6 Foods You Didn't Know You Should Avoid While Pregnant

Put down that deli meat!

Updated 07/22/17

Elizabeth Cooney

Pregnancy can bring with it some totally wild cravings, but it also comes with a list of foods you shouldn’t even think of eating. (We see you, canned tuna and raw sushi!) What else should a mother-to-be avoid while she’s got pregnancy brain? Our experts are here to fill you in on some little-known facts.

Raw Meat

Love your steak medium-rare? Not while you’ve got a bun in the oven. Undercooked meats like beef, veal, lamb, and pork can all contain E. Coli. Cook steaks to 145 degrees Fahrenheit (ask for it medium-well), and cook burgers, ground meat, and pork to 160 degrees Fahrenheit.

Deli Meat

Deli meats (as well as hot dogs) can contain Listeria, even if the package says they are fully cooked. Stay on the safe side by heating these products until they’re steaming hot before you eat them. Stick that sliced turkey or ham in a panini press just to be safe.

Raw Shellfish

You knew about sushi, but raw shellfish can also be dangerous. Bivalves like oysters and clams may contain Vibrio bacteria, so be sure to cook these completely (to 145 degrees Fahrenheit) before eating (i.e., no oyster shooters).

Soft Cheeses

Any soft cheeses made from unpasteurized milk (think brie, Camembert, Roquefort, feta, and queso fresco) might contain E. coli or Listeria. Go for the hard stuff, like cheddar, Parmesan, or Gruyère, or take a close look at the label: If the cheese is made from pasteurized milk, it’s safe, no matter how gooey it is.

Raw Cookie Dough

This one falls squarely in the cravings category, but don’t give in! Because raw cookie dough contains raw eggs, it might also contain Salmonella. Use a pasteurized-egg substitute if you must lick the spoon, or wait until the cookies are out of the oven.

Raw Sprouts

Don’t load that bowl of pho or ramen with bean sprouts just yet. The seed portions may contain E. coli or Salmonella, and washing isn’t enough to get it off. Cook the sprouts (including alfalfa and clover varieties, too) thoroughly before you get to garnishing.

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