Foods To Avoid During Pregnancy – 11 Foods And Beverages You Not To Eat
Foods To Avoid During Pregnancy – One of the first things people learn when they get pregnant is that they can’t eat. This can be disappointing if you’re a sushi, coffee, or rare meat lover.
Fortunately, there’s a lot more you can’t eat. You just need to learn to navigate the water (ie low mercury content water). You must pay close attention to what you eat and drink to stay healthy.
Some foods should be eaten only occasionally, while others should be avoided altogether. Here are 11 foods and drinks to avoid or minimize during pregnancy.
1. Fish Rich In Mercury
Mercury is a highly toxic element. It has no known safe levels of exposure and is most commonly found in contaminated water.
In large amounts, it can be toxic to the nervous system, the immune system, and the kidneys. It can also cause serious developmental problems in children, with adverse effects even in smaller amounts.
Because they live in polluted seas, large marine fish can accumulate large amounts of mercury. Therefore, it is best to avoid fish rich in mercury during pregnancy and lactation.
High-mercury fish to avoid include:
- King mackerel
- Tuna (especially bigeye tuna)
- Tilefish from the Gulf of Mexico
- Orange roughy
However, it is important to note that not all fish are high in mercury, only certain types of it.
According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), consuming low-mercury fish during pregnancy is very healthy and can be eaten up to three times a week.
Fish that are low in mercury are numerous and include:
- Trout (Freshwater)
Oily fish such as salmon and anchovies are a great option as they are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are important for your baby.
2. Undercooked Or Raw Fish
It’s tough for sushi fans, but it’s important. Raw fish, especially shellfish, can cause various infections. These can be viral, bacterial, or parasitic infections such as norovirus, vibrio, salmonella, and listeria.
Some of these infections can only affect you, causing dehydration and weakness. Other infections can be passed on to your child with serious or even fatal consequences.
Pregnant women are especially susceptible to listeriosis infection. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), pregnant women are 10 times more likely to get listeria than the general population. Pregnant Hispanic women are 24 times more at risk.
These bacteria can be found in soil and water or on infected plants. Raw fish can become infected during processing, including smoking or curing.
Listeria bacteria can be passed to your baby through the placenta, even if your baby shows no signs of illness. It can cause premature labor, miscarriage, stillbirth and other serious health problems, according to the CDC.
Avoiding raw fish and shellfish, including many sushi dishes, is definitely recommended. But don’t worry, you’ll enjoy it even more after having a baby and it’ll be safer to eat again.
3. Undercooked, Raw And Processed Meat
Foods To Avoid During Pregnancy – Some of the same problems with raw fish affect undercooked meats. Eating raw or undercooked meat increases your risk of contracting various bacteria or parasites, including Toxoplasma, E. coli, Listeria, and Salmonella.
The bacteria can threaten the health of your baby, which can lead to stillbirths or serious neurological problems, such as mental retardation, blindness, and epilepsy.
While most bacteria are found on the surface of a whole piece of meat, other bacteria can live within the muscle fibers.
Some whole cuts of meat, such as beef tenderloin, sirloin or tenderloin, lamb, and veal, may be safe to eat if they are not fully cooked. However, this only applies if the piece of meat is whole or uncut and fully cooked on the outside.
Sliced meats, such as meatloaf, hamburgers, ground beef, pork, and chicken, should not be eaten raw or undercooked. So keep this burger on the grill for now.
Hot dogs, meats, and cold dinners are also anxiety-provoking, which sometimes comes as a surprise to pregnant women. This type of meat can become contaminated with various bacteria during processing or storage.
Pregnant women should not eat processed meats unless they have been reheated with hot steam.
4. Raw Eggs
Raw eggs can be contaminated with salmonella bacteria. Symptoms of salmonella infection include fever, nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, and diarrhea. However, in rare cases, the infection can cause uterine spasms, leading to premature birth or stillbirth.
Foods that often contain raw eggs include:
- Lightly scrambled eggs
- Poached eggs
- Hollandaise sauce
- Homemade mayonnaise
- Some homemade salad dressings
- Homemade ice cream
- Homemade cake icings
Most commercial products containing raw eggs are made from pasteurized eggs and are safe to eat. However, you should always read the label to be sure.
To be on the safe side, always make sure you cook your eggs well or use pasteurized eggs. Save these super soft egg yolks and homemade mayonnaise until your baby is born.
5. Organ Meat
Organ meat is an excellent source of various nutrients.
These include iron, vitamin B12, vitamin A, zinc, selenium and copper, all of which are good for you and your baby. However, taking too much animal-based vitamin A (converted vitamin A) during pregnancy is not recommended.
