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Pregnancy Diet

Honey in Pregnancy: Is It Safe?

Eat Honey While Pregnant

Most of us know that feeding honey to a baby (under age one) poses a potentially dangerous health risk that you’ll want to avoid – infant botulism. But how safe is honey in pregnancy? And can pregnant women eat honey?

This is a common question that many OB/GYNs and midwives hear from their patients. Fortunately, honey is not on the “foods to avoid when pregnant” list. Pregnant women can safely eat honey, as long as its pasteurized.

Yes, Eating Honey While Pregnant is Safe

If you love honey, you can definitely enjoy this sweetener in pregnancy – in moderation, of course. When you buy honey, make sure that it is pasteurized honey. Most of the jars of honey you buy at the grocery store has been pasteurized and therefore safe to eat.

Pregnant women need to avoid any honey that is unpasteurized. So be leery of any honey that you buy at the farmer’s market.


Although some pregnant women do eat unpasteurized honey when pregnant, you don’t want to run the risk of getting sick from the bacteria that may hiding in it. Women have a lower immune system response during pregnancy, to prevent their bodies from attacking the baby growing inside the uterus, so pregnant women can be susceptible to illnesses more easily than a non-pregnant woman.

When it doubt, always check the product label. Play it safe and stick with pasteurized honey during pregnancy.

The Choice of Raw vs. Pasteurized Honey is Yours

There is definitely a bit of controversy surrounding the pasteurized and unpasteurized honey debate, since honey does go through a different pasteurization process than milk, cheese, and dairy products. Some proponents of raw honey says that the pasteurization of honey does not kill bacteria in the same way it does with milk products.

Whether you decide to eat raw or pasteurized honey is up to you.

But honey is safe for pregnant women, just not for babies.

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Folic Acid and Pregnancy: Why Do You Need It?

folic acid foodsYou’ve probably heard that you need to take folic acid before and during your pregnancy, but did you ever ask yourself, Why? What is folic acid for in pregnancy? Why do I need to take this supplement?

Folic acid (called folate in its natural form) is a water soluble B-vitamin, and it plays a key role in the production of healthy new cells. All people – men and women – need folic acid in their diet, but this nutrient is very crucial for a woman before and after her pregnancy. Folic acid has been proven to reduce the risk of birth defects that affect the brain and spinal column.

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Pregnancy Tea: Should You Drink Tea When Pregnant?

tea and pregnancyCaffeine is one of those no-no foods to avoid when expecting, so many women have taken to drinking tea in pregnancy. Many varieties of tea have less caffeine than a traditional cup of coffee, so brewing yourself up a nice, steaming cup of tea sounds like a wonderful alternative. But just how safe is drinking tea in pregnancy? And can it harm your unborn baby?

Many holistic practitioners recommend pregnant women drink certain herbal teas to support their pregnancy. It’s believed that some herbal teas can provide a pregnant woman with important pregnancy nutrients – such as iron, calcium and magnesium. They can also be full of antioxidants, which protect the body from free radicals and reduce a woman’s cancer risk. For example, rooibos (red bush) tea is an herbal tea that is caffeine-free and high in antioxidants and minerals.

The benefits of drinking herbal tea in pregnancy haven’t been well studied; so the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) encourages that you use caution if you decide to drink these pregnancy teas. [click to continue…]

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Sushi in Pregnancy: Is It Safe?

pregnancy and sushiSushi is quite delicious, and it can be hard to give up when you’re pregnant. But do you have to give up eating sushi in pregnancy?

Most experts will tell you to give up eating sushi completely in pregnancy. The risk of bacterial infection is too high. However, there are also a handful of healthcare providers that don’t see anything wrong with eating sushi when you’re pregnant. And the type of sushi that you’re eating (i.e. cooked sushi or sushi made with raw fish) also plays a role in answering the big question – is eating sushi in pregnancy safe or not?

You must make up your own mind, but here are the reasons for and against sushi consumption when you’re pregnant. [click to continue…]

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Fish in Pregnancy: What’s Safe and What’s Not

Seafood in Pregnancy
Seafood is so beneficial for pregnant women. It’s a great source of protein and iron – both of which are important for your unborn child’s growth and development. Plus, the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish and seafood can actually promote brain development in your baby. Even the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans released earlier this year urge women who are pregnant or breastfeeding to eat 8 to 12 ounces of seafood weekly. (This is roughly two meals a week.)

Fish is good, but not all fish is created equal. When you’re expecting, you’ll want to avoid certain types of fish in pregnancy. Large, predatory fish can contain high levels of mercury, which isn’t good for your baby. If you regularly eat fish with high mercury content, this mercury can accumulate in your bloodstream. And when you’re pregnant, mercury can damage your baby’s developing brain and nervous system. [click to continue…]

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6 Tips for Safe Eating During Pregnancy


Eating during pregnancy is tricky. There are so many rules on what you can and can’t eat – it’s absolutely mind-blowing. Alcohol is obviously bad, and caffeine during pregnancy is only OK in moderation. Eating chocolate in pregnancy is safe, as long as you don’t overdo it. The list can go on and on.

All these restrictions can make your head spin. When you’re pregnant, you don’t want to do anything that may jeopardize your developing baby’s health. But when you throw food cravings into the mix, it’s hard to resist the urge to indulge.

