Every expectant mother would like to do everything they can to make sure their baby is as healthy as possible. And every will wisher would also like to help ensure this. So for everyone who is pregnant, and everyone who has friends or family who are expecting, we’ve put together a checklist of food it is best to avoid during pregnancy.
There are two main reasons for avoiding certain foods while pregnant. The first reason is that certain foods such as caffeine and alcohol can cross the placenta and enter the baby’s bloodstream. Your normal level of caffeine intake can be too much for the tiny body of the baby and lead to negative effects. Similarly, you also have to be careful about mercury levels in the fish you eat. Some varieties of fish (usually the larger ones) contain very high levels of mercury. Too much mercury can impair the development of the baby’s nervous system.
The other reason for avoiding foods is the risk of infection by food-borne bacteria or virus. Food poisoning or a food-borne illness is exhausting, uncomfortable and annoying at best. But during pregnancy, they pose additional risks. They can divert your body’s resources away from nourishing the baby and into fighting the infection. And if you are sick, you might not be able to eat all the nutritious food you are supposed to. In some rare cases, the baby might even get infected, leading to serious complications.
Raw foods should be completely avoided. Raw or partially cooked eggs, unpasteurized milk, uncooked fruits and vegetables, undercooked meat, etc are all dangerous. Raw fish, such as sushi and sashimi, is probably the riskiest. In avoiding these raw foods, you also have to be careful about uncooked foods made from these ingredients. Mayonnaise, eggnog, raw cookie dough, ice-cream, mousse, etc. may all contain raw eggs. Similarly, consume dairy products like yogurt, ice-cream and cheeses, especially soft cheeses, only if they are made of pasteurized milk.
You must also be careful about processed deli meats such as hotdogs, luncheon meats, smoked fish, etc. Improper storage and handling can lead to bacterial growth, so either avoid them completely or cook or heat them fully just before eating.
While the idea of all the dangers of food can be quite scary, following simple methods of food safety and hygiene and adhering to this checklist of food to avoid can help you have a happy and healthy pregnancy.