4 Foods To Avoid When You’re Pregnant

4 Foods To Avoid When You’re Pregnant

foods to avoid when you're pregnant

There’s no shortage of advice when you’re pregnant — everybody is eager to help you grow a happy, healthy baby. Diet tips are especially common, and it can be tough to decipher which advice you should follow.

Pregnant women need to increase their calorie and nutrient intake to help the baby develop and grow and to keep their bodies healthy throughout the pregnancy. Many people joke about eating for two, but pregnant women truly eat to fuel their bodies and nourish their growing baby.

Although it’s fun to think that extra calories mean extra sweets and treats, mother and baby need more healthy calories to support the baby’s healthy development. Dietary choices before getting pregnant, during pregnancy, and while breastfeeding affects the baby’s health even after they’re no longer breastfeeding.

The best calories for pregnant women are those gained by eating nutrient-dense foods. Nutrient-dense foods contain vitamins, minerals, and other healthy nutrients and very little added sugar, sodium, or saturated fat. Vegetables, whole grains, seafood, eggs, legumes (beans, peas, lentils), unsalted nuts and seeds, low-fat dairy, and lean proteins can all be healthy, nutrient-dense choices.

You may already be eating a healthy diet of lean proteins, whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and low-fat dairy, but did you know that some healthy foods become not-so-healthy when you’re pregnant? It’s true — some of your favorite healthy foods may not be safe options when you’re pregnant.

So which healthy foods should you avoid while pregnant?

Seafood High in Mercury

Seafood can be a healthy source of protein, vitamins and minerals, and omega-3 fatty acids that support eye and brain development. The downside is that some types of fish and shellfish may contain unhealthy mercury levels, which can harm your baby’s nervous system development.

For pregnant women, the FDA categorizes types of fish as “best” or “good” to eat or “avoid eating” based on mercury content. It recommends eating 2-3 servings from the “best” category per week or one serving from the “good” category. Click here for the complete list.

Seafood To Avoid

Larger, older fish typically have more mercury than their smaller counterparts. Popular fish to avoid when pregnant include:

- Bigeye tuna
- King mackerel
- Orange roughy
- Swordfish

Seafood That Is Safe To Eat

When you avoid higher-mercury options, seafood is still a healthy choice. Some options from the FDA “best” list include:

- Anchovies
- Atlantic mackerel
- Clams
- Cod
- Crab
- Freshwater trout
- Haddock
- Herring
- Oysters
- Perch
- Pollock
- Salmon
- Scallops
- Shrimp
- Squid
- Tilapia

Undercooked and Processed Proteins

Meat, meat products, fish, and eggs can be excellent sources of protein but can also be sources of bacteria if they aren’t thoroughly cooked. Pregnant women have a greater risk of catching bacterial food poisoning from undercooked foods and may develop a more severe reaction than before they were pregnant. Although rare, food poisoning can also affect the baby.

Keep meats and eggs safe with the following tips:

- Make sure all meat, including poultry, is fully cooked. Check the temperature with a meat thermometer     to verify the internal temperature.
- Avoid lunch meats and hot dogs, or cook them until they’re steaming. They can pick up bacteria during     processing.
- Avoid refrigerated meat spreads and pates. Canned versions are safer.
- Cook eggs until the yolks and whites are firm. Avoid foods that contain raw eggs, like eggnog, batter,         and hollandaise sauce.
- Avoid raw seafood like oysters, mussels, and some types of sushi.

Unpasteurized Dairy and Juice

Dairy foods are an excellent source of calcium, but unpasteurized dairy foods can be a source of listeria bacteria. Skim milk, cottage cheese, and hard cheeses, like cheddar, are healthy dairy choices, but pregnant women should avoid soft cheeses unless they are labeled as pasteurized, like:

- Brie
- Blue
- Camembert
- Feta
- Gorgonzola
- Queso blanco or fresco
- Roquefort

Unwashed Produce

Fruits and vegetables are among the healthiest foods we can eat but can become contaminated with parasites and bacteria at any point in the growing, processing, shipping, or retail stages. In fact, the parasite toxoplasma can contaminate the soil the fruits and vegetables were grown in.

Parasites like toxoplasma and bacteria like E. coli can affect your and your baby’s health. To keep your fruits and vegetables as safe as possible:

- Wash all raw fruits and vegetables thoroughly
- Peel fruits and vegetables to minimize your risk
- Cook fruits and vegetables to kill bacteria and parasites
- Avoid raw sprouts entirely

Adopt a Healthy Diet for You and Your Baby

A healthy diet has countless benefits for your health and your baby’s development. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and low-fat dairy supports a healthy mom and baby even after delivery. If you have any questions about your diet, reach out! We’re here to help.

Start your pregnancy care with a trusted OB/GYN today - schedule an appointment!

Rachel Villaruz, PA-C, joining Women’s Health Center

Rachel received her Physician Assistant training in the Philadelphia area and has been practicing for four years. She believes that knowledge empowers women to live a healthy life, and therefore is passionate about educating each of her patients to be her best self.

She is excited to be settling in the Grants Pass community and invest in the women and families who live here. In her free time she enjoys hiking and traveling with her husband, taking their dog on long walks, playing volleyball and making a mess in the kitchen.

Rachel will be joining Women's Health Center in January 2023!

Say Hello to Sarah Witesman, PA-C!

