Staying Healthy

Recommendations For What To Eat And What To Avoid

You know that old joke about pregnant women eating for two? As it turns out, there's a lot of other things that you'll need to do for two, too — like keeping yourself free from sickness, and offering your child the best shot at living safe and illness-free. So let's start with the "tough" stuff first — what you can and cannot eat.

Food Preparation And Consumption

The Food & Drug Administration offers a complete list of safe and acceptable foods on their website, but we'll go through the basics for you here. Preparing your meals
  • Raw fruits and vegetables should be washed and peeled before eating
  • Cutting boards used for raw meat should be washed with hot soap and water. Place plastic cutting boards in dishwasher.
  • Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds after handling any type of meat
Cooking your meals
  • Cook all seafood to 145 degrees F
  • Cook eggs and meats to 160 degrees F
  • Hot dogs, deli and luncheon meats should be hot enough to see steam before eating
No longer a part of your meals Yes, you can still have cakes and cookies when the urge overcomes you (though not too many, lest you put yourself at risk of gestational diabetes). Just remember: when it doubt, throw it out. Recommended vaccines in pregnancy Some vaccines are recommended for all pregnant women, while others are recommended only for women who are at risk.1 The decision regarding any vaccine that you receive during your pregnancy is ultimately between you and your doctor.
  • Recommended for all pregnant women:
    • Influenza (flu) vaccine (Inactivated)
    • Tetanus/diphtheria/pertussis (TDAP) — recommended during each pregnancy, regardless of whether or not vaccine was given during a previous pregnancy
  • Recommended under specific circumstances:
    • Hepatitis A vaccine (for pregnant women at risk)
    • Hepatitis B vaccine (for pregnant women at risk, and those in the middle of series)
    • Pneumococcal vaccine (for pregnant women at risk)

Day-To-Day Activities To Avoid

You should try to keep yourself free from disease and infection while you are pregnant as best as you can. There are certain things you should try to avoid when you can, because they'll put your baby at risk.
  • Cleaning cat litter. If you must clean cat litter boxes, always wear gloves. Wash your hands immediately when you are finished. Handling cat litter during pregnancy has been linked to toxoplasmosis.
  • Contact with anyone who may have chickenpox (unless you are immune), Parvovirus B19 (fifth disease or slapped cheek disease) or pertussis (whooping cough).
  • Working in dirt, such as gardening, unless gloves are worn and hands are washed when you are finished. Handling dirt during pregnancy has been linked to toxoplasmosis.
  • Handling raw meat without wearing gloves. Wash your hands immediately with soap and water when finished. Handling raw meat may cause listeria.
  • Changing a diaper. Handling a dirty diaper may cause cytomegalovirus.
There will be times when you simply cannot avoid some of these activities, we know. Just make sure to always wash your hands and change any clothes that come in contact with unsafe hazards. It's okay if you touch some raw chicken to put it in a pan to cook; just make sure you don't touch the handle of that pan, and that you wash your hands immediately before touching anything else. If you still feel unsure or anxious, do yourself a favor: get a box of disposable gloves and face masks to help protect yourself.