Expecting surrogates have a lot of information to keep up with, but thankfully much of it is second-nature because they’ve all had at least one healthy pregnancy already. However, a brief refresher can always be helpful, whether this is your second pregnancy or fifth. Moreover, July is national ice cream month, and there’s a good chance a mouthwatering ice cream cone will, at some point, seem like the ideal treat to cool you down, but you’ll want to steer clear of soft serve. Unfortunately, it can become contaminated with listeria, which causes some nasty stomach issues in healthy people, but can spell out big trouble for surrogates and the babies they’re carrying. Traditional scoopable ice cream usually gets the green light though, so you thankfully do not have to give up the quintessential summer treat altogether.

Did you remember that nugget from your last pregnancy? If so, pat yourself on the back and test your knowledge using the rest of this list. If you missed it, now you know. Check the list to learn about other foods expecting surrogates should avoid for the next few months.

1) Expecting Surrogates Should Be Cautious With Deli Meat

The risk with deli meat is similar to soft serve ice cream—listeria. If you’re craving a sandwich and the deli meat is calling your name, experts say it’s okay to have some, but make sure it’s heated up enough to kill the listeria. Try microwaving or toasting your sandwich/ sub until the meat is steaming hot.

2) Expecting Surrogates Should Avoid Eating Raw or Rare Meat

Meat can contain toxoplasma gondii (which causes toxoplasmosis) as well as salmonella. The cooking process kills bacteria that can lead to infection, so it’s important that any meat you consume is cooked thoroughly. Particularly during the barbecue season, surrogates should be extra careful that the cook is following good practices that avoid cross-contamination and is using a thermometer to check the temperature of meat before serving it.

3) Expecting Surrogates Should Choose Fish Not High in Mercury

Fish contain a whole lot of things that are good for you and the baby, so the FDA now recommends that pregnant women include it in their diets. The caveat to this is that some types of fish are high in mercury, which is a health risk to surrogates and the babies they carry. Canned tuna is generally safe in moderation, but you’ll need to avoid things like tilefish, swordfish, shark, and king mackerel. If you’re a surrogate who plans to share breastmilk after, either giving it to the intended parents or donating to a milk bank, the rule on skipping these types of fish continues for as long as you’re sharing milk.

4) Expecting Surrogates Shouldn’t Eat Raw Eggs and Milk

Unpasteurized milk is often touted as a wonder food in certain circles, but it’s not without risk. Occasionally, unpasteurized milk contains things like listeria, which, again, can be dangerous if not deadly. You’d likely know if you were getting raw milk because it goes at premium prices; it’s not something people usually slip into foods. Raw eggs, which come with salmonella risk, can be a little more difficult to detect because they’re part of things like Caesar dressing, homemade ice cream and custard, mayo, and hollandaise sauce. If a recipe calls for raw eggs, make sure the cook is using pasteurized eggs.

5) Expecting Surrogates Should Refrain From Eating Soft Cheese

Listeria can be present in soft cheeses too. Although some are pasteurized and should be safe, experts say to skip over anything that is not clearly labeled as such.

  • Brie    
  • Camembert
  • Feta
  • Gorgonzola
  • Mexican (with unpasteurized queso blanco and queso fresco)
  • Roquefort

Surrogates: Start Your Journey with SPS

If you’re considering becoming a surrogate, SPS is the place to be. Founded by a surrogate, our agency has helped hundreds of families grow. We offer a warm and supportive environment for both expecting surrogates and intended parents and make sure the process is a smooth one for everyone involved. Although we do have rigorous requirements for all surrogates in order to ensure the health and safety of the little one, most women who are healthy and have had a healthy pregnancy qualify. You can read the requirements and surrogate info on our site, then begin the application process when you’re ready. We hope this list of foods to avoid for expecting surrogates was useful. For more tips for expecting surrogates or for more information about becoming a surrogate, check out our blog.