To quote Catherine Jones, “Whether your pregnancy was meticulously planned, medically coaxed, or happened by surprise, one thing is certain – your life will never be the same.”
Pregnancy is when you feel a tiny little person developing inside of you, and you can feel its faint, but an omnipresent heartbeat. Your biological cycle reverses itself, and hence you catch yourself napping during the daytime and wide awake at night. You can’t wait to see the person, and you feel like he or she’s already such a vital part of you.
So, in the midst of this magical process, we must not forget that your baby deserves proper nutrition. As your stomach ungratefully rejects every single thing you eat, your baby is put at risk of deficiency of various essential nutrients.
Foods To Avoid During Pregnancy List
Here’s a list of what to expect when you’re expecting, i.e. the top 10 foods you should definitely stay away from during pregnancy.
10. Cheeses, especially Feta, Brie, and Blue cheese
Irresistible as they are, Feta, Brie, and Blue cheeses are made from unpasteurized milk. Hence, they put the mother at a risk of Listeriosis, which may be a direct causative factor of severe foodborne illnesses, stillbirths, and even miscarriages. To avoid such a harmful and potentially fatal situation, always ensure the cheeses you consume are made of pasteurized milk. Some of such cheeses include cottage cheese and mozzarella, aka pizza cheese.
9. Big fish, including King mackerel and Swordfish
All mothers dream to see their unborn babies having well-developed brains, right? Well, in this case, the baby’s immature nervous system may be harmed by the ‘big fish’ consumed in any form. Big fish such as the King Mackerel, Shark, and Swordfish should be avoided by expectant mothers as it contains high levels of methyl mercury which may be potentially harmful. Stick to the safer kinds of seafood such as shrimp, catfish, anchovies, salmon and light tuna. Also, make sure that it is well within the prescribed 12 ounces of mercury intake.
8. Deli and other uncooked meats
Here’s another one that’s hard to resist-ham, turkey, chicken, salami, uncooked hotdogs, etc. should majorly be avoided. Just like big fish, these meats have been linked to Listeriosis, a foodborne illness that may prove to be fatal. If you really want to splurge in some non-vegetarian treats, opt for adequately cooked meats and make sure they are well-steamed.
7. Unpasteurized juices and raw, unwashed vegetables
This one’s more important for vegetarian mothers. Young (hopefully not very young) ladies, it is your duty to protect your fetus from the harmful chemicals and bacteria in vegetables, fruits, and juices. Always make sure that the juices are pasteurized and fruits and veggies washed properly, else it may result in various food-borne illnesses, as stated earlier. The veggies such as clover, alfalfa, beans, and radish need to be washed with extra care. Also note that raw sprouts may do more harm than good, as they may result in Salmonella outbreaks.
Most doctors advise expectant mothers to increase their intake of various vitamins, in order to support the growth of the fetus. However, this is one such source of vitamins that must be avoided. Liver, liver oil and related products contain very high levels of vitamin A. These may prove to be dangerous to the baby’s growth process and hence it is necessary to monitor their intake. Also, avoid high-dose vitamin supplements and consult your doctor to give you safe and effective ones.
5. Unpasteurized dairy products
Make it a thumb rule to avoid any dairy products made from unpasteurized milk. As discussed earlier, we have various kinds of cheese. Other than that, products like raw milk or cheese, (including that made from sheep’s milk or goat’s milk) must be avoided. Instead, opt for better alternatives like skimmed milk or toned milk.
4. Under-cooked or raw eggs
Eggs are considered a great source of proteins-with the condition that they are properly cooked. Raw eggs may contain harmful compounds such as Salmonella, which may cause poisoning. Hence, avoid dishes that involve any form of raw or partially cooked eggs. Eggnog, Caesar salad, Hollandaise Sauce, and various cake batters should be distanced from. Always ensure that your eggs are properly cooked till the yellow and white parts are firm.
In my opinion, resisting caffeine is the hardest. Caffeine is something that is such a major part of our lifestyles now, that we tend to forget how we would survive without our daily intake of caffeine. Caffeine can usually be consumed in various forms, be it coffee, tea, or even fizzy soft drinks. But it is not limited to these beverages alone. Scientists have had various differences in opinions about the amount of caffeine a pregnant lady can consume, but an average figure would vary from around 200-300 mg per day. In case you’re feeling adventurous, please keep in mind that the extra intake of caffeine can directly reach your placenta and harm the baby’s heart rate.
2. Alcohol and drugs
This one is the most important of them all, and surely a no-brainer. There is absolutely no scope for any sort of bargaining or compromise here, as there are no prescribed limits for alcohol consumption during pregnancy. Excessive, or even minimal intake of alcohol for that matter, can cause a plethora of problems-both for the expectant mother and the baby. Alcohol consumption is linked to low IQ, low birth weight, and other related birth defects. The mother also may suffer from low absorption of Folic Acid and lesser calcium in her bones. There is a specific disease known as Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, which may harm the baby in the later stages of his or her life.
1. Miscellaneous foods and food additives
The last on the list is a short compilation of miscellaneous foods that one must be careful about. Soft serve ice cream may contain Listeria, a very harmful type of bacteria. One must heed the intake of peanuts as well since they reduce the chances of peanut allergies and also may be potentially harmful to the unborn baby. Be careful of packaged foods, deli foods, and fast foods as it tends to contain Monosodium Glutamates (MSG) which cause stomach upsets and headaches. Also avoid food coloring, especially blue 1, blue 2, green 3, red 3 and yellow 6, and Saccharin.
In a conclusion, simply make a mental note of the fact that everything you eat must be toxic-free, well-cleansed and fully hygienic. Avoid excess of anything, especially alcohol and drugs. In case you feel the need to binge or indulge in something, do consult your doctor.
This is the most vital part of your life as a mother, and what you eat determines not just your body’s nutrition, but your baby’s as well. Hence, for two lives’ sake, please monitor your food habits well.
Enjoy your experience as an expectant mother!