Pregnant? Avoid These Foods While Expecting

It goes without saying that utmost care must be taken during pregnancy by the mother and her immediate family about her diet. Don't just focus on what to eat, also consider foods to avoid during pregnancy. Here's a complete list.

Pregnancy is one of the most important and significant periods of a woman’s life. As an expecting mother, you are responsible for the health of two individuals – yourself and the unborn child. Your diet during pregnancy can have a direct and lasting impact on the wellbeing and health of your child. A number of people might tell what to eat during this time, but there are also a number of things you are advised to avoid eating during the 9-months of pregnancy. Your diet as an expectant mother should comprise of healthy and nutrient foods that provide a holistic intake of carbohydrates, protein, healthy fats, and all the necessary vitamins and minerals. The growing fetus not only needs healthy foods, but you must also take care to keep the unborn child away from foods that may harm or impede its growth and development. Some of the foods to avoid during pregnancy may seem rather simple and inconsequential at other times, but during pregnancy, these could have adverse effects and consequences on the health and development of you and your fetus.

It is obvious that the utmost care and precautions must be taken during these nine months to ensure the safety and well-being of both of you. Here’s a list of foods that you should avoid consuming during pregnancy.

The purpose of this article is to inform you, so you can be cautious during pregnancy. This is not a diet-chart for pregnant women, and this list, as a whole, may or may not be applicable to every pregnant woman. These are general tips on what to avoid during pregnancy. Eventually, taking the advice of your doctor, who is aware of all your individual health requirements, is best and we would urge you to include/exclude any food item only after discussing it with your health care practitioner.

All the best!

Team Mishry

Foods To Avoid While Pregnant

Raw Eggs

Raw eggs can contain Salmonella. Symptoms of Salmonella infections are fever, vomiting, stomach cramps and diarrhea and are generally experienced only by the mother. However, this infection may also cause uterine cramps which in rare cases may lead to stillbirth or premature birth.

 Pregnant? Avoid These Foods While Expecting
Raw Eggs are usually home to Salmonella which can severely effect the fetus.

So, it is advisable to avoid the following egg-based foods during pregnancy:

  • Poached eggs
  • Hollandaise sauce
  • Homemade mayonnaise
  • Homemade ice cream
  • Meringue, mousse or any other home-made dessert that might contain raw eggs.
  • Raw cookie dough

Organ Meat

Organ meat, a.k.a offal, is a good source of nutrients like iron, vitamin B12  which are beneficial for a pregnant woman and the fetus. These include iron, vitamin B12, vitamin A and copper — all of which are good for an expectant mother and her child.

 Pregnant? Avoid These Foods While Expecting
Offal contains preformed Vitamin A which can result in birth defects in the unborn child.

However, offal contains a lot of animal-based preformed vitamin A, the increased consumption of which is not good for an expectant mother. Excess consumption might lead to vitamin A toxicity and high copper levels in the body, which can result in birth defects and liver toxicity.

Raw Fish or Shell Fish

Shellfish or any type of raw fish, for that matter, are carriers of several viruses such as the Norovirus, Vibrio, Salmonella and Listeria. These viruses can sometimes only affect the mothers making them sick for a while. However, certain viruses can lead to some very serious or even fatal results in the fetus.

 Pregnant? Avoid These Foods While Expecting
Shell Fish and/or raw fish are carriers of bacteria and viruses

Pregnant women are particularly more susceptible to Listeria infections. This particular virus is more commonly found in contaminated water. Raw fish can easily become carriers for this virus. So, eating dishes like Ceviche, oysters or sushi is not the best idea especially during pregnancy.

Undercooked or raw meat has an increased risk of being carriers of several bacteria or parasites, including Ecoli, Listeria, Toxoplasma, and Salmonella. Salmonella infection if not treated in the very early stages, can lead to miscarriages- an NCBI study concluded.

 Pregnant? Avoid These Foods While Expecting
Sushi has raw fish which poses a risk toward the fetus.

Listeria is one such bacteria that can pass on to the unborn child through the placenta, even if the mother shows no signs of the infection. According to the CDC website, bacteria like listeria, salmonella or E.coli poses a risk to the health of your unborn child, and could lead to stillbirth or extreme neurological illnesses, which include blindness, intellectual disability or even epilepsy.

Large Marine Animals

Mercury is a highly toxic element mostly found in polluted water. Large marine animals tend to accumulate larger amounts of mercury since it is mostly found in water sources.

