eat pizza that has been sitting out for several hours. Anytime perishable food sits out at room temperature it is breeding tons of little bacteria just waiting to attack your stomach.

Eat fishes high in omega three fatty acids
Your baby’s brain will thank you for the DHA and EPA in fishes. They are essential to brain growth and development. Stick to fishes like salmon, trout, and herring. Tuna is also a good choice, but read the next statement for the limits. If you don’t like fish, you can eat ground flax seeds or take a fish oil supplement (make sure it is from low mercury fishes). Another option is to eat certain brands of eggs high in omega-3's.

Eat shark, swordfish, king mackerel, or tilefish

All four of these fishes are highest in mercury. Mercury can stay and build up in your bloodstream for many months, so even watching mercury content of fish pre-pregnancy is smart. If you like tuna, you can safely consume 6 oz of “white,” or albacore, tuna per week or 12 oz of “light” tuna per week while you are pregnant.

I have so many other tips for pregnancy, but I think these three posts will do it for now. Let me know if you have any other questions and I will be happy to answer or create a whole new post on your topic.

Photo courtesy of istockphoto
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About the Author


Tara Gidus is a nationally recognized expert and spokesperson on nutrition and fitness.

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