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Quiz: Pregnancy Food Facts: What's Safe to Eat?

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Which craving could be a sign something important is missing from your diet?

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Which craving could be a sign something important is missing from your diet?

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Food cravings are normal when you're expecting, and it's generally OK to give in to them. Just don't overdo it. But craving  other things that aren't food, such as ice, laundry detergent, paint chips, or clay, may mean you have something called pica. Tell your doctor right away. Eating things that aren't food is risky for you and your baby. And it could leave you lacking important nutrients.

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Which of the following cheeses should you avoid during pregnancy?

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Which of the following cheeses should you avoid during pregnancy?

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Soft cheeses tend to be made from raw or unpasteurized milk, which can carry disease-causing germs like the bacteria that causes listerosis. Pregnant women are 13 times more likely to contract listeriosis, which can be harmful, even life-threatening, to a pregnant woman and her baby.

 

Pasteurization kills bacteria using heat. Unless clearly labeled as "pasteurized," or "made with pasteurized milk," skip soft cheeses like feta, brie, Camembert, blue cheeses, and Mexican-style cheeses such as queso blanco and queso fresco.

If you eat a lot of carrots during pregnancy, your baby is likely to enjoy carrots, too.

If you eat a lot of carrots during pregnancy, your baby is likely to enjoy carrots, too.

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The foods you eat during pregnancy may get your baby familiar with certain flavors even before his first taste of solid food. Small studies have shown that when expecting mothers eat spices such as garlic, cumin, and curry, it changes the flavor of amniotic fluid, which baby regularly swallows. In another study, babies were less likely to make "I don't like it!" faces when they first tried carrots if their mothers drank a lot of carrot juice during pregnancy.

Eating spicy food can bring on labor.

Eating spicy food can bring on labor.

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Although many women swear that spicy food helps induce labor, there is no evidence to back up this legend. Some women may crave spicy food. For others, it might cause heartburn -- but not labor.

You shouldn't have caffeine when you're pregnant.

You shouldn't have caffeine when you're pregnant.

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Studies show that drinking less than 200 mg of caffeine a day (that’s about two 8-ounce cups) is not linked to miscarriage or premature birth. But the jury is still out on whether caffeine is linked to low birth weight. If you are a mom-to-be who needs coffee to get going in the morning, your doctor will probably give you the OK to go ahead. Just don't get endless refills!

Since they don’t contain caffeine, most herbal teas are a good substitute for coffee when you're pregnant.

Since they don’t contain caffeine, most herbal teas are a good substitute for coffee when you're pregnant.

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Herbal teas such as ginger root, red raspberry leaf, and peppermint leaf usually don't have caffeine. But there's not enough research on drinking them during pregnancy to say that they're totally safe. Plus, the FDA does not regulate them tightly, so there is no way to know what’s really in the box.

Other types of tea, such as black, green, or white tea, are usually safe as long as you don’t drink more caffeine than your doctor recommends. Check to see if any herbal ingredients are added to your tea.

When should you start taking a folic acid supplement?

When should you start taking a folic acid supplement?

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Folic acid helps prevent major birth defects of a baby's spine and brain. But it works only if you take it before you get pregnant and in the first few weeks of your pregnancy. Because almost half of all U.S. pregnancies are unplanned, all women should get 400 micrograms of folic acid daily. You can get that through most  multivitamins. Pregnant women should get at least 600 micrograms. Taking a prenatal vitamin once you're pregnant should help you get that amount.

Hot dogs and sausages are OK to eat during pregnancy, as long as they are cooked and steaming hot.

Hot dogs and sausages are OK to eat during pregnancy, as long as they are cooked and steaming hot.

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The key words there are "cooked and steaming hot." Raw, they raise the risk of food poisoning, which could be harmful to you and your baby. So if you're craving hot dogs, sausages, cold cuts, or other processed deli meats, make sure they are cooked and steaming hot, according to the CDC. When in doubt,eat something else.

Ginger may help morning sickness.

Ginger may help morning sickness.

