Pregnancy is one of the happiest and most exciting times in a woman’s life. For the first time, she is responsible not only for herself and her own health, but that of her unborn baby. It is essential to follow a proper and healthy diet when pregnant, and although there is a lot of information available about what a woman should eat during pregnancy, there is not always a lot of information of what foods to avoid during pregnancy.
Although most foods are fine and healthy to consume during pregnancy, there are a few that should be avoided until after the healthy new baby is born. Here are some of the foods that could pose potential harm to your unborn child if consumed during pregnancy:
Raw Meats and Seafood including sushi - all uncooked and rare meats and seafood should be avoided due to high risk of listeria and salmonella poisoning.
Deli meats including hot dogs - these deli meats might be contaminated with listeria bacteria which may result in miscarriage or even a stillbirth. It's safe to eat deli meats if you reheat them until steaming hot.
Caffeine - Caffeine consumption can put the pregnant woman to the risk of miscarriage and premature birth. Hence, even beverages containing caffeine, like coffee, should be strictly avoided during the period.
Raw Eggs - Raw eggs should not be eaten during pregnancy, because they contain Salmonella, a bacteria that causes food borne illness. Stay away from the dishes that contain raw eggs as well, including ceasar salad dressing, cookie batter and eggnog.
- Fish with Mercury - Consumption of mercury is related to the delay in the development of the brain of the baby. Therefore, fish with high levels of mercury, such as Tilefish, Shark, Swordfish and King Mackerel should be strictly avoided during pregnancy.
- Smoked Seafood - Smoked seafood available in the general stores may be contaminated with Listeria, a harmful bacteria. Therefore, smoked seafood, especially the refrigerated one, is a strict no-no for pregnant women.
Diet during Pregnancy
Milk and dairy products: skimmed milk, yogurt, buttermilk, cottage cheese –that are high in calcium, essential amino acids and Vitamin B-12. Talk to your doctor if you are lactose sensitive.
Cereals, whole grains, dals, pulses: they are good sources of protein.
Vegetables: these provide vitamins, minerals and fibre.
Fruits: eat fresh/seasonal fruits and avoid processed /canned fruits.
Meat/Fish/Poultry: these provide the essential animal proteins. Vegetarians need to consume about 1.5 ounces of nuts and 2/3 cup of legumes for proteins. One egg, ½ ounce of nuts, or ¼ cup of legumes is considered equivalent to 1 ounce of meat, poultry, or fish.
Avoid larger varieties of fish exposed to industrial pollutants
Even though fish is a good source of protein, certain fish may contain potentially unsafe levels of naturally occurring mercury. It is best to avoid the larger predator fish, such as shark or swordfish as it may contain potentially unsafe levels of mercury. These fish absorb the mercury from the contaminated water and the mercury binds tightly to the proteins in fish muscle and remains there even after the fish is cooked.
Processed or canned fish should also be avoided as they are preserved in saline (salt solution), which may lead to water retention.
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