Avoid unwashed fruits and vegetables

To eliminate any harmful bacteria, thoroughly wash all raw fruits and vegetables. Avoid raw sprouts of any kind — including alfalfa, clover, radish and mung bean — which also might contain disease-causing bacteria. Be sure to cook sprouts thoroughly.

Avoid excess caffeine

Caffeine can cross the placenta and affect your baby's heart rate. While further research is needed, some studies suggest that drinking too much caffeine during pregnancy might be associated with an increased risk of miscarriage.

Because of the potential effects on your developing baby, your health care provider might recommend limiting the amount of caffeine in your diet to less than 200 milligrams a day during pregnancy. For perspective, an 8-ounce (237-milliliter) cup of brewed coffee contains about 95 milligrams of caffeine, an 8-ounce (237-milliliter) cup of brewed tea contains about 47 milligrams and a 12-ounce (355-milliliter) caffeinated cola soft drink contains about 33 milligrams.

Avoid herbal tea

There's little data on the effects of specific herbs on developing babies. As a result, avoid drinking herbal tea unless your health care provider says it's OK — even the types of herbal tea marketed specifically to pregnant women.

Avoid alcohol

One drink isn't likely to hurt your baby, but no level of alcohol has been proved safe during pregnancy. The safest bet is to avoid alcohol entirely.

Consider the risks. Mothers who drink alcohol have a higher risk of miscarriage and stillbirth. Too much alcohol during pregnancy can result in fetal alcohol syndrome, which can cause facial deformities, heart defects and mental retardation. Even moderate drinking can impact your baby's brain development.

If you're concerned about alcohol you drank before you knew you were pregnant or you think you need help to stop drinking, consult your health care provider.

Sep. 04, 2014 See more In-depth