Pregnancy is a rather demanding period calling out for the need for an adjustable diet that meets the nutritional needs of the mother and child. While you can occasionally snack on some chocolate cake and give in to your cravings for potato crisps at midnight, there are some foods that you must avoid for the sake of your health and that of your unborn child. Depending on your usual routine, you might find this to be quite a setback but it is what mommies need to do to make sure your babies are healthy and safe.
Here are ten food items you must avoid if you are trying to get pregnant, are pregnant, or lactating:
#1 Raw or undercooked fish
Yes, this does mean bye-bye Sushi. Raw fish are susceptible to several infections (especially shellfish). Viruses such as salmonella, listeria, and norovirus are some of the most common infections transmitted by undercooked fish. The risk of some of these infections passing on to your baby is rather high which is why these fish must be avoided. Pregnancy is an immunocompromised state thus pregnant women are way more susceptible to serious infections.
#2 Raw Eggs
Raw eggs have a very high chance of being contaminated by the salmonella bacteria. These cause minor to moderate symptoms for the mother but sometimes it can get severe and result in premature birth or prenatal death. Lightly scrambled eggs, homemade ice cream, homemade mayonnaise, etc generally contain raw eggs.
Caffeine might have been a staple of your everyday routine right before pregnancy but it’s time to bid a year-long farewell to your daily cup of coffee. Other beverages that contain caffeine include tea, soft drinks, cocoa, or energy drinks. Caffeine intake isn’t completely prohibited but it shouldn’t exceed the very narrow limit of 200mg per day.
#4 Undercooked Meat
Think Salmonella, Listeria and Ecoli. It is not just pregnant women, everyone is better off without the consumption of high quantities of undercooked meat in their diets. Your baby might suffer dangerous neurological consequences or even stillbirth as a result of these infections.
#5 Unpasteurized Milk and Cheese
Again, home to the terrible bacteria that already have taken away steaks and sushi, unpasteurized milk and cheese made from such milk also must be avoided. Even juices that haven’t been pasteurized must be avoided. Pasteurization is effective against killing most bacteria, so watch out for the labels.
#6 High mercury fish
Polluted water has high contents of mercury and even traces of it aren’t safe for consumption. It can harm your nervous system, immune system as well as kidneys. Some fish that contain high amounts of mercury include shark, swordfish, tuna (sadly), orange roughy, and the likes of these.
#7 Organ Meats
Generally, organ meats are a great addition to your meal, providing you with all kinds of vitamins and minerals. However, animal-based vitamin A isn’t recommended during the early stages of your baby’s growth as it can lead to congenital malformations. Reduce consumption of such meats and avoid supplements at all costs.
#8 Junk Foods
All processed foods and rightfully named junk foods are infamous for being bad for your health but especially during pregnancy when you need to conserve your appetite for healthy foods and essential nutrients like folate and iron, it is best to avoid empty calories that lead to unnecessary weight gain and gestational diabetes.
Drinking alcohol during pregnancy is an absolute NO. It significantly increases the chances of miscarriage and stillbirth. The development of your baby’s brain is also hindered as a result of drinking alcohol. In a condition called fetal alcohol syndrome, your baby could suffer from heart and brain defects.
#10 Unwashed Vegetables and Fruits
Avoid raw salads from places you’re not entirely sure about. Make your salads after much cleansing but better yet is to boil the vegetables and skin the fruits. Even after your baby arrives, it must be a regular practice to wash and cleanse the produce thoroughly.