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Some lucky women don't have any morning sickness. If you do have morning sickness, it usually goes away after the first trimester. Ginger may help settle your stomach. Several small studies have shown that 1 gram of ginger daily helped ease morning sickness.  Bland foods, salty crackers, or sour or tart drinks like lemonade can also help. So can snacking throughout the day. Ask your doctor before taking ginger. Let your doctor know if you’re vomiting several times a day or have severe nausea.

Which of the following is not safe?

Which of the following is not safe?

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Eggs are a great way to get protein. Just make sure they're cooked. Raw eggs can be contaminated with the dangerous bacteria salmonella. So to be safe, pass up eggnog, raw batter, hollandaise sauce, and Caesar salad dressing. Always cook eggs until the yolk and white parts are firm or choose pasteurized eggs.

Which of the following is usually safe if you’re pregnant?

Which of the following is usually safe if you’re pregnant?

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Spam lovers are in luck! Meat products and smoked seafood are usually OK if they’re non-refrigerated and canned or sold on the shelf. But some foods from the deli department are off limits. These include refrigerated meat products such as pâtés or spreads, and refrigerated smoked seafood. Same goes for packaged deli salads such as chicken or seafood salad. These foods run the risk of infection from the bacteria Listeria . Pregnant women are more vulnerable to infections, so they are at a much higher risk from these bacteria.

A healthy diet during pregnancy is all your body needs to get enough iron.

A healthy diet during pregnancy is all your body needs to get enough iron.

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The U.S. Recommended Daily Allowance (USRDA) for iron is 27 mg daily for pregnant women. You can help meet this goal by eating lean meats, eggs, poultry, fish, dark leafy green vegetables, and iron-fortified cereals. However, more than half of American pregnant women don’t get that amount of iron. So the CDC recommends pregnant women start taking at least 30 mg of an iron supplement beginning at their first prenatal visit. Not enough iron can lead to anemia, which is linked to premature babies and low birth weight.

Expecting vegan moms may have a hard time getting enough:

Expecting vegan moms may have a hard time getting enough:

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If you're pregnant and eat a vegan diet, you should talk to your doctor about taking supplements. Vitamin B12, D, and iron can be hard to get from a vegan diet alone.

 

Vitamin B12 is found naturally only in foods that come from animals,although some fortified breakfast cereals contain B12 also.

 

Vitamin D is most easily found in milk and many fortified foods. Spending  10 to 15 minutes in the sun three times a week may also be enough to make vitamin D.  

 

Iron can be found in beans, soy foods, spinach, seaweed, and more. As a vegan, you need twice as much iron in your diet as meat eaters. Doctors recommend taking an iron supplement to ensure you get enough during pregnancy.

Raw sprouts are safe to eat when you’re pregnant.

Raw sprouts are safe to eat when you’re pregnant.

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According to the FDA, any type of raw sprouts is bad for pregnant women. No matter how well they are washed, they can still contain dangerous bacteria. So skip the sprouts on your salad or sandwich  unless they are thoroughly cooked.

Which of the following fish is safe during pregnancy?

Which of the following fish is safe during pregnancy?

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Fish is good for you and your baby. But some fish have higher levels of mercury, which can be harmful. Swordfish, tilefish, shark, and king mackerel tend to have most mercury, according to the FDA.

Seafood with low mercury levels is generally safe when cooked. You can eat up to 12 ounces -- about 2 average meals -- of fish or shellfish each week. Choose varieties that are lower in mercury, like shrimp, canned light tuna, salmon, pollock, and clams. Albacore ("white") tuna has more mercury than canned light tuna. If you prefer white to light, you can eat up to 6 ounces of albacore a week, as part of your 12 ounce total.

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Good job -- you’re a pregnancy nutrition know-it-all!

Bon appétit! You’re on your way to a healthy pregnancy diet, but you can do better. Read a bit more on pregnancy nutrition and retake the quiz.

Time to brush up on your diet dos and don’ts. Read more on pregnancy nutrition and take the quiz again.

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