What you eat matters a lot when you are expecting because it directly impacts the health of your baby. You want to make sure you are eating sufficient nutrients, vitamins and minerals so that your baby grows and develops in a healthy manner. You should eat fruits and vegetables, lean meats, whole grains, legumes and low-fat dairy products. At the same time, you must be fully aware of the foods you should not eat during pregnancy; after all not all of them are safe. We’ve compiled a list of the foods to avoid during pregnancy so as to help you make healthy food choices.
Seafood – Swordfish, Shark, Tilefish and King Mackerel
This might not have been one of the foods you expected to see on your list of pregnancy foods to avoid as they are supposed to be rich sources of Omega 3 fatty acids and protein. However, there are a few fish varieties (Swordfish, Shark, Tilefish and King Mackerel) that have extremely high concentrations of mercury. Mercury impairs brain development and could result in fetal deformities. If you love fish, you can eat shrimp, salmon, Pollock, catfish and trout. You should eat not more than 12 ounces per day. Also avoid canned fish.
Raw and Undercooked Food
Cooking destroys bacteria and viruses in foods be it vegetables, seafood and meats. This increases the chances of food borne illnesses and infections. You should avoid raw fish (scallops, oysters, clams and sushi), hot dogs and luncheon meats (if they have not been cooked well), meat spreads and pates, eggnog, raw batters and raw sprouts. The bacteria Listeria monocytogenes causes Listeriosis which could result in miscarriage and still birth.
Unpasteurized foods such as milk and juices are an absolute no-no. Soft cheese such as Feta, Blue Cheese and Brie are mostly made using unpasteurized milk and hence should be avoided (use if they are labeled pasteurized). Unpasteurized juices could be contaminated with Escherichia Coli, bacteria infamous for intestinal infections.
Caffeine is present in a variety of drinks namely tea, coffee, energy beverages and carbonated drinks in varying amounts. Caffeine in excess is harmful as it impacts the fetal heart rate increasing the chances of low birth weight, stillbirth and miscarriage. You should have not more than 200 milligrams of caffeine per day.
Herbal teas can be quite refreshing and energizing. However, their safety as far as pregnancy is concerned has not yet been asserted. They might contain herbs that act as stimulants or promote weight loss which are not healthy when carrying. A few might have a direct impact on the developing fetus. Hence, they are best avoided. If you do drink a lot of herbal tea throughout your day, when you get pregnant you should speak to your doctor about this habit. He will be able to recommend safer alternatives.
Alcohol dehydrates the body. It also deprives the cells of oxygen and nutrients thereby inhibiting proper fetal development. Alcohol consumption not only affects physical growth in the form of facial deformities and heart defects, but also mental retardation. You don’t want to take the risk with your baby, so stop it.