One of the first things people want to learn when they’re pregnant is what they can’t eat. When you’re pregnant, everything that gets into your mouth gets shared with your growing baby.
You should realize that what you do, what you eat can affect not only you but your baby too. You will have to pay close attention to what you eat and drink to stay healthy.
Here are a few foods that will be best to avoid while pregnant.
Seafood high in Mercury
Seafood is a great source of protein. The omega-3 fatty acids in many fish promote the brain and eye development of your baby. But some fish and shellfish contain dangerous levels of mercury. Too much mercury can be harmful to the nervous system of your baby.
The older and bigger the fish, the more mercury it’s likely to contain. So, try avoiding it.
Soft cheeses made with unpasteurized milk can harbour listeria bacteria, which can be dangerous or even fatal for you and your baby. It’s best to avoid any form of cheese unless the label says it’s pasteurized.
Uncooked or partially cooked meat
Meat should be cooked right through. Uncooked shellfish have a risk of bacterial or viral contamination which can cause food poisoning. Some bacteria and viruses can cross the placenta and harm the baby.
Liver and other foods containing vitamin A
Liver products have lots of vitamin A. This is harmful to an unborn baby. It is not safe to consume multivitamins containing vitamin A or fish liver oils. You can eat low levels of vitamin A found naturally in foods like carrots.
Empty calorie foods
Cakes, cookies, chips, and candy should be kept to a minimum. Many of these options are high in sugar and fat, have little nutritional content, and may undermine your efforts at maintaining healthy body weight.
It’s not very clear how much caffeine use during pregnancy is safe. Health care providers might recommend avoiding caffeine, if possible, or limiting the amount of caffeine in your diet to less than 200 milligrams a day.
Undercooked ready meals
It is important to follow the cooking instructions on the pack of ready meals. Check if the meal is steaming hot all the way through before you eat it. This is highly important for meals containing poultry like chicken or turkey.
Unwashed, packaged salad
It is fine to eat pre-prepared, pre-washed salad if you keep it in the fridge and eat before the use-by date. Check the ingredients in any packaged salads to make sure they do not contain other foods you should avoid. If the salad has been at room temperature for a long time, it is best not to eat it as bacteria can grow quickly.
Undercooked or raw fish
Raw fish, especially shellfish, will cause several infections. Infections can be viral, bacterial, or parasitic infections.
Some of these infections may affect only you, causing dehydration and weakness. Other infections may be passed on to your baby with fatal consequences.
Raw eggs are sometimes contaminated with the Salmonella bacteria.
Symptoms of salmonella infections include fever, vomiting, stomach cramps, and diarrhoea. Sometimes, the infection may cause cramps in the uterus, leading to premature birth or stillbirth.
It is better to avoid alcohol completely during pregnancy. Alcohol can harm you and your baby. Cooking with alcohol is safe as the cooking process removes the alcohol. But drinking alcohol during pregnancy can affect the way your baby develops and their long-term health. Drinking heavily during pregnancy can result in your baby developing a condition called fetal alcohol syndrome.
Herbal and green teas
There is not much information on the safety of herbal and green teas in pregnancy. It is best to limit how much you drink. You should drink no more than 4 cups of herbal tea a day. It is important to know that green tea contains caffeine, which should be limited as much as possible during pregnancy.
In case of any doubt, it’s always better to check with a nutritionist or your doctor.
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