Foods to Avoid during Pregnancy

Foods to Avoid during Pregnancy

The hormonal surge leads to cravings during pregnancy. But a mom-to-be cannot indulge in everything as she must have a balanced diet. While most foods are safe to include in a pregnant woman’s menu, there are many that should not be taken. We will help you to know about the foods which should be avoided during pregnancy.

Avoiding certain foods will ensure that mom and her baby are safe and healthy. Here are 10 such foods that are an absolute no! Take a look.

  1.  Mercury-containing Fish: Fish such as shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish have high levels of mercury and must be shunned from the diet of a pregnant woman. Mercury, an element found in oceans, streams, and lakes, converts into methylmercury in the human body. It is a neurotoxin and is linked to brain damage and developmental delays in the babies. Mom-to-be’s can choose fish such as catfish, salmon, cod, and canned light tuna, which have low mercury levels.
  2. Raw and Uncooked Eggs: A pregnant woman should abstain from eating raw, undercooked, or soft-boiled eggs as they contain salmonella bacteria which can cause food poisoning. It can lead to abdominal pain, diarrhoea, severe vomiting, headache, and high temperature. All these symptoms are unlikely to harm the baby, but mother’s immune system will become weaker, which may impact the baby’s development.
  3. Unpasteurized milk: Unpasteurized milk has been known to cause foodborne illnesses such as Listeriosis. Listeriosis is a dangerous infection that can lead to severe illness in babies, miscarriage and even stillbirth.
  4. Raw Sprouts: Do not eat raw sprouts including alfalfa, mung bean, kala chana, broccoli, sunflower, onion, soybean, and cowpea sprouts. They are highly prone to salmonella, listeria, and E.coli bacteria. As already mentioned, listeriosis could lead to premature birth, miscarriage, stillbirth, and infections in newborns. Salmonella and E.coli can lead to severe illnesses.
  5. Unpasteurized Juices: Unpasteurized fruit and vegetable juices, including packaged ones, may carry harmful E.coli and salmonella bacteria. Even a glass of freshly made juice may also pose a risk if the fruits or vegetables are not washed well.
  6. Excessive Caffeine: Intake of higher amounts of caffeine could increase the chances of miscarriage and low birth weight babies. A pregnant woman should limit her intake to 200mg of caffeine per day. Caffeine is found in tea, coffee, chocolate, and many energy drinks. Some research studies reveal that excessive caffeine is also associated with premature birth and withdrawal symptoms in infants.
  7. Excess of Multivitamins: During pregnancy, doses of vitamins and minerals (like iron, folic acid, calcium etc.) is to be increased. But be careful about the recommended doses and do not overdo it. Excess fat-soluble vitamins can be stored in your body fat and liver, leading to harmful effects on the mother and the fetus. Likewise, water-soluble vitamins taken in excess can show irritating effects on the digestive system.

A pregnant woman will have a suppressed immune system. Therefore, due to this both the mother-to-be and the baby are at risk of contracting bacteria, viruses, and parasites causing foodborne illnesses.

As mentioned above, these maternal foodborne illnesses such as listeriosis etc can lead to miscarriage, stillbirth, premature labour, and several health issues in newborns. So, be careful in choosing and preparing foods to minimize the health risks.

About the Author

Leave a Reply