Our newest Physician's Assistant, Sarah developed a passion for OB/GYN while on her clinical rotations in rural upstate New York. She believes all patients should have control of their own reproductive and sexual health. Whether it’s help with contraception, conception, routine gynecologic care, or there is a problem that needs addressing, she will be an advocate and a partner in your health and wellness. She has a special interest in addressing sexual dysfunction as well as pelvic and vaginal pain, both chronic and acute. In addition to seeing patients in the clinic, Sarah assists with surgical cases and works with the team of physicians and physician assistants caring for patients admitted to the hospital.

Sarah recently relocated to Grants Pass and joins Women’s Health Center after practicing in a busy OB/GYN clinic for more than five years outside of Salt Lake City. She looks forward to getting to know all the wonderful things that southern Oregon has to offer!

Welcome Crystal Lindahl, WHNP!

Women's Health Center continues to expand our practice to better serve the women in our community!  Crystal Lindahl, a Women's Health Nurse Practitioner has just joined our team.  Previously a labor nurse, Crystal is looking forward to expanding her patient care to include the entire span of a woman's life.  She provides an inclusive environment with respect and courtesy, honoring all her patients’ values and goals.
Crystal and her family recently moved to Grants Pass and are delighted to be surrounded by the mountains and the natural beauty of the area. Schedule your appointment with Crystal online or call our office at 541-479-8363.

Welcome Baby! Community Baby Shower – Sept 17

Our community wants to welcome your new baby at a Community Baby Shower!  Lots of great educational and informative demonstrations, gifts, food trucks, and more!  At Grants Pass High School from 10:30am - 4:00pm or on Facebook: @HealthyStartofSouthernOregon.  See you there!



The Dangers Faced By Women Who Delay Preventive Care

Preventative care

When you feel that something is off about your body or health, it’s easy to make the decision to get checked out by a healthcare professional. But, if you only see your doctor when you notice a change in your body, you could be missing important clues to your health that your doctor might discover in a preventive care checkup.

There are many things that can get in the way of making those regular, preventive appointments - scheduling conflicts, transportation issues, or just a busy life. Or in many cases, people believe doctors are only for the sick or injured, not realizing it’s possible to be sick without knowing it.

True, access to healthcare when sick or injured is critical, but preventive healthcare is just as necessary. Maybe more, as preventive care aims to prevent illness and negative outcomes.


Incontinence is Not a Normal Part of Aging

Incontinence is Not a Normal Part of Aging

Do you leak a little when you laugh or sneeze? You’re not alone. Over 25 million people have some degree of bladder leakage or incontinence in the U.S. every day. Most don’t mention it to their doctors because they feel embarrassed or write it off as a normal part of aging.

It’s true that urinary incontinence is more common as we age, but it’s not a normal part of aging and it’s definitely not something you have to live with.

Whether you leak in your sleep, only when you laugh or sneeze, or all day – tiny drips or full bladders – your body is letting you know that something isn’t right. Urinary incontinence is a health program, not an aging problem.

Most people with urinary incontinence have a treatable or manageable condition.



Women's Health Center is expanding our practice to better service the women in our community.  We are excited to introduce two new providers who will be joining us this summer. 

A native southern Oregonian, Lauren Jones, NP, partners with her patients to help guide them to become the healthiest and happiest version of themselves.  Lauren has nearly a decade of experience in healthcare and feels strong two-way communication is the key to ensure each patient achieves their health goals. She is excited about returning to her roots here and joins us in mid-July.  When not in the office, she finds happiness spending time with her husband and daughter, living an active lifestyle, and enjoying many outdoor activities. 






Meet Dr. Marla Peters who joins us in August. Dr. Peters graduated from Mercer University School of Medicine in 2018 and completed her OB/GYN residency at Memorial University Medical Center in Georgia.  She has a special interest in adolescent gynecology, infertility and reproductive endocrinology, as well as menopause management. She is very approachable and incorporates mental well-being into her practice providing a holistic approach to managing the health of her patients. Dr. Peters enjoys hiking and traveling with her husband and their pup durning her off time. She loves painting with acrylics and watercolors and draws inspiration from her hikes.


Community Baby Shower – April 25-29!

All are welcome to attend the virtual Community Baby Shower from the comfort of your own home!  Featuring live streaming education for moms and dads and prizes!  

6 Myths About Hospital Births

6 Myths About Hospital Births

Giving birth is one of the most memorable and profound experiences in a parent’s life. You want it to be perfect – safe, loving, and memorable. And that’s why there are so many options about how and where to give birth. Unfortunately, there are just as many opinions and it can be difficult for a soon-to-be new parent to know what to believe.


Location & Directions

Women’s Health Center of Southern Oregon, PC

1075 SW Grandview Ave. Suite 200 Grants Pass, Oregon 97527

Phone: 541-479-8363 Fax: 541-476-2841

News & Events

4 Foods To Avoid When You’re Pregnant

There’s no shortage of advice when you’re pregnant — everybody is eager to help you grow a happy, healthy baby. Diet tips are especially common, and it can be tough…

Read more >

Rachel Villaruz, PA-C, joining Women’s Health Center

Rachel received her Physician Assistant training in the Philadelphia area and has been practicing for four years. She believes that knowledge empowers women to live a healthy life, and therefore…

Read more >

Say Hello to Sarah Witesman, PA-C!

Our newest Physician's Assistant, Sarah developed a passion for OB/GYN while on her clinical rotations in rural upstate New York. She believes all patients should have control of their own…

Read more >

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