Although my first pregnancy remains a wonderful and memorable experience for me even after my three kids, one thing that disturbed me a lot at the start of that beautiful journey to hold Lily in my hands is that I was told to limit my coffee intake. As I was a super coffee addict, it was a hard time for me, however, the next two pregnancies are managed well as I was more mentally prepared.
If you are pregnant, you must also be curious about what you can eat during pregnancy and what you can’t, like me, if you are a coffee addict or a big sushi or steak fan, I warn you on a lighter note that there will be little disappointment for you but thankfully you still have a lot of good options to eat. I have researched a lot about why and what we need to avoid while being pregnant and will share with you my research-based findings. So here you go.
Here are mentioned some foods you should be careful not to eat while pregnant.
HIGH MERCURY FISH:
Mercury is highly toxic which can affect the immune system, nervous system, and kidneys and can cause developmental problems in babies. It is best to avoid high mercury fish such as shark, king mackerel, swordfish, tuna, orange roughy, tilefish, and marlin while pregnant or breastfeeding. However, you must have low mercury fish such as cod, anchovies, flounder, salmon, trout, tilapia, and haddock to stay healthy and have the healthy development of your baby.
RAW OR UNDERCOOKED FISH:
Raw fish such as shellfish can cause numerous viral, parasitic, or bacterial infections such as Listeria that can not only affect you by causing weakness or dehydration but can also pass on to your baby and cause serious consequences of miscarriage, premature delivery, and stillbirth.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, pregnant women are 10 times more likely to get Listeria infections than other people.
RAW, UNDERCOOKED, AND PROCESSED MEAT:
It is somewhat similar to raw fish as raw or undercooked meat can also increase your infection risk such as Listeria, Salmonella, E.coli, and Toxoplasma that can threaten the health of your birth causing stillbirth, severe neurological illnesses, epilepsy, blindness, and intellectual disability.
Some whole cuts from beef may be safe if they are completely cooked from the outside but it is still better to avoid undercooked or raw meats.
Processed meat patties or minced meat should never be consumed raw or undercooked. Similarly, lunch meat, hot dogs, and deli meat must only be consumed by you if it has been reheated to steaming hot.
RAW OR UNDERCOOKED EGGS:
Raw eggs also increase your infection as they can be contaminated with Salmonella which can cause vomiting, nausea, stomach cramps, fever, diarrhea, and even cramps in the uterus that can cause premature birth or stillbirth.
Some foods that can have raw or undercooked eggs include poached eggs, lightly scrambled eggs, homemade mayonnaise, hollandaise sauce, homemade ice cream, homemade salad dressings, and homemade cake icings. Commercially these products mostly use pasteurized eggs and are that's why safe to consume. Read the label and be sure.
While pregnant, use pasteurized eggs or always cook the eggs thoroughly.
Although it is a good source of Vitamin A, selenium, zinc, iron, vitamin B12, and copper that are good for your baby and you but too much animal-based vitamin A is not recommended during pregnancy as it can cause congenital malformations and miscarriage during the first trimester. It is best to keep your organ meat consumption to just a few ounces once every week.
Here comes my love, yes..aahhhh…. according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists you must limit your caffeine intake to no more than 200mg per day (it is still 2 to 3 cups of coffee, but better to avoid) as caffeine is something that absorbs quickly and passes easily through the placenta to your baby but can't be metabolized there because your baby doesn't have the enzyme needed for its metabolism and it results in high levels of caffeine buildup that can restrict fetal growth and increase low birth weight risk at delivery. Low birth weight can cause an increased risk of infant death and risk of chronic diseases in adulthood.
Raw sprouts such as clover, alfalfa, radish, and mung bean can be contaminated with Salmonella as the humid environment required for their growth is also ideal for this bacterial growth and it can’t be washed off so it is required from you to avoid raw sprouts altogether, however according to FDA, you can still enjoy cooked ones as they are safe.
Unwashed produce can be contaminated with several bacteria and parasites including Toxoplasma. Toxoplasma doesn’t generally cause any symptoms in the baby at the birth time but can cause intellectual disabilities or blindness later on in life. In some cases, it can cause serious brain damage or eye damage in your unborn baby in the womb. Wash the produce thoroughly with water, peel, and cook to avoid the risk of infection.
UNPASTEURIZED MILK, CHEESE, OR FRUIT JUICE:
These unpasteurized food items can contain several harmful bacteria including E.coli, Campylobacter, Listeria, and Salmonella which can cause infections that can have life-threatening consequences for your unborn baby. During collection, handling, or storage, these products can be contaminated so it is best to have pasteurized cheese, milk, and fruit juice. Fresh fruit juices are best if it is sure that they are not contaminated.
This is something to be avoided completely as it increases the risk of stillbirth and miscarriage and even a small amount negatively impacts your baby's brain development so no level is safe. It can cause fetal alcohol syndrome which includes heart defects, facial deformities, and intellectual disability.
PROCESSED JUNK FOODS:
They are high calorie but nutrient-less and pregnancy is the time to eat healthy and nutritious foods with good content of folate, proteins, iron, and choline to help both you and your baby, so nutrient-less processed foods with added fats and sugars don't work well and can increase risk of gestational diabetes, pregnancy, and birth complications. Whole foods with healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, fiber, and protein work well during this time.
If you are pregnant, it is important to avoid foods and drinks that can put your or your baby’s health at risk. Although there are plenty of safe options to eat during pregnancy, some such as high-mercury fish, raw or undercooked fish or meat, raw eggs, raw sprouts, unpasteurized dairy or fruit juice, unwashed produce, and alcohol should be avoided while caffeine and processed junk foods should be limited for a healthy pregnancy.