Food fact or fiction for the mom to be
Cheese, cold cuts, fish, and caffeine are some of the long-believed no-no foods during pregnancy, but are they really dangerous? With conflicting lists of things to be avoided, it can be a long nine months for expectant mothers. Dr. Simi Suri, Obstetrician and Gynecologist with White Plains Hospital Medical and Wellness in Armonk, offers some helpful tips.
Become a Half-Caff Convert
Cutting out caffeine can be one of the hardest things for pregnant women. Don’t despair, says Dr. Suri. “Some caffeine is not harmful,” she says, “but the key is moderation.” She suggests that expectant mothers limit their caffeine intake to one 8 to 12-oz cup of coffee a day. For those who are used to consuming more, “I tell my patients to fill up their cups, but switch to half decaf, and half regular,” says Dr. Suri. “That way, their cup is never half-empty.”
Deli Meat Dilemma
Can you still have your daily deli sandwich while baby is on board? Yes, and no, says Dr. Suri. “The concern with deli meats, particularly those straight from the counter, is listeria, which is a type of bacteria that can survive colder temperatures and can be harmful to a developing fetus.” She suggests, “Choose a Panini-style sandwich, where the meat has been heated, to minimize the risk.”
For the Love of Cheese
As with deli meat, the safety issue with some types of cheese for pregnant mothers is listeria. “Stick with hard cheeses and generally the risk is extremely minimal,” says Dr. Suri. “Softer cheeses such as feta, goat cheese, brie, camembert and some Mexican cheeses have not been pasteurized and therefore should be avoided.”
Better Fish Finds
High doses of mercury are best avoided by pregnant women due to the potential harm to a developing baby’s organs, vision, and nervous system. Avoid higher mercury fish, including tuna steaks and canned solid white albacore tuna, and choose lower-mercury options like salmon, cod, and shrimp. “Salmon is also heart-healthy and high in omega 3 fatty acids, which support fetal brain development,” says Dr. Suri.