Foods To Avoid During Pregnancy

Pregnancy is one of the most vital and sensitive periods in a woman’s life. Pregnancy causes a lot of changes in the body, and pregnant women should consider adjusting their eating habits to adapt to these changes. Pregnant women are more susceptible to food-borne illnesses and some infectious diseases due to the unique immunological condition created by pregnancy. Diet is one of the most important factors that can affect a pregnant woman’s overall health and the health of her child. It’s important to be aware of certain foods that can put you and your baby at risk, due to processing, contamination, bio-accumulation, or chemicals naturally occurring in the food itself. Here are some foods to avoid during pregnancy :

1. Certain Seafood

Though many people see fish as a good, clean source of protein and nutrients, such as fatty acids, the type of fish a pregnant person eats is very important. Methylmercury is found in foods that certain fish eat and remains in the fish’s body after it is eaten. When a pregnant woman then eats these fish, some of the methylmercury passes to them, can cross the placental barrier, and can cause harm to the baby’s developing nervous system. Consuming low-mercury fish during pregnancy is very healthy, and these fish can be eaten up to 2 times per week. Fatty fish is high in omega-3 fatty acids, which are important for your baby.

2. Undercooked, Raw and Processed Meat

Eating undercooked or raw meat increases your risk of infection from several bacteria or parasites. Bacteria may threaten the health of your unborn baby, possibly leading to stillbirth or severe neurological illnesses, including intellectual disability, blindness and epilepsy. While most bacteria are found on the surface of whole pieces of meat, other bacteria may linger inside the muscle fibers. Pregnant women should not consume processed meat products unless they’ve been reheated until steaming hot.

3. Raw Eggs

Eggs are generally good for your health. Eggs are a simple source of protein and nutrients, but undercooked or raw eggs may contain Salmonella bacteria. This can cause vomiting and diarrhea that can be dangerous to you and your unborn child. When buying eggs, choose pasteurized eggs. The pasteurization process kills all bacteria in the egg, reducing the risk of infection. Always check the labels of store-bought products containing egg to check for pasteurization. Cook all eggs and products that contain eggs to 160 ℉.

4. Caffeine

Caffeine is the most commonly used psychoactive substance in the world and mainly found in coffee, tea, soft drinks and cocoa. Pregnant women are generally advised to limit their caffeine intake. While some people can enjoy a small amount of caffeine during pregnancy, doctors often recommend that pregnant women avoid it completely because caffeine can pass to the fetus. A fetus is unable to break down caffeine, which can cause problems. High caffeine intake during pregnancy has been shown to restrict fetal growth and increase the risk of low birth weight at delivery.

5. Nuts

Nuts are a great snack during pregnancy since it contains healthy ingredients. But you should be careful when eating nuts when you are pregnant. Macadamia nuts, pistachios, pecans, chestnuts, cashews, peanuts, walnuts and hazelnuts can be dangerous to pregnant women. These nuts can cause allergies that can cause skin rashes to swelling of some body parts.

6. Raw And Undercooked Greens and Sprouts

Greens and sprouts are generally great foods to add to the diet as they contain large amounts of fiber and nutrients. But, raw sprouts and greens, including alfalfa, clover, radish and mung bean sprouts, may be contaminated with Salmonella bacteria which can cause infection. The humid environment required by seeds to start sprouting is ideal for these kinds of bacteria, and they’re almost impossible to wash off. For this reason, pregnant women are advised to avoid raw sprouts and greens.

7. Unpasteurized Milk, Cheese And Fruit Juice

pregnant women must avoid both unpasteurized milk and unpasteurized fruit juice. Raw milk and unpasteurized cheese can contain an array of harmful bacteria, including Listeria, Salmonella, E. coli and Campylobacter. These bacteria can cause severe infections in pregnant women, especially if their immune system is already stressed. These infections can all have life-threatening consequences for an unborn baby. To minimize the risk of infections, pregnant women are advised to consume only pasteurized milk, cheese and fruit juice.

8. Alcohol

Pregnant women are advised to completely avoid drinking alcohol, as it increases the risk of miscarriage and stillbirth. Even a small amount can negatively impact your baby’s brain development. When a pregnant woman drinks alcohol, so does her baby. There is no known safe amount of alcohol use during pregnancy, and all types of alcohol liquor, wine, beer and sake –can be equally harmful. Drinking alcohol during pregnancy can increase the risk of birth defects.

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