Pregnancy is a journey of a woman from womanhood to motherhood. Each and every pregnancy is precious and so women usually remain anxious about their lifestyle and food habits. Most of the pregnant mothers do not hesitate to sacrifice their comfort and habit, only to keep their baby safe. Here are the few tips which describes what are the common food items that must be avoided in pregnancy.
1) Some fishes
Fishes are integral part of most of the non-vegetarian Indian dishes. Majority of the fishes are not harmful, rather most of them (particularly fresh water fishes) are rich in protein and omega-3 fatty acid, that helps in brain development of the baby.You must take those. But remember, always take well cooked fishes. Avoid raw fishes like “Sushi” as they are likely to contain bacteria and parasites, causing stomach upset, that can lead to early labour and even damage the baby by causing premature delivery.
Avoid refrigerated and smoked sea fish and other seafood as they are likely to be infected with a harmful bacteria, called listeria. Listeria infection is notorious for causing fever and infection in mother. More importantly, it can pass into the baby causing miscarriage, serious infection and even death, either before delivery or immediately after delivery.
Avoid fishes containing mercury and other pollutants,particularly, big fish like shark, shellfish, salmon, tilefish, king mackerel etc because they contain higher levels of mercury which can harm an baby’s immature nervous system.
2) Some dairy products
While intake of properly pasteurized and boiled milk is highly recommended, if you can tolerate it, because of high energy, carbohydrate, protein, fat and mineral content; raw milk, unpasteurized milk should be totally avoided, as they may contain harmful bacteria, particularly listeria, as mentioned earlier. Similarly, soft cheeses should not be taken in pregnancy.
3) Alcohol and smoking
Excessive alcohol in pregnancy can cause ‘fetal alcohol syndrome’, characterized by abnormalities in face, heart, brain etc and evenmental retardation. These babies are likely to have growth disturbances. .
Smoking can cause miscarriage and low birth weight of the baby that may even cause still birth. Passive smoking is also equally important. So, both mother and father should avoid smoking.
Excessive caffeinated food can be a cause of miscarriage. Do not take more than 2 cups (or 200 mg) of coffee per day.
5) Under-cooked meat and eggs
These can cause food poisoning, as well as listeriosis. Also, there is chance of transmission of a parasite, toxoplasma, which can cause miscarriage, still birth and abnormalities in the baby (problems in heart, brain, eye, intelligence etc). Cook eggs until the yellow and white parts are firm. It’s better to avoid restaurant foods.
6) Unwashed fruits and vegetables
These items may carry certain bacteria that can lead to stomach upset. They are also known cause of causing listeriosis, as explained above. Avoid long refrigerated vegetables and salads made in restaurant. Raw vegetable sprouts, often taken for high minerals and protein, should be avoided as they may also harbor harmful bacteria.
7. Some juices
Avoid fresh and raw juices as they may contain harmful bacteria like listeria and even toxoplasma. Choose packaged juices as they are pasteurized and are kept under refrigeration.
8. Fatty Foods
While some fat is needed for brain growth and energy of the baby, excess fat may cause excessive weight gain that may increase the risk of high blood pressure and even diabetes, both can affect mother and baby. Mothers with excess weight are more likely to have premature delivery, problems during delivery and infection. Again repeated cooking of fatty food should be avoided, as it is more harmful to both.
9. Herbal supplements
Because their safety during pregnancy is not known, it’s best to avoid herbal supplements during pregnancy. This also includes herbal tea. .
Do not take any drugs without consulting your doctors, whatever problem you are having.Even avoid excessive vitamin use as excess dose of vitamin A can damage the heart, face and brain of your baby and make it mentally handicapped. Some painkillers can cause heart defects in the baby. Some antibiotics may also be unsafe.