Foods to be Cautious of During Pregnancy
Pregnancy is a wonderful time! Your skin is glowing, your hair looks luscious, a nice round belly, fat ankles and all. It is simply a beautiful time. During this time, eating a healthy meal is important for your baby’s growth and development, as well as to keep you healthy and energetic. Fruits, vegetables, and grains are some of the healthy options every expecting mother should eat, but there are also some foods that you will need to avoid. Here is a list of seven unusual foods to avoid during pregnancy and why.
Raw Undercooked Animal Products
Fish is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, and a healthy treat whether one is pregnant or not. However, raw fish such as sushi, shellfish, swordfish, shark, and marlin are a no-go zone as they could you and your baby. Raw seafood contains high levels of mercury which is detrimental to your baby’s brain development. It may also damage your baby’s nervous system. Raw and undercooked fish contain harmful bacteria such as salmonella, Vibrio, and listeria which may leave you dehydrated and weak or cause other infections.
To make sure that you get the right amount of omega-3, eat safer types of fish such as tilapia, salmon, and shrimp. Consult with your doctor about the recommended amount of mercury to consume during this exciting time and follow the guidelines they set for you.
Raw eggs and undercooked meat may also foster bacteria making it necessary to avoid them. Deli meat, soft cheeses, and ice-creams, also have the potential to foster salmonella and listeria bacteria. Although exposure is not as much as in other products named here, it is best to avoid these expecting. Homemade ice-cream and cheese are especially high in exposure due to their use of raw milk.
Store bought salads and sandwiches
Salads are delicious and healthy especially for expecting mums. Green leafy vegetables come loaded with vitamins and minerals like folic acids that are essential for baby development and growth. However, some harmful bacteria love to hide in vegetables and may cause you and your baby harm.
Store bought salads are a great meal on the go. When running late during lunch or when you need a quick, healthy snack, they come in handy. Now that you are pregnant, it would be best to avoid this snack as it may harbor more harm than health. During packaging, sneaky bacteria may find their way into your salad and cause you harm. If you know you will be having a busy day, it is best to wake up a little early and prepare your sandwich before you head out. This way you are sure your healthy treat is clean and free of bacteria.
A dose of vitamin A is great for your eyesight and that of your unborn child. Liver and the majority of liver products contain high levels of vitamin A which is dangerous for your unborn baby especially during the first trimester of pregnancy. Consult your doctor to learn the amount of vitamin A you need for the healthy development of your baby.
Beta-carotene is a good replacement for liver and liver products because it naturally converts to vitamin A. Whole grains, fruits, and vegetable contains beta-carotene so do not worry about having to go out of your way to get a dose of the vitamin. A well-balanced diet with little or no processed foods will do that effectively for you and keep your baby developing well and healthy.
Animal products such as eggs and milk also contain retinol, an essential form of vitamin A that is great for you during pregnancy. Milk and eggs are a great alternative from the liver which contains retinol is high amounts and may end up harming your baby. If you have too much retinol in your diet, your baby may end up with congenital disabilities. Just a small portion of the liver may contain three times the recommended amount of vitamin A. You should, however, avoid substituting liver with a daily dose of cod liver oil as it also comes stocked with tons of retinol. Although it comes packed with other great vitamins and minerals, it is best to use after your baby arrives.
Unpasteurized Milk and Other Milk Products
Milk is a great source of essential proteins and minerals that are great for you and your growing baby. Raw goat milk and sheep milk contain harmful bacteria that may harm your unborn hero. Bacterias such as listeria, campylobacteria, E.coli, and salmonella are the most common and most harmful. The bacterial may naturally occur in the milk or find its way into the milk during collection and storage. Pasteurization is the most effective way to kill these germs and maintain all the benefits that come with drinking milk.
Cow milk contains structural proteins which can activate the nutrient-sensitive protein. This protein is responsible for cell growth and cell formation as well as metabolism programming. Its overstimulation may cause health problem such as obesity. High milk intake during pregnancy may cause increased fetus growth and birth weight which can cause complications during birth.
It is, therefore, more beneficial to take cow milk in moderation during pregnancy. You can get tons of nutrients available in milk from other healthy treats like leafy vegetables and yummy fruits. Eggs, bananas and other healthy foods are packed with calcium and are a great substitute for milk.
Herbal Teas, Alcohol, and Caffeine
Herbal teas are a healthy alternative to tea and coffee. They give us great benefits like smooth skin, improved metabolism among other benefits. FDA, Food and Drug Administration does not regulate herbs as they do over the counter medication and prescription. For example, some herbs like goldenseal have been known to cause uterine contractions. Because of their low regulation, it would be safer not to take herbal teas and supplements during pregnancy.
A glass of wine is a great way to share fun moments with friends over a meal at the dinner table. All types of alcohol will pass through the placenta so when you drink your baby drinks too. Unlike you, your baby breaks down alcohol slower so they may end up with a higher percentage of alcohol. Alcohol increases your odds of having a miscarriage, having a baby with slow speech development, and a child with a low concentration span. There is no known safe level of alcohol intake during pregnancy. Whether you take a beer a day or a glass of wine a week or even a month, your baby may develop alcohol-related complications. It is better to avoid alcohol altogether if you are pregnant or if you are planning to get pregnant.
A great cup of coffee in the morning will give you the energy boost you need to kickstart your day. If you are a coffee lover, however, it is now time to take a back seat and avoid taking it for the next nine months. You may not be aware of this, but just like alcohol, your baby takes more time than you do to break down caffeine. This means that they are exposed to the effects of caffeine for longer and may cause stillbirths, fetus death, and miscarriage. Caffeine also reduces absorption of iron and increases your blood pressure. Caffeine helps eliminate fluids from your body which results in loss of water and calcium. Mothers who consume more than 300 mg of caffeine a day are likely to have babies with low birthweight.
Foods with Trans fats
Trans fats are everywhere, and they are very dangerous while pregnant. Foods with trans fats have been known to not only increase body weight during pregnancy but also increase harmful cholesterol while lowering good cholesterol. Foods such are French fries are deep fried using oils that are partially hydrogenated which produce trans fats. Although restaurants have tried to use better oils, it is better to avoid deep fried food. We understand that cravings can hit you every once in a while, and there is nothing wrong in indulging as long as it does not become an everyday occurrence.
Be sure to check the labels on your favorite soft spreads to make sure that they do not contain trans fats. Your favorite biscuits and pancake mixes may include trans fats because a lot of companies use it to give the product a nice fluffy texture. Checking the label for “partially hydrated oils” will tell you if your favorite treats have trans fats or not.
According to FDA, eating raw sprouts is harmful to pregnant women. Raw sprouts can harbor listeria, salmonella and E. coil which enter the sprout through cracks. Listeriosis caused by listeria can cause miscarriage, premature birth, and stillbirth among other dangerous illnesses in newborns.
If you want to eat sprouts, make sure that they are well steamed, at least 165 degrees. Well, cooked sprouts reduce the risk of illness significantly. During pregnancy, your immunity is naturally low. You can easily get infections so avoiding sprouts all together is the safest way to make sure that these harmful illnesses do not get to you or your child. Sprouts are likely easier to give up than most foods so won’t be a problem.
Having a healthy baby is your number one priority and sacrificing these seven foods will not take much effort as you wait for the time to finally meet your little champ or princess.
Cravings can kick in at any time during pregnancy so do not beat yourself up when you indulge in a glass of soda or a scoop of ice cream. You may find it helpful to convince yourself to opt for a healthier treat whenever you have cravings.