Foods to Avoid: Expectant Mom’s Guide
Motherhood is not at all a walkover but it is definitely worth the tons of joys and pleasures a mom receives after meeting her new born. When you are an expectant mother, a life is growing inside you and you become responsible like never before. The dietary control doesn’t remain a choice anymore, it becomes a duty. Here is a curated list of dietary elements that are a big NO during pregnancy. Check them out.
Foods which are Unhealthy for Pregnant Women
Fishes High in Mercury: Not Good
Fishes are usually rich in Phosphorus and Calcium which is recommended by the dieticians for good health but there is a selection of fishes with high Mercury proportion in them. Such fishes are strictly prohibited for the expectant moms. Methylmercury is very harmful to the nervous system, especially during pregnancy. Mercury is not a nutrient that can help your baby grow healthy if eaten often during your trimesters. It is considered as contamination that is good to avoid. (Reference)
Well, this contamination is inside the fishes and the fishes are so yummy! What to do now? It’s good to keep the fishes like mackerel, tilefish and swordfish away from your radar if you are expecting a baby. However, you can go for the low mercury containing fishes like salmon, tuna, shrimp, catfish, to name a few. It won’t be a smart idea to avoid eating fishes at all during the pregnancy as FDA suggests eating 8 to 12 ounces per week for everyone for a vibrant health.
To know more about the Safe to Eat Fish in India: Read this
Raw Egg/ Raw Meat / Raw Fish: Not at All
For eggs, it’s very important to cook them properly when it is going to be included in the diet of an expectant mom. The uncooked eggs and meat generally contain salmonella bacteria which can cause food poisoning. For the pregnant women, it is advised to cook the eggs, meat or poultry products properly so that the expectant mom only gets the nutrients and not any contamination. Not only the uncooked eggs and meats but the recipes using these raw elements should also be avoided during pregnancy. Try to store the eggs in refrigerator at 40°F and cook them till they reach 160°F. The same goes with the raw fish. There are many recipes that include the use of raw fishes but it’s better to put some barriers on your taste buds. The raw fish usually contains high mercury proportion which is very harmful to the expectant the mother and the baby.
Unpasteurized Dairy: These are Harmful
It is advised to avoid the raw milk or unpasteurized dairy products for the expectant moms as there is a huge risk of being affected by the Listeria monocytogenes. These are lethal pathogens that affect the health of the mom and baby severely. The boiling milk at high temperature eradicates the microbes present in it. There were thousands of cases related to Listeria monocytogenes infections in the expectant moms in US and some other nations few years back. FDA has strictly prohibited the use of unpasteurized dairy products for pregnant women. Other well-known organizations like CDC and USDA are also against the intake of unpasteurized dairy products during pregnancy. The mommies-to-be should also be careful while choosing the right cheese for them. There are branded and local, both types of cheese available out there but the cheese made of raw milk or containing any sort of contamination can harm the expectant moms. It’s better to have a glance at the label and pick the products from the reputed brands only.
No Junk Foods, Oily food, too much spicy food, Alcohol and No Smoking
The calorie needs of women increase during the pregnancy, especially the second trimester onwards till the childbirth. This doesn’t mean that she should go for high calorie junk foods. The junk foods don’t have the essential nutrients that an expectant mother needs. The usually contain empty calories encouraging obesity. For what good is the food which doesn’t contribute to the health but only fat? Constant eating of junk foods may even cause type-2 diabetes in pregnant women. The expectant moms should also avoid the spicy and oily foods as a small fraction of such foods reaches the mom’s amniotic fluid and hence affects the baby.
Pregnancy is a crucial time when a strict control over the dietary regime should be followed. Whole grains, pasteurized dairy products, well-cooked eggs, salmon, sweet potatoes are some of the great alternatives to junk food that every pregnant woman should consider for her and her baby’s good health.
Moreover, it has been noticed and studies also confirm this phenomenon that whatever mother chooses for her diet during pregnancy has a great influence on the baby when he/she grows. All the fluid consumed by the mom goes to the baby through the umbilical cord. The consumption of alcohol should be stopped during the pregnancy as it may affect the baby’s health seriously. Smoking should also be stopped till the childbirth as it may give birth to the respiratory troubles like Asthma in your baby.
Green Papaya? Hold on!
If you are an expectant mom, you will be open fired with too many suggestions by the elder people around. It’s true that the pregnant women are suggested to eat green leaves and veggies but there is little exclusion as well. Green papaya is one of the excluded green veggies that are often prohibited for the expectant moms. There are many facts and myths associated with this veggie. Mommas-to-be can eat ripe papaya as they are rich in Vitamin C and E but the unripe papayas are a big NO as they can cause the uterine contractions. It’s better to avoid the raw or unripe papaya during pregnancy rather than decoding the myths and discovering the truth behind the facts.
Canned Foods/Foods with Artificial Food Colors: Say NO!
Both the canned foods and the foods containing artificial colors to make it compelling are harmful to expectant moms. The lids of the cans are usually made of metals that rust when exposed to moisture. How can you take that much risk to offer the food to a pregnant woman that had contact with the rusted lid? Also, the foods using artificial colors or synthesizers are not at all recommended for pregnant women. Many canned foods like juice and salad dressings contain artificial colors and soda. The intake of chemicals can be very damaging for pregnant women.
Vit A Supplement: NOT NEEDED!
