Foods to avoid during pregnancy
There are a lot of dos and don’ts that accompany a pregnant woman. Especially in the case of food consumption, there indeed is a lot of stuff that an expectant mom has to be careful about. One must always have an inkling of the food to avoid during pregnancy, and if not, the doctor must be consulted. There is a lot of responsibility on the expectant mom, because she is responsible for two lives now. So she must be careful in keeping track of what she is eating.
In some cases, foods ingested contain substances that are passed directly through the placenta. In other words, what you eat, the baby eats as well.
One of the foods to avoid during pregnancy, which the baby “eats” as well, is alcohol. It’s recommended that alcohol be avoided completely during pregnancy. Smoking cigarettes could have serious health hazards, both for the mother and the baby.
Caffeine should be consumed in careful moderation especially during the first trimester when the risk of miscarriage is at its highest. Too much caffeine can cause low birth weight in newborns and doctors have even witnessed caffeine withdrawal in new born babies whose mothers were excessive users. If you must drink non decaffeinated coffee it is important to limit your intake to two cups a day.
Also watch your intake of chocolate, tea and caffeinated soft drinks for the same reasons. Heartburn can be a major area of discomfort for pregnant women and although not a risk to the baby there are certain foods you can avoid to minimize this side effect, avoiding spicy or greasy foods, mustard, vinegar, chocolate and high citrus flavors can help diminish heart burn.
Drink decaffeinated soft drinks and consider abandoning the energy drinks while pregnant.
There are some cheeses which can be potentially harmful to a pregnant woman. Avoid soft cheeses which usually are mold ripened and blue veined, such as Brie, Camembert, Chevre, Danish Blue and some Mexican soft cheeses. It is good to stay clear of the majority of blue cheeses such as Roquefort, Gorgonzola and Stilton. These are made with a mold that can contain a bacteria called listeria and lead to miscarriage, stillbirth or a severe illness in your new baby. Symptoms of listeria infection can take up to six weeks to appear and can include, fever, muscle aches, and nausea.
Hard cheeses are OK as the aging process naturally kills off listeria. If a soft cheese has been pasteurized, it’s OK to eat. Here is a list of cheeses that fall into safe category:
- Parmesan or Parmigiano-Reggiano,
- Red Leicester,
- Pecorino (hard),
- Cottage cheese,
Avoid unpasteurized milk. All pasteurised products are safe to use.
Pregnant women are encouraged to include at least two eggs a day into their diet as it aids the development of the baby’s brain and retina. Be very careful to ensure the eggs are cooked properly and avoid any raw egg products such as homemade mayonnaise, ice cream, meringues, cheesecakes, mousses or sorbets, custards and fresh Caesar dressing. Store bought products are generally fine in this area but raw or undercooked eggs can cause salmonella food poisoning. The salmonella bacteria are most commonly found in eggs and can cause headache, vomiting, fever, severe abdominal cramps and diarrhea.
Hard-boiled eggs, so that their yolks are hard, are obviously safe. Keepvitality.com recommends keeping eggs in your diet, especially Omega-3 eggs if available.
Eating meat, including poultry, will for the most part, not pose any problem, though there are some exceptions. Ensure all meat is cooked thoroughly to avoid food poisoning. Do not eat undercooked or raw meat or poultry. Meat that is undercooked can be a nesting ground for bacteria, particularly if not refrigerated, and can also play host to parasites like toxoplasma, salmonella, and E. coli. The toxoplasma parasite is not particularly common, but if present, could cause serious health problems to the fetus and in rare cases could cause stillbirth.
Also avoid cured deli meats which have been preserved in nitrates such as salami, pastrami, frankfurters, Parma and luncheon meat. They can also contain a risk of listeria.
Stay away from pâté and other liver products as they are high in vitamin A, your body needs some vitamin A during pregnancy as it is good for your immune system, however your body naturally stores vitamin A and an excessive build up can harm your baby.
Some recommend removing the fat from fresh meat before preparing it. Fat tends to concentrate and store chemicals animals ingest, including elements which may not be all that good for you.
Fresh fish is a great source of nutrients in a pregnancy diet, they are low in fat and high in protein, however you must not eat any raw shellfish such as oysters, mussels and sushi.
Some fish are excellent sources of Omega 3 healthy fats, but there are a select few that should be avoided at all costs: shark, grouper, swordfish, king mackerel, marlin, orange roughy, and tilefish contain the highest levels of mercury. Keep in mind that there are also types of fish that contain enough mercury to be considered dangerous. So, limit your intake of these fish to three 6-oz servings per month: halibut, croaker, bass saltwater, tuna (canned, white albacore) tuna (fresh bluefin, ahi), sea trout, bluefish, and lobster. Mercury poisoning can lead to severe neurological consequences and birth defects.
You can feel free to eat two 6-oz. servings a week of any the following to ensure that your get those healthy Omega 3’s your baby needs: salmon, scallops, king crab, calamari, flounder, haddock, sole, shrimp and tilapia.
It is a good idea to check the labels on ready-made supermarket meals to evade additives such as MSG (monosodium glutamate) which can cause stomach upsets and headaches.
Artificially sweetened drinks
While they haven’t been proven especially harmful, they usually aren’t very nutritious either. You’d be better off switching to fruit juices, just make certain if it is fresh fruit juice, it has been pasteurized. Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is one food additive that should be avoided, as is the case with certain food colorings – red 3, green 3, and blue, plus Olean, and saccharin.
When you find yourself feeling hungry between meals, it will be easier for you to feel tempted to get something quick and easy to eat. Now, you certainly don’t want that to happen because most fast foods are unhealthy for both you and your baby and also these kind of foods will make you gain unwanted weight quickly.
Fast foods and quick snacks contain all kind of chemicals such as trans-fats, high-fructose corn syrup and artificial sugar which are all linked to newborns abnormalities.
Even though there are some foods to avoid there are plenty of foods you are encouraged to eat to ensure both you and your baby get the right intake of vitamins, minerals, fats and proteins. Avocados, olive oil, nuts, muesli, lentils, and yoghurt are but a few you can feast upon for the benefit of a healthy pregnancy. Cook your meat well, avoid certain types of fish, cooking the good kinds well, hard boil your eggs, stick to hard cheeses, and eat all the veggies you want.
Here are some tips to help you with your shopping for food during pregnancy
- Fresh foods are usually much better for us than processed foods. You need to consume fresh foods, or the foods that are produced without hormones etc. So try to avoid the processed or frozen foods sections, and go more often to the fresh or produce sections in your grocery store.
- Try to avoid the foods that have lengthy expiration dates. Despite the fact that you may find it easier to store these types of foods for longer time and thus reduce the number of shopping trips, it is advisable that you avoid them because they contain a lot of preservatives to make them last for longer periods of time. Not to mention, that the nutritional value of these types of food is much less than that of the fresh ones.
- Read the labels. Even though the product packaging may sometimes say “natural”, it does not necessarily mean that it is not processed. Believe it or not, you may actually find a big number of ingredients on that food item if you look at the labels. Keep in mind that the less the ingredients the more suitable is the food for you.
During pregnancy it’s important to consider both mother and baby’s dietary needs, and there are some foods to be avoided to ensure your baby has a bright and healthy start in life. Consulting a doctor and making a diet plan is one of the most important things to do for a pregnant lady. And the doctor would at the same time advise the mom on all the food items she must absolutely avoid during the 9 months of pregnancy.