While it is important to eat healthily during pregnancy, it is equally vital to avoid certain foods during pregnancy which can be harmful to your unborn baby and can cause serious health issues and even miscarriages.
Here the foods to avoid for pregnant women
1. Raw meat and seafood (including sushi and sashimi)
Undercooked or raw seafood (including sushi and sashimi), beef or poultry are off limits during pregnancy due to the risk of food poisoning by contamination of parasites and bacteria. It has been advised that even opting for the fully cooked seafood sushi options should also be avoided due to potential cross contamination.
2. Seafood containing high mercury
Certain fish especially large fishes such as shark, swordfish, king mackerel and tilefish can contain high levels of mercury which can affect the baby’s brain, vision and hearing.
As for low mercury fishes such as salmon, cod and trout, they are packed with zinc, vitamin B and omega 3 fatty acids which are nutritious for both mother and baby. However, as they still do contain mercury, they should be eaten in moderation during pregnancy.
3. Deli meat and smoked seafood
Deli meat such as ham, turkey and salami which are usually found in the deli section and also refrigerated smoked seafood such as salmon, mackarel and tuna should be avoided as it could be contaminated with listeria which can be harmful in pregnancy. Also, smoked seafood contains high level of salt which is not recommended during pregnancy.
4. Raw or undercooked eggs
Eggs should be cooked well until the egg whites and egg yolks are firm before eating. Homemade sauces such as mayonnaise, hollandaise sauce and homemade desserts such as ice cream should be avoided as they usually contain raw eggs which could contain Salmonella.
5. Unpasteurized cheese
Unpasteurized cheese such as soft, mould ripened cheeses like brie, camembert or blue veined cheeses are not safe for consumption during pregnancy as they are more likely to be contaminated with listeria as these types of cheese are moister and less acidic than other types of cheeses. It is safer to go for hard cheeses and soft processed cheeses made with pasteurized milk.
6. High levels of vitamin A
Food containing high levels of vitamin A is not recommended during pregnancy as it has been linked to multiple birth defects in the newborn. Examples of these are liver, pate or haggis. This is another reason why pregnant women or women who are trying to conceive should avoid the acne drug, isotretinoin/ ‘accutane’ as it contents high levels of vitamin A.
7. Caffeinated drinks
Caffeine can be found in drinks such as coffee, tea, soft drinks and energy drinks. While small amounts of caffeine may be safe in pregnancy, consuming more than 200mg of caffeine a day (average about 2 cups of coffee) has been linked in to increase risks of miscarriages and stillbirth. Other reasons to decrease caffeine consumption in pregnancy are it can also contribute to heartburn, increase urination, insomnia and also decrease absorption of iron. If possible, it is advisable to substitute caffeinated drinks with water, fruit juice or milk.
When you are pregnant, it is crucial to pay attention to what you eat especially the types of food to avoid as some food may be harmful to your unborn baby.
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