Pregnancy is arguably one the most magical period of any woman’s life, filled with glorious anticipation, fascinating physical developments, and an overwhelming flood of hormones which crave for the strangest of meal choices.
Unfortunately, you can’t just run around and eat whatever it is your heart desires because you are catering to two bodies. Instead, you have to be very particular about your diet, not only in regards to what you should be eating but also the types of foods you cannot. Use the following list to learn which meals may harm your baby and then steer clear of them.
- High-Mercury Fish
Mercury is a toxic substance which has long been feared to cause neurological damage in a growing fetus. This is why the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has warned against certain high-risk examples, such as swordfish, king mackerel, and tuna. However, other fish provide healthy omega-3 fatty acids for your baby, hence why one should not completely rule out seafood altogether. Educate yourself and speak to your doctor if you are unsure.
- Raw Fish
Any raw fish (including shellfish and sushi) may come with dangerous bacteria and parasites, which can result in a premature delivery or miscarriage. One of the scariest of these infections is called listeriosis which is 20 times more likely to strike a pregnant woman. This illness can reach the baby without the mother showing any noticeable symptoms herself.
- Cold Processed Meats
If you’re a fan of hotdogs or deli meat, then be warned that these foods are notorious for carrying various forms of bacteria (including Listeria), which can lead to serious health implications for your unborn baby. Thankfully, these microorganisms are easily killed by heat, which is why all meats need to be steaming hot before consumption.
- Raw Eggs
For many years, there was a huge concern surrounding raw eggs and their potential damage during a pregnancy due to a salmonella risk. However, as regulations have tightened, eggs are now considered much safer. That said, 4% of salmonella infections in pregnant women do run the risk of reaching the baby, hence why one should pay careful attention to food labels and always insist on pasteurized eggs. Lesser-known raw egg-related products include some types of mayonnaise, salad dressings, custards, ice creams, and cake icings.
- Excessive Supplements
Certain nutrients such as folic acid, iron, calcium, and biotin can become deficient during pregnancy, which means that these specific supplements might be beneficial to both the mother and her baby. However, excessive amounts of fat-soluble vitamins (such as vitamin A and E) are shown to be stored in the liver and can result in birth defects. Rather look at ways to absorpt those specific nutrients from your food alone.
While there appears to be no one-size-fits-all coffee solution, most studies agree that a 1 – 2 cups of coffee a day habit does not appear to show any adverse effects on a pregnancy. However, as caffeine can easily reach the fetus via the placenta, there are various concerns about stunting growth or miscarriages. Whenever possible, stick to decaffeinated coffee and avoid sodas too.
- Raw Sprouts
According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the biggest concern when it comes to raw sprouts is the pathogenic bacteria which contaminates the plant during the seed phase. Once this occurs, these microorganisms are just about impossible to wash off and can cause terrible infections for the mother and her baby. When it comes to any sprouts (such as broccoli, onions, soybeans, or radishes) either cook them thoroughly or avoid them completely.
- Unwashed Produce
No matter what the product, it should always be washed thoroughly to lessen the chance of any hazardous bacteria. One parasite named Toxoplasma is of particular danger, as it’s found in soil and presents no noticeable symptoms for the mother or her newborn. However, as the baby grows older, blindness and other brain problems can occur. For extra safety, always peel everything.
- Soft Cheeses
Unfortunately, there is a high probability of Listeria living in your soft cheeses. Listeria preys on the weakened immune system of a pregnant woman, causing a listeriosis infection known for miscarriages and stillbirths. Sadly, you have to empty your house of all camembert, brie, blue cheeses, feta etc, but feel free to tuck into those harder cheese variations.
Incorrectly written off as an old wives tale, the relationship between licorice consumption and baby development is still being warned about. The troublesome ingredient is called glycyrrhizin which can impair the placenta, often linked to premature birth, a lower IQ, and a higher blood pressure. Research has also shown that licorice can cause an earlier puberty onset for girls.