Congratulation for the good news! Pregnancy is indeed the most beautiful phase of women’s life. But, did anybody told you that there are certain foods to avoid during pregnancy?
If you have already shared the news of the pregnancy with your loved ones, you must be showered with love and care. With those words and gestures of care, you will also get loads of advice about what you should eat and what you should not!
After all, now you are responsible for the health of 2 lives!
But, most often, you will get conflicting advice, and you will not know whom to believe. The flood of suggestions can only add to your confusion and make you more nervous.
I can understand! It’s a common story of all pregnant women.
If you are looking for reliable information regarding your diet, read on to get a clear idea about the 25 foods to avoid during pregnancy and why exactly you need to avoid them.
1. Unpasteurized milk
If you have a habit of drinking milk every day, you have already adopted a healthy lifestyle. But, if you drink it without boiling – I mean the unpasteurized, raw milk – it’s time to change this habit!
Raw milk will not provide any nutritional advantage to you or your baby. According to the report published by The Food And Drug Administration in the USA, raw milk contains harmful bacteria like Listeria, Cryptosporidium, and E. Coli that can be harmful to both you and your baby.
So, make sure you drink pasteurized milk and consume dairy products prepared from the same. During pasteurization, the milk is heated to a high temperature. This ensures the disease-causing microbes are killed.
You can also choose non-dairy alternatives for milk like soy milk, almond milk, and rice milk as they are safe and provide similar nutrition.
2. Raw meat and poultry
Your pregnancy asks you to make a small sacrifice for the sake of your baby’s good health. Yes, you will have to control your craving for meat and poultry for another 9 months.
According to J. P. Dubey, a microbiologist, the consumption of non-vegetarian foods is the common cause of infections in pregnant women.
It may put you at a risk of developing acute toxoplasmosis during pregnancy. This may increase the chances of miscarriage and fetal death during delivery.
Undercooked meat and poultry also contain harmful bacteria such as salmonella, which can increase the risk of food poisoning.
I am sure, after reading this, you must have already made the decision to not eat these foods! That’s the spirit of motherhood! It prepares you to make adjustments in your diet and lifestyle without any fuss!
Are you an ardent lover of seafood? Those who love it, swear by it as the best food ever! But, definitely not for you; at least not until you have delivered your healthy baby. Let me tell you why…
According to The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), pregnant women should not consume more than 340 grams of seafood per week. Some types of seafood contain a high level of mercury.
Eating seafood regularly can result in the accumulation of a high level of mercury in your blood. This may affect the development of the brain and nervous system of your baby. So, try to avoid seafood.
You can always relish it once you are through with the 9 months of pregnancy and even enjoy it with your kid for years after years!
4. Undercooked Eggs
Eggs are a great source of proteins. Pregnancy is the time when your body’s demand for proteins increases to support the growth and development of the baby.
However, remember it is the EGGS that are healthy for your baby! Undercooked and raw eggs, on the other hand, could be harmful to you and your baby.
According to a study published in the Official Journal of the College of Family Physicians in Canada, raw eggs contain harmful bacteria such as salmonella and Listeria that cause food poisoning. You may develop severe vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and fever.
I am sure you will never want to add to your existing morning sickness with these symptoms. This can weaken your immune system and may impact your baby’s development.
I can see you are feeling happy and proud of yourself after reading this. You may be thinking you never eat raw or undercooked eggs!
But, you will be shocked to learn that certain products such as custards, mayonnaise, and mousse contain raw eggs. So, the next time you are into these processed foods, read the label to make sure it doesn’t contain raw eggs.
Papaya is great for your digestion. But, it is not such as a great food to eat during pregnancy. According to the study published in the British Journal of Nutrition, Papaya is rich in latex, which can stimulate the uterine contractions.
This can increase your risk of premature labor or may even lead to miscarriage. I need not tell you the digestive benefits of papayas are not as important for you right now as the safety of your baby.
6. Cabbage and lettuce
Cabbage and lettuce hold a permanent place in our weekly grocery shopping list. These veggies can make any dish taste different with their unique flavor. But, do you know cabbage and lettuce also carry the microorganisms responsible for foodborne illnesses?
According to the study published in the Ghana Medical Journal, these vegetables contain microbes like Cryptosporidium parvum, Clonorchis Sinensis, Strongyloides Stercolaris, Enterobius vermicularis, and Hookworms.
