Pregnant Women: Step Away From the Licorice ... Um, if You Want To

licoriceI was surprised when I read a story this week about the dangers of eating licorice when pregnant. Apparently, it contains an ingredient that can cause all sorts of problems like diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity later in life for the children of mothers who eat it.

I thought I knew all the pregnancy no-no foods, but apparently not. After quickly thinking back through my pregnancies and remembering it was only cake, chocolate, and Chipotle tacos that made up my prenatal diet, I relaxed ... until I thought of a friend's recent post on Facebook.


She was craving licorice. And she's pregnant. Then I struggled with questions of telling her or not. Perhaps she already knew? (Apparently there have been other studies on the dangers of licorice that I've missed.) What if she didn't want to know? I didn't want to come off as judgemental or a know-it-all, so I didn't do anything.

Just how many warnings and how much advice should one share with a pregnant woman when it comes to what she shouldn't do?

I assume most women know the basics -- no alcohol, no raw eggs, no sushi; and if they choose to consume them anyway, well that's their choice.

But there are a lot of other things that pose dangers that I have been surprised to learn about, and when I see a pregnant woman indulging in them, I start twitching -- not because they're consuming them, but because I wonder if they know.

I usually bite my tongue, but just in case you're the sort who does like to have all the information, here are some other foods that medical professionals advise you to avoid that I was surprised to learn about. And if you don't want to know, then stop reading here.

Soft-serve ice cream -- I was devastated to learn of this one during my last pregnancy. Apparently the machines used to dispense it can be a source of listeria. Bye Bye, Blizzards.

Raw poultry that's been pre-stuffed -- you know those ones in the meat case that make dinner so easy (and good) filled with cheese and stuffings and the sort? Apparently, raw juice that mixes with the stuffing can cause bacterial growth. The frozen kind is OK.

Deli meat and hot dogs -- one of the most disappointing ones I found. Sure you can heat them to steaming, but it's not the same as a good COLD cut sandwich. Some doctors recommend you avoid them altogether.

Bagels and lox -- You can have the bagels, but skip the lox and all other smoked canned meats. Kind of puts a bummer on Sunday mornings, no?

Sauces like bearnaise, hollandaise, and aioli -- All the good ones basically, because they can contain raw eggs. There goes your Eggs Benedict for sure, because you're not supposed to eat undercooked eggs either.

So tell me, how much information do you want from others about what you should and shouldn't do when you're pregnant? How much advice do you give? Did you know about licorice or these others?

Image via Incase/Flickr

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