Pregnancy is one of a woman’s most critical and fragile times of life. Hence it is very important to eat a safe diet for pregnant women. Expecting mothers must pay careful attention to what they are consuming to make sure they avoid unhealthy foods and beverages. Those foods should only be occasionally eaten, while others should be fully avoided. There are 11 foods and drinks for pregnancy to be avoided or minimised.
1. High-Mercury Fish
Mercury is an element which is highly toxic. It does not have a known acceptable exposure level and is most commonly found in polluted water. It can be detrimental to the nervous system, digestive system, and reins in higher levels. This may also cause significant developmental disorders in children. Great marine fish can accumulate large concentrations of mercury as it is contained in polluted waters. Hence, it is recommended that pregnant women restrict their intake of high-mercury fish to no more than 1–2 servings per month.
High-mercury fish include:
- King mackerel
- Tuna (especially albacore tuna)
It’s important to remember, however, that not all fish are rich in mercury — simply those kinds.
It is very safe to consume low-mercury fish during pregnancy and these can be consumed up to 2 days a week. Fatty fish are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, essential to your baby.
2. Undercooked or Raw Fish
Raw fish, especially shellfish, can cause multiple infections. It may be infectious, bacterial, or parasitic, such as norovirus, Vibrio, salmonella, and listeria. Many of these infections involve only the mother, leaving her frail and dehydrated. Some diseases can be transmitted with serious, or even fatal, consequences to the unborn baby. Pregnant women are particularly vulnerable to infection with Listeria. In addition, pregnant women are up to 20 times more likely than the general population to become infected with Listeria. This bacteria can be found in soil and polluted water or plants. Throughout processing, raw fish may become infected through smoking or drying. Listeria may be transmitted through the placenta to an unborn infant, even though the mother displays no signs of illness. It can result in early childbirth, miscarriage, stillbirth and other severe health issues. So it is recommended that pregnant women avoid fresh fish and shellfish. This includes a great many dishes of sushi.
3. Undercooked, Raw and Processed Meat
Eating undercooked or raw meat raises the risk of multiple bacteria or parasites infection, like Toxoplasma, E. Listeria, bacteria, and salmonella.
Bacteria may endanger your unborn baby’s health, potentially leading to death or serious neurological disorders, including intellectual disability, blindness, and epilepsy. Although most bacteria are found on the surface of whole pieces of meat, some bacteria may persist within the muscle fibres. Some whole cuts of meat, such as tenderloins, sirloins, or ribeye from beef, lamb, and veal, may be sterile. This only happens, however, when the piece of meat is whole or uncut, and cooked full outside. Cut meat can never be consumed raw or undercooked, like meat patties, tacos, minced beef, pork and poultry. Hot dogs, meat for lunch and meat deli are also of concern. During processing or storage, these types of meat may become infected with various bacteria. Pregnant women do not consume processed meat items unless they are reheated until they are ready to steam.
4. Raw Eggs
Salmonella can contaminate raw eggs.
Symptoms of infection with Salmonella are usually felt by the mother only and include fever, nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps and diarrhoea (15Trusted Source, 16Trusted Source).
In rare cases, however, the infection may cause cramps in the uterus that lead to early birth or death.
Foods that commonly contain raw eggs include:
- Lightly scrambled eggs
- Poached eggs
- Hollandaise sauce
- Homemade mayonnaise
- Salad dressings
- Homemade ice cream
- Cake icings
Most commercial items containing raw eggs are made from pasteurized eggs and are healthy for consumption. But to make sure, you can always read the mark.
Pregnant women will also thoroughly cook eggs or use pasteurized eggs.
5. Organ Meat
Animal meat is an excellent source of many nutrients.
Those include magnesium, vitamin B12, vitamin A, and copper-all good for an expectant mother and her infant. However, it is not advised to eat too much animal-based vitamin A (preformed vitamin A) during pregnancy. This can cause toxicity to vitamin A as well as abnormally high levels of copper which can lead to birth defects and toxicity to the liver.
And women who are pregnant do not eat animal meat more than once a week.
Caffeine is the psychoactive drug most widely used in the world and occurs primarily in coffee, tea, soft drinks and cocoa. In general, pregnant women are recommended to limit their consumption of caffeine to less than 200 mg per day, or around 2–3 cups of coffee. Caffeine is consumed very quickly and easily passes into placenta and fetus. Since unborn babies and their placentas do not have the key enzyme required to metabolize caffeine, it may build up to high rates.
It has been shown that high intakes of caffeine during pregnancy restrict fetal growth and increase the risk of low birth weight at delivery.
Low birth weight — identified as less than 5 lbs, 8 oz (or 2.5 kg) — is associated with an increased risk of infant mortality and an increased risk of adult chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and cardiac disease.
7. Raw Sprouts
Raw sprouts can be infected with Salmonella (29Trusted Source), including alfalfa, clover, radish, and mung bean sprouts.
The humid climate seeds need to start sprouting is suitable for these types of bacteria, so it’s almost impossible to wash them off.
Of this reason, it is recommended that pregnant women avoid raw sprouts altogether. Sprouts, however, are healthy to eat after being cooked.
8. Unwashed Produce
Several bacteria and parasites can contaminate the surface of unwashed or unpeeled fruits and vegetables. These contain Toxoplasma, E. Coli, Salmonella and Listeria which can be obtained from the soil or by handling.
Contamination can occur during growth, harvesting, processing, storage, transportation or retailing at any time.
Both the mother and her unborn baby can suffer from bacteria. Toxoplasma is one very harmful parasite that can remain on fruits and vegetables.
Many people who get toxoplasmosis have no symptoms, while some can like they’re getting the flu for a month or longer.
Most infants that are diagnosed with Toxoplasma are without signs at birth and still in the womb. Symptoms such as blindness or intellectual disabilities may grow later in life, however.
What’s more, at birth, a small number of infected neonates have serious eye or brain damage.
It is very important when you are pregnant to reduce the risk of infection by rinsing, peeling or cooking fruits and vegetables thoroughly.
9. Unpasteurized Milk, Cheese and Fruit Juice
Raw milk and unpasteurized cheese may have a variety of harmful bacteria including Listeria, Salmonella, E. Coli Campylobacter and.
The same is true of unpasteurized milk, which is often susceptible to contamination by bacteria.
These diseases may all have life-threatening consequences for an unborn child.
The bacteria may occur naturally during collection or storage or may be caused by contamination. Pasteurization is the most efficient way to destroy harmful bacteria, without altering the product nutritional value. Pregnant women are advised to consume only pasteurized milk, cheese and fruit juice to reduce the risk of infection.
It is recommended that pregnant women stop consuming alcohol entirely, as it raises the risk of miscarriage and stillbirth. Just a tiny amount may have a negative effect on the growth of your child’s brain. It can also cause a syndrome of fetal alcohol, including facial deformities, heart defects and intellectual disability. Because no alcohol level has been proven to be healthy during pregnancy, it is recommended that this be avoided absolutely.
11. Processed Junk Foods
As a result, pregnant women need several vital nutrients, including protein, folate, and iron, to be increased.
And even though you’re eating basically for two, you don’t need twice the calories — about 350–500 extra calories a day should be enough during the second and third trimesters.
An ideal diet for pregnancy will consist mainly of whole foods, with plenty of nutrients to meet the mother’s needs and developing infant.
Which include an increased risk of gestational diabetes, as well as complications from pregnancy or birth. It may also raise the probability of raising a child with overweight (48Trusted Source, 49Trusted Source).
This causes long-term health issues, as children with overweight are much more likely to become adults with overweight