Most foods and drinks are safe to consume during pregnancy, but some can increase the risk of miscarriage, according to the American Pregnancy Association. Some foods may contain bacteria and other microorganisms that could lead to a miscarriage. Caffeine and alcohol are drugs that have also been linked to increased risk of miscarriage. Just to be safe, it’s best to avoid foods and drinks that could increase the risk of a miscarriage when you’re expecting.
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University of Maryland Medical Center, or UMM, describes miscarriage as the spontaneous loss of a fetus before 20 weeks of pregnancy. From 10 percent to 25 percent of all pregnancies end in miscarriage, reports the American Pregnancy Association. Usually a miscarriage happens due to a problem with the baby’s genes, but poorly controlled diabetes and other physical conditions, as well as certain foods and drinks, can increase the risk of losing your pregnancy. Most women who’ve had a miscarriage go on to have successful pregnancies, UMM reports.
Foods to Avoid
Listeria is a type of bacteria found in a number of foods, including deli meats, pate, smoked seafood, and soft cheeses including Brie, Roquefort and feta. This harmful bacteria can cause a miscarriage or premature delivery and death of a newborn, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Undercooked meat, poultry and seafood could harbor another bacteria that may lead to a miscarriage-causing infection, toxoplasmosis. In addition to avoiding these foods, it’s important to get plenty of folic acid. UMM indicates low levels of this essential nutrient have been linked to miscarriage. Taking a prenatal vitamin will ensure you're getting enough folic acid.
Drinks to Avoid
Although most studies indicate moderate consumption of caffeine during pregnancy is safe, the American Pregnancy Association notes some studies have linked caffeine to miscarriage. A 2008 study published in the “American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology” found that more than 200 mg of caffeine per day increased the likelihood of a miscarriage, especially among women who’d never miscarried before. One 8-oz. cup of home-brewed coffee contains about 100 mg of caffeine, while tea and caffeinated sodas have about one-third this amount, according to the website of “Parents” magazine. It’s smart to also avoid alcoholic drinks. Alcohol can raise the risk of a miscarriage, reports UMM.
The USDA recommends reheating hot dogs, bologna, luncheon meats and other deli meats until they're steaming hot to make them safe to eat. Because listeria can grow in the refrigerator, your fridge thermometer should be set at 40 degrees F or lower. Clean all spills in your refrigerator immediately, especially raw meat juices and hot-dog package juices, which may contain listeria. When buying soft cheese, check to see if the label indicates it was made with milk that was pasteurized, which kills listeria. The American Pregnancy Association warns that toxoplasmosis can contaminate the soil where vegetables are grown. Washing all fresh produce before eating it will help ensure it is safe to eat when you have a baby on board.
REFERENCES & RESOURCES
- American Pregnancy Association:Foods to Avoid During Pregnancy
- American Pregnancy Association: Miscarriage
- University Maryland Medical Center: Miscarriage
- "American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology;" Maternal Caffeine Consumption During Pregnancy and Risk of Miscarriage; X. Weng, et al. March 2008
- Parents.com: Pregnancy Eating: What's Safe, What's Not