When you’re pregnant, you’re eating for two, you’re probably focused on choosing wholesome foods that’ll help you feel your best and support your growing baby. There are some foods you should not eat when you’re pregnant because they might make you ill or harm your baby. Here are the top foods to avoid during pregnancy.
Foods To Avoid During Pregnancy
1. Undercooked or raw fish
This one will be tough for you sushi fans, but it’s an important one. Raw fish, especially shellfish, can cause several infections. These can be viral, bacterial, or parasitic infections.
Some of these infections may only affect you, causing dehydration and weakness. Other infections may be passed on to your baby with serious, or even fatal, consequences.
Pregnant women are especially susceptible to listeria infections. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), pregnant women are up to 10 times more likely to get infected by Listeria than the general population.
This bacteria can be found in soil and contaminated water or plants. Raw fish can become infected during processing, including smoking or drying.
Listeria bacteria can be passed to your baby through the placenta, even if you’re not showing any signs of illness. This can lead to premature delivery, miscarriage, stillbirth, and other serious health problems, according to the CDC.
2. High mercury fish
Mercury is a highly toxic element. It has no known safe level of exposure and is most commonly found in polluted water.
In higher amounts, it can be toxic to your nervous system, immune system, and kidneys. It may also cause serious developmental problems in children, with adverse effects even in lower amounts.
Since it’s found in polluted seas, large marine fish can accumulate high amounts of mercury. Therefore, it’s best to avoid high mercury fish while pregnant and breastfeeding.
3. Organ meats
The foods to avoid during pregnancy are organ meats, such as those including liver and giblets are a very rich source of nutrients but can be troublesome to the pregnant woman. These organs are rich sources of vitamin A and iron, which in excess can cause danger to the unborn child. The body easily accumulates these nutrients and toxicity is very possible which results in brain damage and developmental disorders in excess.
4. Raw eggs
Many women that are into fitness prior to becoming pregnant would routinely consume raw eggs as an added protein boost to help them meet their daily requirements. While the average immune system of an adult strong enough to resist infection, raw eggs may be contaminated with the bacteria salmonella which causes symptoms of food poisoning.
While pregnant, the infection can cause uterine cramps leading to miscarriages or premature labor. The other symptoms characteristic of food poisoning include vomiting and diarrhea and are still likely to occur.
Be sure to always at a minimum like the subject your eggs to steam or better yet, cook thoroughly.
High levels of caffeine can increase the risk of miscarriage, low birth weight, and experiencing a difficult birth. Caffeine is naturally found in lots of foods, such as coffee, tea, and chocolate, and is added to some soft drinks and energy drinks. Some cold and flu remedies also contain caffeine. Talk to your midwife, doctor, or pharmacist before taking these remedies.
You don’t need to cut out caffeine completely, but don’t have more than 200mg a day.
6. Raw sprouts
Your healthy salad choice may not be free from rogue ingredients, either. Raw sprouts, including alfalfa, clover, radish, and mung bean sprouts, may be contaminated with Salmonella.
The humid environment required by seeds to start sprouting is ideal for these kinds of bacteria, and they’re almost impossible to wash off.
For this reason, you’re advised to avoid raw sprouts altogether. However, sprouts are safe to consume after they have been cooked.
7. Unwashed fruits and vegetables
It’s always worth giving produce a quick rinse before eating, but it’s especially important to clean raw fruits and veggies these days. Harmful bacteria like Listeria, Salmonella, or E. coli can lurk on the outsides of produce — and the microbes can easily spread to the inside flesh when a fruit or vegetable is cut, juiced, or peeled.
No need to break out a special produce-cleaning spray, however. A thorough rinse under running water before eating or prepping will get the job done, and if you spot any lingering dirt, scrape it away with a produce brush. Finally, cut away any bits of produce that seem bruised or damaged, since these areas are more likely to harbor bacteria.
It’s advised to completely avoid drinking alcohol when pregnant, as it increases the risk of miscarriage and stillbirth. Even a small amount can negatively impact your baby’s brain development.
Drinking alcohol during pregnancy can also cause fetal alcohol syndrome, which involves facial deformities, heart defects, and intellectual disability.
Since no level of alcohol has been proven to be safe during pregnancy, it’s recommended to avoid it altogether.
9. Unpasteurized milk and cheese
Milk and cheese that are available for purchase at commercial markets must first make sure that they are free from dangerous pathogens which may cause infection if consumed. Pasteurization is a process of subjecting these foods to heat that helps to destroy any harmful bacteria that may be present, but some natural food enthusiasts argue that it removes flavor and important nutrients.
In turn, many may be brainwashed to consume it in its unpasteurized form, which is very dangerous to the health of the unborn child. During pregnancy is not the time to experiment with foods just for the thrill of a new taste. Stick to the pasteurized varieties to ensure the safety of your child.