Thanksgiving is a time where traditionally families gather around the table to express their gratitude and love for one another. As part of the holiday festivities, there are, of course, a wide variety of special foods and treats that are eaten that are not normally on the menu, and some of these can be less than safe for pregnant women. The following is a list of some food items that expectant moms should avoid during the holidays.
Turkey that is Undercooked or Stored Improperly
Everyone should only eat turkey that has been cooked and prepared properly. This means that turkey should be thoroughly thawed before placed in the oven or fryer for cooking. When baking turkey, allow about 20 minutes per pound in a 350 degree oven.
The turkey is considered done and safe to consume for most folks when it reaches 165 degrees when measured by a meat thermometer in the thickest part of the thigh, wing and breast. Pregnant women, the elderly, and those with weakened immune systems should only consume turkey that has been cooked to reach an internal temperature of 180 degrees.
Stuffing should be baked separately from the turkey to ensure optimal food safety. Both turkey and dressing should be served warm, and leftovers promptly stored in the refrigerator within two hours after cooking.
Dips, Spreads and Cheeses that are Unpasteurized
Dips and spreads, such as homemade mayonnaise, may contain raw eggs and carry a risk of salmonella, and some soft cheeses may be susceptible to germs such as listeria. Camembert, blue cheese and brie are examples of soft cheeses that should be avoided, so only use dips, spreads and soft cheeses that are fully pasteurized.
Raw or Undercooked Seafood and Shellfish
Oysters on the half-shell and sushi are types of seafood dishes that should be avoided by pregnant moms as all recipes that use raw or undercooked seafood and shellfish.
Leftover Batter and Dough
When you’re cooking, it’s tempting to lick the remaining batter off the spoon. Of course, it’s just to make certain that it’s seasoned or sweetened properly, but batters and dough are likely to contain raw eggs, which do pose a hazard to pregnant moms, so promptly washout bowls, spoons, whisks and beaters to avoid the temptation.
Cocktails and Other Items with Alcohol
Punches, hard ciders, mimosas and cocktails may all contain some alcohol, which pregnant mothers absolutely should avoid in order to prevent complications during delivery, and other harm to their developing baby.