8 Foods to Avoid During Pregnancy – A Must Read For Pregnant Women
As stated in our previous article which was written on Best Foods to Eat During Pregnancy. It’s very important as a pregnant woman to eat a healthy diet and also exercise yourself to keep fit and healthy.
I know you are thinking of what exercises can be good for a pregnant woman like you. But, don’t worry; we have compiled such an article for you. Go through the article here Best Exercises for Every Pregnant Woman.
The article will help you a lot to know the best exercises to do and not to do when you are on a particular month during your pregnancy period.
Pregnancy is one of the most vital and sensitive periods in a woman’s life. Expecting mothers have to pay close attention to what they eat and make sure to avoid harmful foods and beverages.
Certain foods should only be consumed rarely, while others should be avoided completely.
Foods to Avoid During Pregnancy
1. Organ Meat
Organ meat is a great source of several nutrients. These include iron, vitamin B12, vitamin A, and copper, all of which are good for an expectant mother and her child.
However, eating too much animal-based vitamin A (preformed vitamin A) is not recommended during pregnancy.
It may cause vitamin A toxicity, as well as abnormally high copper levels, which can result in birth defects and liver toxicity. Therefore, pregnant women should not eat organ meat more than once a week.
2. Undercooked or Raw Fish
Raw fish, especially shellfish, can cause several infections. These can be viral, bacterial or parasitic, such as norovirus, Vibrio, Salmonella, and Listeria. Some of these infections only affect the mother, leaving her dehydrated and weak.
Other infections may be passed on to the unborn baby with serious, or even fatal, consequences. Pregnant women are especially susceptible to Listeria infections.
In fact, pregnant women are up to 20 times more likely to get infected by Listeria than the general population.
These bacteria can be found in soil and contaminated water or plants. Raw fish can become infected during processing, including smoking or drying.
Listeria can be passed to an unborn baby through the placenta, even if the mother is not showing any signs of illness.
This can lead to premature delivery, miscarriage, stillbirth, and other serious health problems. Pregnant women are therefore advised to avoid raw fish and shellfish. This includes many sushi dishes.
3. Raw Eggs
Raw eggs can be contaminated with Salmonella. Symptoms of Salmonella infections are usually experienced only by the mother and include fever, nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps and diarrhea.
However, in rare cases, the infection may cause cramps in the uterus, leading to premature birth or stillbirth. 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 products that contain raw eggs are made with pasteurized eggs and are safe to consume. However, you should always read the label to make sure. Pregnant women should always cook eggs thoroughly or use pasteurized eggs.
Caffeine is the most commonly used psychoactive substance in the world and mainly found in coffee, tea, soft drinks, and cocoa.
Pregnant women are generally advised to limit their caffeine intake to less than 200 mg per day, or about 2–3 cups of coffee. Caffeine is absorbed very quickly and passes easily into the placenta and fetus.
Because unborn babies and their placentas don’t have the main enzyme needed to metabolize caffeine, high levels can build up.
High caffeine intake during pregnancy has been shown to restrict fetal growth and increase the risk of low birth weight at delivery.
Low birth weight defined as less than 5 lbs, 8 oz (or 2.5 kg) is associated with an increased risk of infant death and a higher risk of chronic diseases in adulthood, such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
5. High-Mercury Fish
Mercury is a highly toxic element. It has no known safe level of exposure and is most commonly found in polluted water. In higher amounts, it can be toxic to your nervous system, immune system, and kidneys.
It may also cause serious developmental problems in children. Since it’s found in polluted seas, large marine fish can accumulate high amounts of mercury.
Therefore, pregnant women are advised to limit their consumption of high-mercury fish to no more than 1–2 servings per month. High-mercury fish include:
- King mackerel
- Tuna (especially albacore tuna)
However, it’s important to note that not all fish are high in mercury just certain types. Consuming low-mercury fish during pregnancy is very healthy, and these fish can be eaten up to 2 times per week. Fatty fish is high in omega-3 fatty acids, which are important for your baby.
Pregnant women are advised to completely avoid drinking alcohol, as it increases the risk of miscarriage and stillbirth. Even a small amount can negatively impact your baby’s brain development.
It can also cause fetal alcohol syndrome, which involves facial deformities, heart defects, and intellectual disability. Since no level of alcohol has been proven to be safe during pregnancy, it’s recommended to avoid it altogether.
7. Processed Junk Foods
Pregnancy is a time of rapid growth. As a result, pregnant women need increased amounts of many essential nutrients, including protein, folate, and iron.
Yet even though you’re essentially eating for two, you don’t need twice the calories about 350–500 extra calories per day during the second and third trimesters should be enough.
An optimal pregnancy diet should mainly consist of whole foods, with plenty of nutrients to fulfill the needs of the mother and growing child.
Processed junk food is generally low in nutrients and high in calories, sugar, and added fats. What’s more, added sugar has been linked to a dramatically increased risk of developing several diseases, including type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
While some weight gain is necessary during pregnancy, excess weight gain has been linked to many complications and diseases. These include an increased risk of gestational diabetes, as well as pregnancy or birth complications.
It can also increase your risk of having an overweight child. This causes long-term health issues since overweight children are much more likely to become overweight adults.
8. Unwashed Produce
The surface of unwashed or unpeeled fruits and vegetables may be contaminated with several bacteria and parasites. These include Toxoplasma, E. coli, Salmonella and Listeria, which can be acquired from the soil or through handling.
Contamination can occur at any time during production, harvest, processing, storage, transportation or retail.
Bacteria can harm both the mother and her unborn baby. One very dangerous parasite that may linger on fruits and vegetables is called Toxoplasma.
The majority of people who get Toxoplasmosis have no symptoms, while others may feel like they have the flu for a month or more.
Most infants who are infected with Toxoplasma while still in the womb have no symptoms at birth. However, symptoms such as blindness or intellectual disabilities may develop later in life.
What’s more, a small percentage of infected newborns have serious eye or brain damage at birth.
While you’re pregnant, it’s very important to minimize the risk of infection by thoroughly rinsing, peeling or cooking fruits and vegetables.