There is much that you should be eating during pregnancy, much that you may crave and much that you may develop an aversion to. But what are the foods to avoid during pregnancy and why? We look at what foods to specifically avoid during pregnancy and the reasons behind this:
1. Alcohol – Though there are studies to show that small amounts of alcohol may be harmless in pregnancy, experts now opine that no amount of alcohol can be considered safe during pregnancy. So as a matter of caution, alcohol should be part of the list of foods to avoid during pregnancy.
2. Caffeinated beverages – Small amounts of caffeine are probably quite OK to have in pregnancy, but if you are a heavy coffee or tea drinker, consider switching to decaf or limit the amount that you have each day to just a cup or two.
Sugary caffeinated drinks and sodas are probably not a good idea simply because they have no nutritional value and consist of empty calories.
3. Deli meats – These sometimes carry the danger of listeria which could cause a miscarriage or an infection to the baby and could even be life threatening in some cases. If you don’t want to give deli meats during pregnancy at least make sure that you heat them through or re-cook them before eating.
4. Unpasteurized dairy products – Soft cheeses (such as Camembert, Feta, Brie, Gorgonzola, Roquefort, and Mexican style cheeses that include queso blanco and queso fresco) are among the foods to avoid during pregnancy. Unpasteurized milk is also to be avoided because of the risk of listeria.
5. Raw food or semi-cooked items – Sushi, raw shellfish, raw eggs or sauces, desserts and dressings that contain raw eggs should be avoided during pregnancy because of the risk of salmonella. No raw meat or partly cooked meat is safe to have in pregnancy. Similarly avoid pate because it is made from uncooked or semi cooked meat and organ meat.
6. Fish with high mercury content – There are certain fish that are known to contain higher proportions of mercury. Sword fish, shark, tile fish and king mackerel are part of the list of foods to avoid during pregnancy because mercury is known to be associated with birth defects.
7. Unwashed vegetables – We have raw veggies in different forms such as salads and so on, but it is important to have these only after thorough washing, otherwise there is the slight chance of toxoplasmosis (if present in the soil where the vegetables were grown) exposure.
8. Foods with pesticides, preservatives and additives – Try to eat organic while you’re expecting and to relegate processed foods loaded with additives and preservatives to the list of foods to avoid during pregnancy.
9. Herbal teas – Don’t assume that it is safe because it’s herbal. Many herbs such as goldenseal, mugwort and pennyroyal are known to cause uterine contractions, so avoid any herbal teas or medications that are not specifically cleared by your doctor.
10. Food for two – Too much food is also to be avoided during pregnancy. The old wives’ tale about eating for two is just that: an old wives’ tale.