Excessive intake of preformed vitamin A, especially in the first trimester of pregnancy, can cause birth defects and miscarriage.
Although this is mostly due to vitamin A supplements, it’s best to limit your intake of organ meats like liver to a few grams once a week.
You may be one of the millions of people who enjoy a cup of coffee, tea, soda or cocoa every day. You’re certainly not alone in our love of caffeine.
Pregnant women are generally advised to limit their caffeine intake to less than 200 milligrams (mg) per day, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG).
Caffeine is very quickly absorbed and easily crosses the placenta. Because babies and their placentas lack key enzymes needed to metabolize caffeine, high levels of caffeine can accumulate.
High caffeine intake during pregnancy has been shown to limit fetal growth and increase the risk of low birth weight.
Low birth weight: defined as less than 5 pounds 8 ounces. (or 2.5 kg): This is associated with an increased risk of infant mortality and an increased risk of chronic disease in adulthood.
So watch your daily cup of coffee or soda to make sure your child isn’t exposed to too much caffeine.
7. Raw Sprouts
Foods To Avoid During Pregnancy – Healthy salad options may not be free of banned ingredients. Raw sprouts, including alfalfa, clover, turnips, and sprouts, can be contaminated with salmonella.
The moist environment that seeds need to germinate is ideal for this type of bacteria, and it is almost impossible to wash them off.
For this reason, it is recommended to completely avoid raw sprouts. However, according to the FDA, sprouts are safe to eat after cooking.
8. Unwashed Food
The surface of unwashed or unpeeled fruits and vegetables can be contaminated with various bacteria and parasites. These include Toxoplasma, E. coli, Salmonella and Listeria, which can be obtained from soil or through care.
Contamination can occur at any time during production, harvesting, processing, storage, transportation or retail. A dangerous parasite that can survive in fruits and vegetables is called Toxoplasma.
Most people who get toxoplasmosis have no symptoms, while others may feel as if they have the flu for a month or more.
Most babies infected with toxoplasma bacteria while still in the womb have no symptoms at birth. However, symptoms such as blindness or mental retardation may develop later in life.
Also, a small percentage of infected newborns develop serious eye or brain damage at birth.
When you are pregnant, it is very important to minimize the risk of infection by thoroughly rinsing, peeling, or cooking fruits and vegetables. Keep it as a good habit after the baby is born.
9. Unpasteurized Milk, Cheese And Fruit Juice
Raw milk, unpasteurized cheese, and soft-ripened cheese can contain many harmful bacteria, including Listeria, Salmonella, E. coli, and Campylobacter. (This may sound familiar by now.)
The same goes for unpasteurized juice, which is also susceptible to bacterial contamination. All of these infections can have life-threatening consequences for the fetus.
Bacteria can be naturally occurring or caused by contamination during harvesting or storage. Pasteurization is the most effective way to kill any harmful bacteria without changing the nutritional value of the product.
To minimize the risk of infection, eat only pasteurized milk, cheese, and fruit juices.
Avoiding alcohol consumption during pregnancy is recommended as it increases the risk of miscarriage and stillbirth. Even small amounts can have a negative impact on your child’s brain development.
Drinking alcohol during pregnancy can also cause fetal alcohol syndrome, which includes facial deformities, heart defects, and mental retardation.
As no level of alcohol has been shown to be safe during pregnancy, it is recommended that you avoid it altogether.
11. Processed Junk Foods
There’s no better time than pregnancy to start eating nutrient-dense foods that will help you and your growing baby. You need more essential nutrients, such as protein, folic acid, choline, and iron.
It is also a myth that “you eat for two”. You can eat normally during the first trimester, then increase your intake to about 350 calories per day in the second trimester and about 450 calories per day in the third trimester.
An ideal meal plan during pregnancy should include whole foods with many nutrients that you and your baby need. Processed snacks are often low in nutrients and high in calories, added sugar and fat.
Although it is necessary to gain some weight during pregnancy, excessive weight gain is associated with many complications and diseases. This includes an increased risk of gestational diabetes, as well as complications with pregnancy or childbirth.
Limit meals and snacks that contain protein, vegetables and fruits, healthy fats, and high-fiber carbohydrates, such as whole grains, legumes, and starchy vegetables. Don’t worry, there are plenty of ways to include vegetables in your meals without sacrificing flavor.
The Bottom Line
Foods To Avoid During Pregnancy – During pregnancy, it is important to avoid foods and drinks that can put you and your baby at risk.
While most foods and beverages are safe to eat, some—such as raw fish, unpasteurized dairy, alcohol, and mercury-rich fish—should be avoided.
Also, certain foods and beverages, such as coffee and foods high in sugar, should be limited to promote a healthy pregnancy.