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February 2014

To Eat or Not to Eat: What Foods Are Safe to Consume During Pregnancy?

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Pediatrics, Program for Maternal and Child Health, Center for Healthcare Studies, Institute for Public Health and Medicine, Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois
JAMA Pediatr. 2014;168(2):109-110. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2013.4602

Mothers-to-be often seek advice from physicians on what is safe to eat during pregnancy in order to give their child the best chance of being healthy. Historically, understanding the relationship between a woman’s diet during pregnancy and neonatal outcomes has been critical to avoiding negative sequelae. Two well-known examples include the following: (1) adequate dietary folic acid intake to prevent neural tube defects1; and (2) avoidance of soft unpasteurized cheeses to prevent Listeria infections, which can result in fetal death or other long-term consequences.2,3

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