An NCBI study has shown that high exposure to mercury can cause serious damage to the body and can also cause developmental problems in the nervous or immune system of children and adults alike. Hence, it is safer for pregnant women to limit their consumption of larger marine animals which might have higher mercury content.

 Pregnant? Avoid These Foods While Expecting
Large fish are more likely to have more mercury in them.

Some High-mercury fish

  • Shark
  • King mackerel
  • Albacore tuna

Raw Sprouts

Raw sprouts, including may contain Salmonella and is best to be avoided. Sprouts require a humid environment to grow and in this environment bacteria thrive.

 Pregnant? Avoid These Foods While Expecting
Sprouts, although a healthy food article, could be home to Salmonella.

Unpasteurized Milk, Cheese or Fruit Juice

Unpasteurized milk and unpasteurized cheese are homes to a large number of bacteria like Listeria, E. coli, Salmonella and Campylobacter. This also includes fresh, unpasteurized juice which can easily get contaminated.

It is always better to go for pasteurized milk, juice or cheese while expecting. Pasteurization is a process that gets rid of most of the bacteria present in the food, making it absolutely safe for consumption by anyone.

 Pregnant? Avoid These Foods While Expecting
Unpasteurized milk acts as a host to a number of bacteria.

Junk Food

Increased amounts of many essential nutrients, including protein, folate, and iron is required when you are expecting. However, you don’t need twice the calories, which is what junk food is packed with. An optimal pregnancy diet should mainly consist of healthy meals and snacks, packed with nutrients to fulfill the dietary requirements of both, the mother and growing child.

Unwashed Fruits and Vegetables

Remember to wash fruits and vegetables well before consuming them, especially f you plan to consume them raw. These may be sprayed with chemicals and pesticides, or be home to many parasites which can be very harmful to not just an expecting mother but also to the fetus.

Alcohol

Without a question, alcohol must be avoided during pregnancy. It increases the risk of miscarriage and stillbirth. Even a small amount may be enough in some cases to affect the development of the fetus’ brain and hamper its growth. Several studies conducted by researchers have concluded that alcohol can have a different impacts on the fetus including facial dysmorphology, disruption in brain development, miscarriage, sudden infant death syndrome, premature birth and stillbirth.

 Pregnant? Avoid These Foods While Expecting
Avoid alcoholic beverages during pregnancy

It can also lead to fetal alcohol syndrome, where heart defects, facial deformities and intellectual disability is observed in the child.

Papaya

An NCBI published study observed the effects of consumption of papaya during pregnancy where it was seen that a ripe papaya is a rich source of nutrients and can be very beneficial for pregnant women. However, unripe papaya contains latex and papain. These substances can cause harm to the mother and the fetus. Latex in raw papaya can trigger uterine contractions leading to early labor, premature birth or stillbirth.

Papain in the raw papaya can be mistaken for prostaglandins and oxytocin in the body, again leading to induced labor. It can also weaken the many membranes that support the fetus. Eating raw papaya during the period in which you are trying to conceive can also hamper the chances of conception and cause harm to the implanted embryo or lead to miscarriages.

 Pregnant? Avoid These Foods While Expecting
Raw papaya should definitely be avoided during pregnancy or when trying to conceive.

Unripe papaya can also lead to an increase in vascular pressure. This can lead to placental hemorrhaging or bleeding. Also, since papaya is rich in fiber, it can increase the pressure in the bowels which could lead to miscarriages in the early stages of pregnancy.

Papain and chymopapain, both found in papayas, can hamper the overall development of the fetus. It is best to avoid papayas on the whole since they are also linked to an increased risk of kidney stones formation. Papaya seeds can also cause harm to the fetus.

Cheap or Locally made Paneer

Paneer or cottage cheese is a type of cheese that has a high level of water content in it. When it is made locally, or by unverified vendors, chances are the water used is not the cleanest and might even be contaminated with various bacteria and viruses. Hence, it is best for expecting mothers to avoid such cottage cheeses.

Best paneer recipes
Paneer contains a lot of moisture, the source of which is not always clean.

The diet of a pregnant woman should consist of plenty of nutrients. The above-mentioned food articles has been proved to cause adverse effects when consumed during pregnancy or in the time of conception and should definitely be avoided or, at the very least, limited.

Disclaimer

This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for a qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information before making any dietary changes.

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  1. I have heard pineapple should also be avoided … is that true ?

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