What to Avoid

Alcohol – STOP

Avoid alcoholic beverages during pregnancy.
Alcohol use has been linked with fetal alcohol syndrome.
Fetal alcohol syndrome is marked by physical and mental retardation of the baby.
Caffeine – CAUTION

Limit your caffeine intake during pregnancy.
Caffeine is found in coffee, tea and some carbonated beverages, especially colas.
Caffeine is also found in chocolate.
Aim for less than 200 milligrams of caffeine daily (one or two cups of coffee).
Do not drink so much coffee or cola that you neglect to drink enough milk or juice.
To lessen caffeine withdrawal symptoms, taper off your intake over several weeks.
Vitamin supplements – CAUTION

Do not take vitamins other than prescribed prenatal supplements without checking with your doctor. If your doctor has prescribed a prenatal

supplement, be sure to take it as directed. Taking it with orange or grapefruit juice, or other foods rich in vitamin C, will enhance the

absorption of iron in the supplement.
Remember that excessive amounts of vitamin A have been linked with birth defects.
One study of 22,000 women taking vitamin A (in the form of retinol, not beta-carotene) showed that one of every 57 who took more than 10,000 IU

had a baby with birth defects of the brain, head, heart or spinal cord. (Source: Rothman, et al. Teratongenicity of high Vitamin A intake. N Engl

J Med; 1995; 333: 1369-73)
Limit your consumption of liver, which contains large amounts of retinol.
If you eat fortified foods, avoid eating too much of those with high retinol content.
Choose foods rich in beta-carotene, such as fruits and vegetables, as an alternative to foods containing large amounts of retinol.
Artificial sweeteners – CAUTION

Consider eliminating or limiting your use of saccharin or aspartame.
Saccharin has been shown to cause cancer in laboratory animals.
Aspartame use during pregnancy is still somewhat controversial.
Regardless of whether or not aspartame poses significant risks, filling up on diet sodas and other foods containing aspartame and lacking in

nutrients is not a good idea.
Food poisoning suspects – CAUTION

Be aware that you may be especially susceptible to bacteria that cause food poisoning.
Cook meat, eggs and poultry thoroughly to kill bacteria that may be present.
Avoid raw foods, such as sushi or clams.
Reheat leftovers until they are steaming hot.
Avoid unpasteurized dairy products.
Shark and Swordfish – CAUTION

Limit your consumption of shark or swordfish, which may contain high levels of methyl mercury, to once a month.
Eat a wide variety of other types of fish and seafood more often than once a month; they can be an important part of a healthy diet.
Be sure to buy fish and seafood from a reputable source, and cook it thoroughly.

Morning Sickness/Heartburn/Constipation

Traveling along the road of pregnancy, you may experience some common discomforts that will make the ride a bit bumpy. Perseverance and gentle

guidance should make it easier to get past the road bumps. Try these tips.

Morning Sickness

Drink liquids between, rather than with, meals.
Relax after meals, but do not lie flat.
Keep crackers or other dry, crunchy food in your purse or at your bedside.
Do not allow too much time to pass between meals. (Small snacks will help.)
Salty and sour foods, such as pretzels and lemonade, may do the trick.
If you are inside when it happens, go outside for some fresh air.

Despite its name, this common feeling of nausea may be experienced at any time of day. It might help to know that most of the symptoms lessen or stop by the end of the first trimester.


Try eating pineapple or drinking pineapple juice. Pineapple contains natural substances that may lessen the severity of heartburn.
Eat small, frequent meals.
Avoid peppermint, chocolate, caffeine and spicy foods.
Do not eat just before bedtime.
Limit consumption of fatty or greasy foods.

Eat more high-fiber foods, such as fresh fruits and vegetables, and whole-grain breads and cereals.
Get more physical activity; try taking a walk.
Be sure to drink plenty of water, juice and other fluids.
Never take laxatives without your doctor’s approval.