If you’re an expectant mother-to-be, chances are you’re looking forward to satisfying those pregnancy hunger pangs on Thanksgiving Day. Traditional Thanksgiving foods such as turkey, green beans, sweet potatoes, and whole cranberries are nutritious foods associated with numerous health benefits for you and your baby. But some foods often served as part of the Thanksgiving spread and holiday festivities may pose a health risk, so before you start digging in, it’s important that you familiarize yourself with pregnancy dos and don’ts for Thanksgiving holiday eating.
Here’s a list of Thanksgiving foods to avoid eating when you’re pregnant.
1. Uncooked / undercooked turkey
Since a large percentage of poultry may be contaminated with salmonella, it’s important that you always cook turkey thoroughly — especially if you’re pregnant. The USDA recommends that turkey is to be cooked to no lower than 165 degrees in the thickest part of the turkey’s thigh. To be on the safe side, you may want the temperature to read 180 degrees before serving. Also, make sure you avoid getting raw turkey juice anywhere near other foods, as well as your eyes, mouth, and open wounds.
Since you’re technically “stuffing” the stuffing into the raw turkey, stuffing promotes the breeding of bacteria. Even the Food Safety Commission describes stuffing as a well-known medium for bacterial growth. Avoid stuffing at all costs if you can get away with it, or at least prepare and cook stuffing separately outside of the turkey.
3. Unpasteurized apple cider
Raw cider of any kind carries the risk for E. Coli bacteria — which can put both you and your baby at risk during pregnancy. Stay away from ciders labeled as “unpasteurized,” and stick to drinking hot cider whenever possible to reduce your risk for illness.
4. Unpasteurized soft cheeses
While most cheeses manufactured in the United States are pasteurized, some are not, and if your friends and family members have special-ordered fancy cheeses from overseas for the occasion, make sure they’re labeled as pasteurized before consuming.
5. Unwashed produce
While washing produce before eating is a relatively common practice among most people, make sure you follow through with this habit when you’re pregnant. Consuming unwashed produce can increase the risk for illness due to bacteria and pesticide residue.
6. Raw cookie, cake, and brownie batter
While licking the spoon clean of batter when doing holiday baking may be a favorite tradition, avoid doing so while you’re pregnant. Raw eggs, especially those that haven’t been pasteurized, can increase your risk for salmonella poisoning, and lead to health complications for you and your baby.
CarePoint Health is dedicated to providing you with the individual care and attention you need so you can relax and focus on what is most important — the birth of your new baby. Contact us today to learn more about our obstetrics and maternity services.
Content on our website is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, please call 911. Always consult your physician before making any changes to your medical treatment.