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Safe foods & medicines during pregnancy

"What foods should I avoid while pregnant?"

"What medications are safe to take during pregnancy?"

Even before you learn you are pregnant, what you eat and the medications you take can affect your unborn baby. While most foods are safe to eat while pregnant, it is important to know what foods to avoid while pregnant and what medicines are safe for you and your baby. This page offers guidelines to help you make smarter choices while pregnant. If you have questions about other foods or medications, please ask someone in our office,

Foods to avoid during pregnancy

  • Raw or undercooked eggs (including those in homemade salad dressings, meringue pies and hollandaise sauce
  • Unpasteurized milks or cheeses (including many soft cheeses, i.e. brie, feta, queso fresco blanco; cream cheese and cottage cheese are okay)
  • Refrigerated patés, meat spreads or smoked seafood (safe if canned)
  • Shark, swordfish, tilefish or king mackerel (should also be avoided while breastfeeding or anticipating a pregnancy)
  • Raw or uncooked shellfish
  • Sushi
  • Deli meats or hot dogs (unless heated to steaming)
  • Raw sprouts
  • Raw or rare meat

Fish other than those listed above should not be avoided during pregnancy, but should be limited to approximately 12 ounces per week. Locally-caught fish and tuna should be limited to six ounces per week. This is due to concerns over mercury exposure; however, fish also provides omega-3 fatty acids that aid in your baby's development, so they should not be avoided entirely.

Saccharin (Sweet'N Low) crosses the placenta and is recommended only in small quantities. Other artificial sweeteners (including Splenda) do not cross the placenta and can be used freely. Caffeine and some herbal teas should be limited during pregnancy. Other teas, including those containing lobelia, sassafras, coltsfoot, comfrey and pennyroyal should be avoided entirely.

Nicotine in cigarettes and other products should be avoided, including secondhand smoke. It can cause premature labor, miscarriage and low birth weight, and can increase your baby's risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

Alcohol in any quantity is not safe during pregnancy. It can cause miscarriages, low birth weights and fetal alcohol syndrome.

Medications Safe to Take During Pregnancy

Natural pain relief is best during pregnancy. Eating smaller meals or snacking on crackers can fight nausea or heartburn, for instance. Tylenol is alright to take in small quantities. Avoid aspirin and non-steroidal pain relievers. Other allowed medications, listed by ailment:

Common cold, cough, congestion, seasonal allergies, sore throat Tylenol, Sudafed, Dimetapp, Triaminic, Coricidin, Theraflu, Allegra, Cold-Eeze, Zyrtec, Claritin, Benadryl, Mucinex, Robitussin, Cough Drops, Chloraseptic spray, Cold-Eeze
Diarrhea Immodium AD, Kaopectate
Nausea Dramamine
Indigestion/Heartburn Mylanta, Pepcid AC, Rolaids, Zantac, Tums, Gaviscon, Maalox
Hemorrhoids Anusol ointment, Preparation H (cream, ointment or pads), Tucks pads
Contact Dermatitis Rash Benadryl cream or tablets, Calamine lotion, 1% Hydrocortisone cream, Aveeno products (avoid hot baths)
Sleep/Insomnia Tylenol PM, Benadryl
Headache/Fever Tylenol PM, Tylenol
Constipation Colace, Citrucel, FiberCon, Metamucil, Milk of Magnesia, Hydrocil, Dulcolax suppositories, Dialose plus Penefiber
Gas Mylicon, Mylanta, Gas-X, Phazyme, Lactaid
Leg Cramps Tums, Benadryl




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