Whether planning for pregnancy, already pregnant, or just delivered a baby, food plays a vital role in the health of the mother as well as the child. While there are many foods that nourish the mother and the baby, and we all focus on it, it is also important to focus on the foods that may cause harm to the child or the mother. Certain foods may pose serious risks and therefore pregnant women or those who are planning for pregnancy must keep these in mind. Medplus brings to you the top list of foods that you need to avoid:
Mercury has the ability to affect the brain development of the baby which is why, it is suggested to completely avoid fish types with heavy mercury contents. Sushi, mackerel, sharks, swordfish, tilefish are few of the top fishes with high mercury traces and are thus to be avoided completely. Fishes may as well be carrying seaborne diseases, thus it is best to keep them away from the mother’s diet. Also, raw, undercooked or contaminated seafood may pose risks to the fetus (aka fetus) and should not be consumed.
2. Unwashed Fruits and Vegetables:
Fruits and vegetables are exposed to a lot of pesticides and herbicides, and they may also contain pathogens like Toxoplasma gondii and listeria bacteria. These may lead to food poisoning and also pose a threat to the baby’s development. Always wash the fruits and vegetables under running water and avoid eating raw vegetables like cabbage, lettuce, etc. it is suggested to cook all the vegetables and even leafy vegetables before consuming. Also, don’t store fruits and vegetables for a longer time.
Papaya is rich in latex and is a natural contraceptive; the compounds in papaya may trigger uterine contractions and can cause abortion. Black grapes increase heat in the body which is harmful to the baby. The bromelain found in pineapple will soften the cervix and may lead to pre-term labor. And also eggplant may stimulate menses so it is advised not to eat these particular fruits and vegetables.
Eating raw meat can contribute to the transfer of Toxoplasma infection from the mother to the child. Prolonged exposure to this infection will lead to blindness and mental disability in the baby.
4. Raw Sprouts and Nuts:
Raw sprouts and nuts may contain certain harmful bacteria which may cause bacterial infections and lower the growth rate of the fetus (aka fetus). Some women develop allergy with certain nuts in the long-run and so it is advised to consult a doctor before taking nuts.
Consuming alcohol when pregnant will lead to a condition called Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) in which the baby will be born with a range of lifelong physical and intellectual disabilities. This happens because the alcohol consumed by the mother will go into the foetus without being filtered.
6. Herbal Tea and Herbal Supplements:
Some herbal supplements may trigger pre-term labor and may also lead to miscarriage. Moreover, the benefits of herbal tea and supplements on pregnancy are not proved in scientific study so it is better not to take them during pregnancy.
7. Spicy Food:
Spicy food will cause heartburn in most of the people and this risk will be increased in pregnant women thereby also causing morning sickness, so it is better not to eat spicy food and if at all you do, drink a glass of warm milk or a tablespoon of honey immediately.
8. Vitamin Supplements:
Vitamin supplements should not be taken without the doctor’s advice. The normal growth of the foetus will be negatively affected with excessive vitamin intake. This may even lead to pre-term labor.
Caffeine causes you to get dehydrated by excessive urination. It is very essential to be hydrated always. Especially during pregnancy, being dehydrated may harm the child. It is also associated with low-birth, still-birth, and abortions.
10. Unpasteurized Milk and Cheese:
Unpasteurized dairy products contain pathogens that are harmful to your health, which causes vomiting and diarrhoea. Unpasteurized soft cheese will most often contain listeria bacterium which may lead to neural tube defects in the baby, so choose the hard varieties of cheese like cheddar, swiss and so on. Always go for fresh and boiled food products.
11. Raw or Soft Boiled Eggs:
Raw or soft boiled eggs may contain a bacterium called salmonella which will lead to food poisoning in pregnant women. It may also lead to diarrhea (aka diarrhoea) and vomiting. It is advised to avoid desserts and other food items made with raw eggs.
12. Nitrate Rich Foods:
Nitrate reacts with hemoglobin (aka haemoglobin) in the blood and from modified proteins which will interfere with the body’s ability to supply oxygen to the placenta. Foods high in nitrate content are diet sodas, sausages, artificial sweeteners, and added flavors.
13. Artificial Sweeteners and Canned Foods:
Artificial sweeteners are not good for health even if you are not pregnant. The mother’s placenta does not filter the artificial sweeteners and this means that your child will directly consume these harmful compounds.
Canned food is full of preservatives and artificial flavors to enhance shelf-life and taste. They may also contain bacteria and viruses and the walls of the can may contain bisphenol A which may affect the endocrine system of the baby.
14. Processed Junk Food:
Junk food is very tasty and tempting but it is low in nutrition and high in calories, it also has many added preservatives and high levels of sugar which may lead to increased risk of heart diseases and type-2 diabetes in both the mother and the child. Further, many studies have reported that pregnant women who consume more junk food while pregnant will probably gain unnecessary weight and also give birth to a baby with overweight.