I am sure you wouldn’t want to be down with a parasitic infection during pregnancy. It will not just affect your immune system, but also make you weak. That is why; I would advise you to put a big cross in front of cabbage and lettuce in your shopping list.
The sweet, tangy, juicy taste of pineapples is too tempting. You may find it hard to resist a bite of pineapple. But, you will have to control your urge for the time being.
According to a study published in the East-West University of Bangladesh, Pineapple is rich in bromelain, which can soften the cervix. This can result in a preterm labor.
So, it’s best to hold your cravings until your baby is delivered and smiling at you for all the care you have taken for him or her.
8. Canned foods
Canned foods offer a quick solution to preparing meals. But, pregnancy is not the right time to save time and get quick. You need to wait patiently for 9 months to hold your healthy baby in your hands.
To get this joy, you will have to do away with your quick-fix meal solutions like canned foods. According to the researchers at the Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health at the Mailman School of Public Health, the lining of the cans contains toxic substances called Bisphenol A.
It can affect the endocrinal functions of the baby. Canned foods such as pasta and soup also contain a high amount of mercury, which is poisonous for you and your baby. So, avoid canned foods and eat freshly cooked meals.
9. Sugar-rich foods
Your sweet tooth will have to adapt to the healthier options during your pregnancy. You must cut down your consumption of sugar-rich foods like desserts, ice creams, candies, and chocolates.
It can also make you gain unnecessary weight that you will find difficult to shed after delivery. It may also contribute to gestational diabetes, and increase your risk of preterm labor.
Grapes is one of the foods to avoid during pregnancy. According to the research published in the Birth Defects Research, grapes contain a high concentration of polyphenols.
Though polyphenols are considered good for YOUR general health, it can be detrimental for the health of your baby.
You will be surprised to learn that eating polyphenol-rich foods in the third trimester can inhibit the synthesis of a hormone called prostaglandin. This can increase the risk of patent ductus arteriosus, a form of congenital heart defect, in your baby.
We all have a habit of reaching out to a pack of chips to please our taste buds in spite of being aware that they are not good for health.
Chips contain a high amount of salt and unhealthy fats. According to a study published in the Public Library of Science, a high intake of salt during pregnancy can affect the development of the heart in the baby.
It can cause an excessive growth or hypertrophy of the ventricles (lower chambers) of the heart. It can also increase the risk of hypertension and eclampsia in the pregnant women. These complications can result in preterm labor and stillbirths.
So, instead of pleasing your taste buds with a pack of chips, you should please your most loved baby and avoid eating chips.
You should avoid eating soft cheese like brie, chevre, and camembert during pregnancy. According to the research published in the HSS Public Access, soft cheeses often contain microbes called listeria. This can harm your unborn baby. It can lead to miscarriage or a severe illness in the newborn baby.
13. Unwashed Fruits And vegetables
We all have learned in our school days that it is important to wash fruits and vegetables before eating or cooking them. But, we, being humans, are always in a hurry and skip this step while preparing meals.
But, this ignorance can be dangerous for your baby! Washing fruits and vegetables is important for two reasons: the first reason is it reduces the risk of infections. The second reason is it can help to wash off pesticides from their surfaces.
According to a report published by the Environmental Working Group, the consumption of pesticides like organophosphates by pregnant women can increase their risk of preterm labor and congenital defects.
You can protect your baby from these complications by avoiding the consumption of unwashed fruits and veggies. A single step of washing them before consuming will protect your child against these harmful pesticides.
14. Processed Junk Foods
Processed junk foods are high in calories, but low in nutrients. So, if you are thinking of increasing your food intake, make sure the intake doesn’t come from junk foods.
The processed junk foods will not provide you any additional benefits in terms of vitamins, minerals, etc. They will only double the calories you are taking and force you to shop for XXL clothes.
According to the report published by the Public Health Nutrition, you just need about 350 to 500 extra calories a day during pregnancy. The more you add to it, the worse will be the disaster for your waistline! So, do not get tempted by “eating for two” concept and skip processed junk foods completely.
15. Raw Sprouts
A report published in the Food Microbiology has recommended women to avoid eating raw sprouts during pregnancy. Raw sprouts may be contaminated with the pathogens such as Salmonella. If this infection is not controlled, it may lead to miscarriage.
That’s not all! Unlike other vegetables, the bacteria can enter the sprouted seeds. So, they are difficult or even impossible to wash off. That’s why; it’s best to avoid eating raw sprouts during pregnancy.