Keep the following healthy eating tips in mind, and safe eating during pregnancy won’t seem like a drag.

Fish is Healthy – but Skip the Sushi and Raw Seafood

Fully cooked fish are safe to eat during pregnancy, but you’ll want to skip on the sushi and raw seafood during pregnancy. Raw and undercooked fish may possibly harbor bacteria and parasites that can harm your unborn baby. [click to continue…]

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Chocolate in Pregnancy is Safe!

If you’re pregnant, know that it’s OK to indulge in chocolate.

Eating chocolate during pregnancy is perfectly safe, as long as you don’t overindulge. Moderation is key to having a healthy pregnancy!

While chocolate does have caffeine in it – the March of Dimes recommends that you consume less than 200 milligrams of caffeine a day during pregnancy – a couple bars of chocolate, or a few Hersey’s Kisses won’t add up to 200 milligrams (mg).

The Hersey Company’s website has an informative article about Chocolate and Caffeine. Here’s the amount of caffeine in many popular Hersey products: [click to continue…]

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Eating Peanuts During Pregnancy Linked to Peanut Allergies

The statistics of food allergies among American children is on the rise. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of children with food allergies increased 18 percent between 1997 and 2007. To put it in perspective for you, about three million children under the age of 18 has a food or digestive allergy. Time Magazine reports that six percent of children under age three has a food allergy, and two percent are allergic to peanuts.

Researchers and concerned parents want to know – what’s causing their children to develop these allergies? Could it have something to do with the foods that pregnant women eat? That’s a strong possibility, according to a new study published in the November issue of the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

This new research study suggests that eating peanuts during pregnancy increases your baby’s risk of developing peanut allergies later in life. In fact, the more peanuts that a pregnant woman eats in her third trimester, the higher her baby’s risk of being sensitive and possibly allergic to peanuts.

To conduct the study, researchers looked at 503 infants, between the ages of 3 and 15 months, who displayed signs of milk and egg allergies. (These babies did not have peanut allergies, but the researchers theorized that they were more likely to develop reactions to peanuts.) The infants of mothers who ate peanut products more than twice a week during pregnancy had stronger sensitivity to peanuts, compared to babies whose moms did not eat as many peanut products. In a nutshell, moms who ate peanuts during pregnancy were at an increased risk of having a baby with a peanut allergy.

The results of this study are only the latest in a string of conflicting studies. Some studies have found no link between eating peanuts during pregnancy and food allergy development, while others, like this one, suggest that there may be a connection.

Research studies are confusing, but try not to feel guilty if you love eating peanuts. Many parents believe that you need to eat peanuts during pregnancy to expose your child, while others argue that you need to avoid it completely out of fear of peanut allergies. The choice is up to you, but trust me, you’re not the only one flipping back and forth.

Even the American Academy of Pediatrics doesn’t know the answer to this question. Between 1998 and 2000, the academy advised pregnant women with a family history of food allergies to avoid peanuts to help reduce the chances of food allergies in their children. Then in 2008, small studies in England found that there was no link to peanut consumption during pregnancy and peanut allergies in newborns, so this policy was reversed.

The bottom line: the research is mixed and there is no consensus. But one thing is clear – there is not enough scientific evidence to suggest that you could completely cut out peanuts from your diet. The best thing you can do for your baby is to eat a healthy and balanced diet.

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If you’re interested in discussing pregnancy with other pregnant women, and hip moms of all ages, check out the PregnancyGroup.org.

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Moderate Caffeine OK During Pregnancy

Last week, when I wrote about the Foods to Avoid During Pregnancy, I mentioned that you should probably give up your morning cup of coffee – just to be on the safe side. Excessive amounts of coffee (caffeine) has been linked to increasing your risk of having a miscarriage and delivering a premature baby.

If you’re a regular coffee lover, you’ll be happy to learn that earlier this summer, on July, 21, 2010, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) released a new position statement on caffeine consumption during pregnancy. The official recommendation is that moderate amounts of caffeine every day is perfectly fine for the mom-to-be.

“For years, women have been getting mixed messages about whether or not they should have any caffeine during pregnancy. After a review of the scientific evidence to date, daily moderate caffeine consumption doesn’t appear to have any major impact in causing miscarriage or preterm birth,” said Dr. William H. Barth, Jr., MD, chair of the Committee on Obstetric Practice in the official press release.

In a nutshell, don’t stress out about drinking that cup of coffee, having your favorite soft drink, or indulging yourself with that delicious bar of dark chocolate. But don’t overdo it with the caffeine-laced foods and drinks. Too much caffeine can still cause harm to your baby.

“Moderate caffeine consumption” is defined as less than 200 milligrams of caffeine a day, which means only about 12 ounces of coffee a day. To help you put this measurement in perspective, an 8-ounce cup of brewed drip coffee is about 137 milligrams of caffeine, while an 8-ounce cup of instant coffee only contains 76 milligrams.

Caffeinated tea and regular soft drinks typically contain less than 50 milligrams of caffeine, and the average chocolate candy bar contains less than 35 milligrams. Staying within your daily caffeine limit should be pretty simple.

Remember to anything in moderation will be OK and won’t harm your baby. But the key word is “moderation.”

Learn more:
Early Pregnancy Loss: Miscarriage and Molar Pregnancy (ACOG)

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