Pregnancy can be a life-changing experience for every one of us; whether you are someone who found out you were pregnant after feeling nauseous every morning or whether you planned every day inching towards that fateful pink line on a pregnancy test! Whatever be the case, the most important topic after you discover you are pregnant is what to eat and what not to eat when you are pregnant.
You will be flooded by a barrage of suggestions based on personal experiences, old wives tales, and family traditions.
However, you will also have this innate desire to do everything right for the sake of providing proper nutrition to your growing little one. Throw in a few cravings into this and what we have is mayhem!
But fret not! We have put together a list of foods to avoid when you are pregnant. So if you crave something other than what is on this list, go ahead and indulge but remember that “moderation is key” as always!
Unpasteurized Dairy Products
As a general rule, avoid unpasteurized dairy products when you are pregnant due to the inherent risk of food poisoning. If you love your dairy, make sure you consume pasteurized produce during your nine months of pregnancy. Remember that this includes all derivatives of milk; i.e. dairy products like cheese, curd and sauces.
The other important item to be vigilant about when you are expecting is cheese. Unpasteurized soft cheeses like feta contain Listeria bacteria which are known to cause a miscarriage. So as a rule, stick to hard cheese made from pasteurized milk.
All raw food is to some extent not recommended for pregnant women due to various harmful pesticides, and bacteria like listeria and salmonella. Hence it is safe to refrain from salads and fresh juices unless prepared under supervision where you’re certain of the quality of food and the level of hygiene involved.
Some raw food like sprouts is better consumed cooked as they may harbor some harmful bacteria or virus which may cause food poisoning.
As a general pointer, we recommend that you choose cooked food over raw food to ensure that basic bacteria is eliminated by the process of cooking due to which the probability of food poisoning is minimized.
If you have nut allergies, it is better to avoid consuming them in general. But if you are unsure of nut allergies, we recommend that you do not consume anything new when you are pregnant. Nut allergies are extremely common and sometimes very dangerous. It’s best to avoid experimentation and exploring of food when you are expecting.
This is something you must have read in almost every pregnancy book that you ever came across. So the keyword here is ‘excess’. If you are someone for whom the sun does not rise without that steaming hot mug of coffee, you do not have to give it up altogether.
Try to work on your caffeine addiction in moderation and cap it at two cups a day. Discuss your intake with your health provider and get a go-ahead for an optimal quantity to stick to.
Raw or Uncooked Non-Vegetarian Food
When it comes to non-vegetarian food, make sure it is well cleaned and properly cooked before consumption. Do not consume raw eggs as it may have the salmonella bacteria, which is known to cause typhoid and other food poisonings. Pay particular attention to salad dressings, desserts like mousse, soufflé as they contain raw eggs in their preparation. Runny undercooked eggs are a thing of the past and the only safe way to consume eggs while pregnant is when they are cooked enough such that the yolk is firm.
Meat that has been refrigerated should be cooked at a minimum of 73 degrees to remove any listeria or gondli parasite in them. It is safe to eat meat when it has been cooked well and stored under hygienic conditions.
Specific Kinds of Seafood
Do not get disheartened. Seafood is rich in omega 3 fatty acids and can be eaten by expectant mothers. However, there are some pointers to be kept in mind when consuming seafood when you are pregnant.
Fish that contain mercury are a definite no-no as they are known to cause developmental delays in the child. This includes fishes like mackerel, swordfish, tilefish, and such.
As a general rule, it is better to consume freshwater fish than sea fish for the chances of contamination are less in the former.
Shellfish due to fear of algae infections are best avoided during pregnancy.
This is a common spice used in cooking. However, during pregnancy, it is supposed to cause uterine contractions due to which it is avoided during the nine months of pregnancy. All forms of licorice are avoided due to the fear of it causing preterm labor.
Apart from the things mentioned above, we recommend that you avoid canned food as much as you can as it is much more ideal to have fresh and healthy food as against something that is sure to contain preservatives in it to aid its shelf life.
In addition to that, canned food may have Bisphenol which is also called BPA that is known to affect fetal endocrinal activity. For the sake of hygiene, absolutely avoid street food regardless of much you crave that take-away ramen.
Keep fatty food in moderation to watch your cholesterol levels and always, ALWAYS, check with your doctor before taking medications of any kind. Be it a vitamin supplement, a painkiller or an antacid. Self-medication is something you would rather forget when you are pregnant.
Loosen up and indulge in your cravings as you go through this precious time of nurturing a life within you, while keeping in mind the pointers above. Do ensure that you get your fill of nourishment by eating fresh and healthy food that is nutritious, hygienic and freshly prepared. Happy Pregnancy!
What are the foods you swear to live by or avoid during expectancy? Tell us your opinion in the comments below!
Also Check out: 11 Most Useful Pregnancy Advice