Burger and fries equal to nothing but fats, more fats, and some more fats! Too much of fat is not welcome for your health. This golden rule holds good even more for the pregnant women.
According to a research conducted at the Developmental Psychobiology, a high-fat diet during pregnancy can affect your child’s temperament. Additionally, it can also put you at a risk of weight gain, hypertension, and high cholesterol. That is definitely not what you are looking for during your pregnancy, right?
17. Excess caffeine
A mug of coffee can help you feel fresh and energetic. But, during pregnancy, you may have to search for other safer alternatives to your regular mug of coffee.
Coffee contains a high amount of caffeine. According to a study published in the BMJ Journal, caffeine can increase your risk of miscarriage and a low birth weight baby.
Not just coffee, but even tea, and chocolates contain a high amount of caffeine. So, it’s best to avoid these beverages and switch to healthier alternatives like a fresh fruit juice to get your dose of energy.
18. Monosodium Glutamate
Monosodium Glutamate, or MSG for short, is usually added to the processed foods. It is also a regular ingredient in the Chinses cuisine.
According to a study conducted by the Brain Research, a regular consumption of MSG by pregnant women can affect the development of the baby’s brain. It can increase the risk of learning disorders and affect the cognitive skills of the child such as memory, concentration and learning skills.
I am sure, like all parents, you would like to give the best education and quality life to your child. So, it won’t be a hard task for you to avoid eating foods having MSG.
19. Sesame Seeds
Sesame seeds are a common addition to our meals. They help to enhance the flavor of food. However, when you are pregnant, eating sesame seeds can prove to be harmful.
You will be shocked to know that dry sesame seeds have been traditionally used for inducing abortion. Sesame seeds can stimulate the uterine contractions resulting in the expulsion of the fertilized ovum. You can avoid these complications by skipping sesame seeds from the meals.
20. Fenugreek Seeds
You can add a small quantity of Fenugreek Seeds to your food for an added taste and flavor. But, eating it regularly is a big no. According to a study published in the Middle East Fertility Society Journal, these seeds contain a high amount of phytoestrogens.
Phytoestrogens stimulate the secretion of oxytocin, a hormone that can increase the uterine contractions. This can put you at a risk of miscarriage.
21. Ham and bacon
If you have a history of hypertension or eclampsia during previous pregnancy, you should limit your intake of ham and bacon. These foods contain a high amount of salt, which can cause your blood pressure to shoot up. This can increase your risk of eclampsia and preterm labour.
22. Soft drinks
During nine months of pregnancy, there will be a period when the weather will turn hot. The hot weather may force you to turn to soft drinks to quench your thirst. But, this would definitely not be a healthy choice for your baby.
According to the research published in the Public Library of Science, the consumption of artificially-sweetened, soft drinks by pregnant women is associated with a high incidence of asthma and allergic rhinitis in the baby.
So, why not gift your baby with something healthier, like… how about watermelon juice? Check this video to learn how to make a quick, refreshing watermelon juice for yourself.
23. Pastries and cakes
If you have a history of gestational diabetes, you fall into the high-risk category for preterm labour. You can ensure the health and safety of your baby by minimizing your intake of cakes, pastries, and other high-carb foods.
Maintaining a low-sugar diet throughout the pregnancy will help you minimize the likelihood of developing gestational diabetes-linked complications.
24. Energy drinks
Most women have a habit of carrying a can of energy drink with them while leaving for office. Energy drinks contain a high amount of caffeine that stimulates the senses and helps them feel fresh and energetic.
But, if you are pregnant, you should put a stop to this habit. A regular intake of these drinks can affect the development of your baby. If you feel tired, take a short power nap instead of relying on these energy drinks.
Consider pregnancy as the right time to choose healthy habits. For example; stop drinking alcohol. According to the study published in the Primary Care Companion of the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, alcohol consumption during pregnancy can precipitate spontaneous abortion and preterm labor. It can even reduce the production of breast milk.
If you want to celebrate the news of your pregnancy, raise a toast for the good health of your baby by switching to safe and healthy alternatives like lemon water. And why just now? Continue with this healthy habit even after you have delivered your baby. He will love you and respect you for this!
Now, you know for sure why you have to avoid these foods. So, the next time, you are bombarded with different suggestions, don’t let them confuse you. Simply ignore the advice and keep in mind the list of foods to avoid during pregnancy we discussed here for the health and safety of your baby. And yes, don’t forget to smile back at the person advising you. Pretend as if you are listening intently. After all, whatever they say is out of concern for you and your baby!