It’s often suggested for the expectant moms to take the foods rich in Vitamin A during their trimesters as its deficiency may lead to xerophthalmia, a health condition which dries out tear ducts and cause the vision issues like night blindness. On the other hand, if it is taken excessively, it may cause congenital birth defects. Actually, excess of anything may affect the fetal growth during pregnancy. A maximum of 5,000 IU of Vitamin A should be consumed by a pregnant woman. Studies say that consuming multivitamins of foods or supplements containing Vitamin A between 5,000 IU to 10,000 IU or even more give birth to unhealthy babies with several malformations related to lungs, eyes, skull and heart. It can also affect the spinal cord of the newborn. Well, everything related to consumption of Vitamin A is not threatening. Vitamin A from beta-carotene is considered as safe for moms-to-be.
Salt :Lesser is Better
Table salt is the elementary tastemaker and it contains sodium, a vital requirement of human body. It can’t be avoided. Normal people use table salt in small or big amount to satisfy their taste buds but in the case of pregnancy, it s suggested to cut down on the use of table salt. A balanced sodium level is very important for the expectant moms. Eating no salt at all can also backfire. The major issues faced by the pregnant women due to excess intake of salt are kidney troubles, increased level of calcium in body, hypertension, cardiovascular issues and more. The expectant moms should consume as little as 1.5 grams of sodium every day to avoid the health issues.
Sugar: Keep Away
More sugar means sweeter baby? Whoa! You must get your facts checked if you are inclining more towards the sugary food during your pregnancy. The most common health conditions caused due to high sugar intake are heart troubles. If your diet includes too much sugar during pregnancy then you and your child are at a severe risk of Type 2 diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular troubles.
Raw Bean Sprouts: Cook them first
Raw bean sprouts are tasty and healthy. You can prepare a slew of recipes using the green nutritious vegetable. But if you are pregnant then it’s better to say it a big NO. Salmonella and E. coli are the two major bacteria that make the raw sprouts harmful for an expectant woman. These bacteria usually cause various ailments to the mom and the growing life inside her. The primary health issues caused by E.coli and Salmonella include fever, nausea, diarrhea, to name a few.
Excess Sour Food: Control your Cravings
During pregnancy, the taste buds become bizarre and the expectant moms develop unusual cravings. Sour food is a common demand among the moms-to-be. The penchant for sour food develops from second trimester. The pregnant women often want to taste the sweet and sour food and fruits that seem irresistible to them. But, the bad news is that the sour food is not at all healthy and safe for the pregnant women. Consumption of acidic or sour food may deeply affect the growth of the fetus. There are many myths related to the sour food cravings during pregnancy including the deficiency of certain elements in the body, it determines the sex of the baby and lots of other bunkums. It’s quite normal to feel nausea, morning sickness and sour food cravings in the second and third trimesters and there is nothing so important to discover the science behind it.
Caffeine: Baby Says No
Who doesn’t love caffeine? It’s an exotic substance that fills the mind, body and soul with energy and helps the brain work faster. And, what about the use of caffeine during pregnancy? People often use high dose of caffeine when they feel too low and need to be charged up. Caffeine is a stimulant and it makes the heart beats go faster and amplifies the blood pressure level. During pregnancy, doctors suggest maximum rest and an expectant mom can’t take this much risk of experiencing high blood pressure or increased flow of urine. The other troubles faced by the pregnant women due to high caffeine intake are anemia and abnormal growth of the fetus. If you are a mom-to-be and addicted to tea, coffee or other caffeine food then you can go for small doses if you can’t say a Good Bye to it till your baby arrives.
Read: Healthy Alternatives to Caffeine
Wonderful Dietary Elements Healthy for Pregnant Women
• Almonds – For nutrient metabolizing the nutrients
• Oatmeals – Cuts down excess calcium in milk
• Curd and Yogurt – For better digestion
• Green Spinach – For DNA protection
• Milk – Resistance from Diabetes
• Walnuts – For optimum mental growth of the baby
• Broccoli – Skin’s glow also matters
• Avocado – Brings down the cholesterol level
• Red Beetroot – Development of body tissues
• Pomegranate – For hassle-free pregnancy
• Figs – Toxin removal from body
• Raggi – Improved blood transportation
• Carrots – Creates a shield from pollution and contamination
• Whole Wheat – Easy digestion and trouble-free pregnancy
• Sprouted Lentils (Cooked) – Protection from Anaemia during pregnancy
• Sweet Potatoes – For healthy nervous system
• Oranges – For strong bones
• Bell Peppers – For healthy vision
Women loving non-veg food can also end their day on a happy note trying these healthy items like
• Egg White
• Salmon and other fishes with low mercury
• Chicken Protein
Read more: Foods for Healthy Pregnancy
Well, Dietary Control is Not the Last Thing
During pregnancy, these are few additional safety tips to be followed –
• Avoid the food prepared outside. Prefer homemade fresh and hygienic food
• Stay Away from the areas exposed to chemicals like factories, places under painting, paste control
• Avoid exercises which are effective for weight loss and toning muscles
• Say No to negative and stressed mind state
• Get rid of the unhealthy sleeping schedule
• Avoid long time standing or sitting (Postures bad for blood circulation)
Just a few small measures and control and experience a smooth pregnancy. All the three trimesters are a sweet and sour experience for a mom-to-be. The pregnancy should be taken positively and every valuable moment should be lived on the edge as it’s not an everyday experience. The aforementioned dietary and general tips can help you enjoy a trouble-free pregnancy and welcome a healthy and smart baby on this earth.
Read : Diet Plan for Pregnant Women