Unsafe Foods During Pregnancy?

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Dr. Keith Eddleman
Certain meats, undercooked meats have an increased risk of parasites. In some cheeses made with unpasteurized milk, usually the soft cheeses, like a brie, or a blue veined cheese, have a higher risk of getting something called listerosis, which is a bacterial infection that can harm the pregnancy, but usually pasteurized cheeses and hard cheeses that those are usually not associated with listeria. There is some concern, raised by the USDA and the CDC that some fish contains high levels of mercury, and mercury may be deleterious on a developing embryo. Interestingly, there's not a significant amount of human data to correlate mercury levels with birth defects, so we don't know how true this is, if there is a causative effect there. But having said that, the CDC recommends that you avoid certain fish, swordfish, tilefish, king mackerel, those are some of the ones that they tell you to avoid. Other fish, like tuna which you frequently find in sushi, or salmon, have lower levels of mercury and you need to watch your consumption of those. You don't need to completely avoid them, but you need to watch your consumption, and the FDA website actually has guidelines. There are certain types of tuna that you should only eat once a week, certain types of salmon you should only eat once a week. They give you the specific guidelines. And sushi really falls into that category. If your total sushi consumption or the total fish part of the sushi consumption falls within those guidelines, then I think it's safe. You know, you need to keep in mind that it should be from a purveyor that's good at looking at fish and identifying fish that is spoiled or bad, obviously that goes without saying. But from the standpoint of mercury, as long as you stay within those FDA guidelines, you should be fine.