Pregnancy is a beautiful phase in a woman’s life. It is not only a time of anticipation of an addition to the family, but it is also a time when she faces a number of changes- in her body, emotions, attitude and most importantly, her priorities. Associated with this phase are food cravings that many women go through. However, there are some foods that you should avoid for the sake of your health and your baby’s wellbeing. Despite all the advice you get from friends and family, about what you should and shouldn’t eat, it’s best to take the advice of an expert.
Avoid these foods to stay in the best of health during your pregnancy!
- Raw or Undercooked Eggs:
Raw, undercooked or runny eggs are a complete no-no if you are pregnant. Raw eggs contain a bacteria called Salmonella, which can cause vomiting and diarrhoea and make you really ill. Desserts like chocolate or strawberry mousse and mayonnaise contain raw eggs and should be avoided.
- Certain Seafood:
Seafood is a great source of the protein, iron and zinc that are needed by your growing baby. Omega-3 fatty acids in many fish, includes DHA which is really good for your baby’s brain development. But fish also contains mercury and eating too much of it can cause the mercury levels to build up in your blood. This can be harmful for your baby’s brain and nervous system.
- The fish that you can have during pregnancy are salmon, herring, trout, canned light tuna, shrimp and catfish. Limit it to up to 2 servings a week. Avoid shark, swordfish or king mackerel.
- Raw Shellfish– Having undercooked or raw fish and shellfish like mussels, oysters, sushi or clams can cause serious illnesses. Cooking them well can prevent infections.
Cook sea food well to an internal temperature of 145o F so that the fish separates into flakes and shrimp and lobster appear opaque. Shell fish must be cooked till their shells open.
- Undercooked Meat:
Having your steak rare is not a good idea, as undercooked meats could be contaminated with salmonella or toxoplasmosis, both of which are dangerous for your baby and you.
- Unpasteurized Dairy Products:
Milk is a good source of calcium as well as providing proteins and minerals. But, be careful of unpasteurized milk or products as it puts you at risk of severe food poisoning. Stay away from certain soft cheeses like brie, feta, camembert, blue cheese and some Mexican style cheeses.
- Unwashed fruits and vegetables:
Bacteria can be found on the outer peel. Also try to remove any damaged or bruised areas – bacteria can thrive in these places. Toxoplasma, a parasite can be found on unwashed fruits and vegetables and can be particularly harmful for you and your unborn baby. In addition the peels may have harmful pesticides that can affect a developing fetus. Wash all fruits and vegetables thoroughly before peeling or cooking them.
- Excessive Caffeine-Related Products:
Anything in excess is never good for the body, especially if you are pregnant. Similarly, excessive caffeine-related products are linked to an increased risk of miscarriage. Apart from tea, coffee and chocolate, caffeine is found in various cola drinks and certain OTC cold and flu medicines. Speak to your doctor who will recommend a limited amount of caffeine.
While you were not pregnant, an occasional glass of wine may have been fine but there is no safe amount of alcohol for your baby! Drinking anything that contains alcohol while you’re pregnant increases the risk of fetal alcohol syndrome, so it’s probably a good idea to abstain completely.
Speak to your Obstetrician once you find out you are pregnant to get the best advice on safe foods. Following the right diet during pregnancy as well as having a healthy lifestyle is vital for a safe pregnancy.