Pregnant women are notorious for their cravings, but can you blame them? They have a little human inside that sucks on their nutrients! However, if you are expecting a little one, you must be aware of what you can and can’t eat. There are many foods that are a no-no while pregnant. Hopefully, the list is not long. Okay, maybe a little long, but you will be thankful later on. Mumjunction brings you 27 foods that you must avoid during your pregnancy. It’s only nine months after all!
1. Fish containing mercury
Fish such as shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish have high mercury levels and they are a no-no. It’s due to the damage mercury can do to the human body. Mercury, an element found in oceans, streams, and lakes, converts into methylmercury in the human body, which is linked to brain damage and developmental delays in babies. You can still eat fish like salmon, catfish, cod, and canned light tuna, which have low mercury levels.
2. Smoked seafood
Don’t consume smoked and refrigerated seafood, which are labeled as lox, jerky, nova style and kippered as they contain Listeria monocytogenes bacteria. This bacteria could lead to an ilness or a miscarriage.
3. Fish exposed to industrial pollutants
Fish from local streams, lakes, and rivers contain polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). Overexposure to this may lead to a low birth weight of the baby, smaller head size, learning disabilities, and memory problems.
4. Raw shellfish
Avoid eating raw shellfish, including oysters, clams, and mussels so as to stay away from seafood-borne illnesses and food poisoning. You can still consume cokoed ones!
5. Raw or undercooked eggs
Never eat raw, undercooked, or soft-boiled eggs as they may contain harmful salmonella bacteria which cause food poisoning. You may get diarrhea, severe vomiting, headache, abdominal pain, and high temperature.
6. Raw meat and poultry
Consuming these may cause toxoplasmosis as it contains the Toxoplasma parasite. It also leads to flu-like symptoms that may eventually cause a miscarriage.
7. Deli meats
Deli and ready-to-eat meats, such as sandwich meat, cold cuts, lunch meat, hot dogs, and sliced meats are to be avoided. They may contain listeria bacteria, which can cause serious complications including fetal death.
8. Unpasteurized milk
It doesn’t have a nutritional advantage and it may contain harmful bacteria, including salmonella, listeria, E.coli, and cryptosporidium.
9. Soft cheese
Do not consume cheese like Camembert, Roquefort, Gorgonzola, brie, feta, blue cheese, queso fresco, queso blanco, and panela unless they are pasteurized.
10. Unwashed fruits and vegetables
Unwashed fruits and veggies carry Toxoplasma parasite that may do harm to your baby.
11. Raw sprouts
Raw sprouts such as clover, alfalfa, mung bean, radish, broccoli, sunflower, onion, soybean, and snow pea sprouts are to be avoided. They are highly prone to listeria, salmonella, and E.coli bacteria.
12. Certain fruits and vegetables
These should be avoided during pregnancy: papaya, black grapes, cabbage and lettuce, and eggplant, due to harmful effects on the unborn baby.
13. Foods that cause allergy
Soy, wheat, cow’s milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts (almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, more), fish, and shellfish should only be consumed if you are not allergic, which makes total sense.
14. Restaurant-made salads
Say no to restaurant-made salads, especially those having Caesar salad dressing, pre-made meats (ham, chicken salads), and seafood salads as they carry harmful microbes.
15. Unpasteurized juices
Unpasteurized fruit and vegetable juices may contain E.coli and salmonella bacteria.
16. Excess caffeine
Higher amounts of caffeine could increase the chance of a miscarriage. Limit your intake to 200mg a day.
17. Herbal teas and supplements
Some herbs such as ephedra, angelica, kava kava, yohimbe, black and blue cohosh, dong quai, borage oil, pennyroyal, and mugwort are uterine stimulants. You need to avoid them. Other herbs that are unsafe to use or ingest are aloe, ginseng, and evening primrose. Moreover, avoid green tea and wheatgrass juice as well.
18. Canned foods
These are harmful because they contain Bisphenol A (BPA), a toxic substance that affects the fetal endocrine activity and causes fertility problems, cancer, liver ailments, and heart diseases in pregnant women.
19. Nitrate-rich foods
Avoid sandwich meats, bacon, deli meats, sausages, salami, and hot dogs due to the nitrates. It may lead to cancer.
20. Sugar-rich foods
If you can, at least cut down on sugar-rich foods such as desserts, candies, cakes, ice creams, biscuits, chocolates, and sweetened beverages. They worsen pregnancy discomforts and can cause weight gain issues.
21. Street foods
Don’t crave too much! Some street food can increase the risk of infections, stomach problems, and food poisoning.
22. Fatty foods
Avoid trans-fats or hydrogenated fats including fast foods, processed foods, and takeaways such as crackers, cookies, frozen pizza, fried foods, margarine, and frosting. You may be at a risk of developing heart diseases, obesity, increased fetal growth, and preterm labor.
23. Artificial sweeteners
The safety of artificial sweeteners is still controversial. Some of the substances may lead to birth defects.
24. Excess of vitamins
Increasing nutrients is a great thing, but be careful about the dosage.
25. Homemade goodies
Do not eat homemade cookies as the raw dough used for cooking may harbor bacteria, which leads to food poisoning.
Avoid licorice (mulethi) during pregnancy as one of its components, glycyrrhizin, may cause several fetal developmental issues. The component impairs the placenta.
Hot or cold foods are also a no-no because they harbor bacteria.
Once the baby comes, here are some super foods that can boost the baby’s brain.