Eating a well-balanced diet is necessary to maintain good health. However, it becomes even more important for a pregnant woman to eat healthy because her diet is the only source of nutrition for the developing fetus. It is recommended that expectant mothers eat a balanced diet consisting of all the essential vitamins, minerals, fats, proteins and carbohydrates. This is because of the fact that the choice of food during pregnancy affects the health of not only the mother, but the development of the baby as well. On the contrary, there are certain foods and drinks that should not be consumed during pregnancy. Doctors agree that some foods contain bacteria and harmful chemicals, which could interfere with the fetal development or, in the worst case, cause serious infection. Owing to this fact, it becomes vital to take care of the food that should be strictly avoided, apart from those specially recommended for pregnant woman. Read on to explore the foods to avoid during pregnancy.
Foods Not To Eat During Pregnancy
Consumption of alcoholic beverages causes a host of health problems for the baby, including low body weight, learning disabilities, visual problems, deformed organs and other abnormalities.
Caffeine consumption can put the pregnant woman at a risk of miscarriage and premature birth. Hence, even beverages containing caffeine, like coffee, should be strictly avoided during pregnancy.
Raw eggs should not be consumed during pregnancy, because they contain ‘Salmonella’, bacteria that causes food borne illnesses. Stay away from the dishes that contain raw eggs including salad dressing, cookie batter and eggnog.
Fish With Mercury
Consumption of mercury is related to the delay in the development of the brain of the baby. Therefore, fish with high levels of mercury, such as Tilefish, Shark, Swordfish and King Mackerel should be strictly avoided during pregnancy.
Smoked seafood available in the general stores may be contaminated with Listeria, harmful bacteria. Therefore, smoked seafood, especially the refrigerated ones, are a strict no-no for pregnant women.
Fish Exposed To Industrial Pollutants
Do not eat fish from lakes and rivers, such as bluefish, striped bass, salmon, pike, trout and walleye, because they may be exposed to high levels of polychlorinated biphenyls, a class of organic compounds that are harmful for health.
Uncooked shellfish is the source of a number of seafood-borne diseases. Hence, pregnant women should avoid raw shellfish.
Soft cheese such as Feta, Gorgonzola, Queso Blanco, Queso Fresco, Brie and Camembert, contain Listeria, which may infect the baby. It may also lead to blood poisoning.
Vegetables should be thoroughly washed before consumption, because they may have been exposed to a parasitic disease 'toxoplasmosis', which might have affected the soil where the vegetables were grown.
Ensure that the milk you consume during pregnancy is pasteurized, because unpasteurized milk may contain bacteria called Listeria, which may lead to miscarriage.
Sushi may contain bacteria that can make you sick. There are many parasites that live in fish and hence it may raise the risk of contracting infection. Fish may also contain high levels of toxins and mercury, due to toxins in sea.
The consumption of raw meat can infect the mother’s body with salmonella or toxoplasmosis.
Liver contains high amounts of Vitamin A in non-beta-carotene form and this can cause birth defects or still birth.
Hot dogs & Deli meat
Even though these meats may be the ultimate carving for every mommy-to-be, it is best avoided. The large amounts of nitrates and chemicals used to preserve these meats can prove to be fatal to the developing fetus.
Raw sprouts may contain the E.coli or Salmonella bacteria that cause food poisoning. It is better to avoid raw sprouts. Instead you can have steamed ones. As once it is cooked the bacteria may find it difficult to survive.
Many varieties of pâté that are refrigerated and other variations of meat spreads may contain traces of the bacteria listeria. As an alternative, try to choose shelf safe meat spreads or canned pate. Avoid refrigerated ones.
Since the immune system is weaker during pregnancy, the body is more vulnerable to infections. During the earlier stages of pregnancy any instance of food poisoning can affect the fetus and in serious conditions it can also lead to a miscarriage or other problems in fetal development. This includes birth defects or heart problems. Food-borne illnesses can also affect the baby after the birth or cause a mild instance of jaundice, viral fever or flu. Taking care of your diet during pregnancy is vital to the health of the fetus.