Foods and Beverages to Avoid During A Pregnancy

Foods and Beverages to Avoid During A Pregnancy

Pregnancy is a beautiful phase of life in which the woman experiences how life originates. It is a delicate and sensitive time when her body is going through so many changes, all at the same time. That’s why she needs a better health here.

Health is majorly determined by the food intake. When in pregnancy, there is special emphasis on the food intake. It means you should watch out what are you eating. This is the time when you should leave unhealthy foods and drinks.

Most of the natural foods are healthy, when we talk about natural food, it never sounds like a harmful thing. But when you are pregnant, there are certain things, which can disturb yours and your baby’s health.

Some of these foods and drinks can rarely be eaten, but some should be completely avoided. Here is a list of foods and beverages that you should not take during pregnancy.

Fish with high Mercury content 

High mercury fish is not a specific name for a fish. Instead, it represents some fish species which have high mercury content in them. Mercury is a very toxic element, and it is not safe for human consumption.

Usually, it is related to the soil and water pollution. We can see how badly it affects the natural life when a part of the environment as a pollutant. When it is high in anything that you consume, it affects the immune system.

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One of the most common health issues due to high mercury content is a renal failure and other kidney problems. The environmental mercury also makes its way to rivers and oceans from where the fish is extracted.

In this way, it becomes a part of the body of these fish, which live in polluted water. Pregnant women should watch their mercury content. In case you want to eat it anyways, it should not be more than twice in one month.

In case you are wondering which fish has high mercury element in it, shark, king mackerel, swordfish, and tuna are common fish types that are usually high in mercury.

It doesn’t apply to all fish; there are only a few types, which you can’t eat in pregnancy. You can surely eat low mercury fish, which has a high amount of omega three fatty acids. It makes the pregnancy healthy and safe.

Raw/undercooked meat delicacies

There are certain recipes which serve raw or undercooked foods. For example, shellfish is one thing, which is eaten raw, and also it is capable of transmitting some infections due to the presence of rich bacterial colonies and parasites in it.

Eating raw or undercooked fish affects pregnant and healthy women the same way. For a pregnant woman, the risk is even higher because it affects both the mother and the baby. Some infections may be passed on to the unborn baby and cause extremely severe consequences.

All these microbes are not a regular part of the food. They can come from the environment or sometimes mishandle of the food items. These bacterial and parasitic infections affect pregnant women more than non-pregnant ladies.

One of such infections is listeria infection. It can be transmitted to the unborn baby through the placenta of the mother. It may not show any signs of the disease but lead to severe complications like premature birth, miscarriage or even stillbirth. So pregnant women should not eat any raw or uncooked meat.

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 Raw eggs or half cooked eggs

Eggs are a must have for breakfast, but the situation becomes problematic when you eat an infected egg during pregnancy. There are higher chances of raw or uncooked eggs to be affected by Salmonella, a bacterial strain.

It does show symptoms in the mother that includes vomiting, nausea, abdominal cramps, pain, and diarrhea. In extreme conditions, the infection reaches to the uterus and causes problems like miscarriage, premature delivery or stillbirth.

Egg recipes that you should avoid during pregnancy are as follows.

  • Half fried eggs
  • Ligh scrambled eggs
  • Poached eggs
  • Salad dressings made of egg
  • Hollandaise sauce
  • Ice cream made in home
  • Homemade mayonnaise
  • Cake/cupcake toppings and icings

However, you can use the products, which have pasteurized eggs in it. Pasteurized eggs are safe to use as they have the least risk of causing any disease. Read the label carefully before trying any food that has eggs in it.

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Excessive caffeine

Caffeine is a common name now, which is a legal psychoactive compound. It is mainly present in coffee, tea, and various other soft drinks. Caffeine is a potent substance. Therefore, pregnant women need special care.

It’s not that you cannot take caffeine at all. It’s just that you have to limit your caffeine levels to a certain level. The recommended dose of caffeine intake for pregnant women is no more than 200mg per day. That roughly makes 2-3 cups of coffee or tea.

Caffeine has a highly absorbing power. It reaches to the stomach and makes its way to the baby through the placenta. When in pregnancy, there is an overdosing of caffeine; the fetus becomes unable to metabolize it.

It hinders the growth of the fetus, and the pregnancy is more likely to be terminated. Also, it makes a harm of having low weight at the time of birth. It is weight below 2.5 kg. It increases the risk of infant death.

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Raw or undercooked sprouts

There are many varieties of sprouts, which you think are healthy for you. They are healthy, but when pregnant, things become different. Certain sprouts in their raw or undercooked form such as alfalfa, radish, mung bean sprouts and much more have a high risk of Salmonella contamination.

In case you are wondering that washing removes the bacteria, let us tell you that these infectious strains hide out in seeds, which are nearly impossible to wash. That’s why it is advised to the pregnant women, not to eat raw sprouts.

Unwashed fruits and vegetables

One fundamental mistake that many of us do is to use unwashed and unclean fruits and vegetables. The most common reason to hear regarding this question is that they are already pre-packed when you bought them from the supermarket. There is no need to wash them.

Wrong. You certainly need to wash fruits and vegetables even when you have bought them from a fancy superstore. It is for your good. It is essential to adopt this habit especially when you are pregnant.

Pregnancy is a sensitive phase of life in which the body is undergoing a developmental stage. Therefore it is at a high risk of infections and diseases, and many of them affect both the mother and the unborn baby.

Following unhealthy lifestyle habits like eating unwashed fruits and vegetables may lead you to get infected with many microbial diseases, which become a problem. These include Salmonella, E-coli, Listeria, and Toxoplasma.

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Alcohol

Alcohol is a thing, which is strictly prohibited to use during pregnancy. It increases the risk of complications which lead to miscarriage, stillbirth or after birth complexities.

No minimum is allowed during pregnancy. You can just not take any type and quantity of alcohol. It directly affects the growth of the baby and most of the times end with brain’s developmental problems.

In extreme cases, it can also cause fetal alcohol syndrome, which causes deformities of the body, heart problems, and mental retardation. So there is no safe level of alcohol during pregnancy. Just avoid it for once and all.

Make sure that you talk to your doctor about your food choices. It is better to get a food chart of what you should eat and what you can’t eat. Keep a record of your eateries. Eat beneficially and experience a healthy pregnancy.

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The author is a Medical Microbiologist and a healthcare writer. She is a post-graduate of Medical Microbiology and Immunology. She covers all content on health and wellness including weight loss, nutrition, and general health.

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