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List Of Food And Drinks You Should Avoid During Pregnancy

A healthy diet and proper hydration are particularly important during pregnancy. And when you are pregnant, it is inevitable for the food cravings to NOT arrive. These food cravings are commonly observed during the first trimester of the pregnancy. The undeniable urge to eat something can make any pregnant woman restless. However, food cravings can be towards a particular dish or towards anything.

For example, many pregnant women have the cravings to eat sweet, spicy or junk food. However, when you are pregnant, you need to be careful about what you eat. Too much of spicy, processed, salty etc. foods can be harmful to not only your health - but also your baby's.

So, we have gathered a list of foods and drinks that you should avoid during pregnancy.


1. Raw Eggs

Consuming raw eggs can increase a pregnant woman's risk intaking of the Salmonella bacteria that can cause fever, nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps, and diarrhoea [1]. In some cases, the bacterial infection caused by Salmonella can cramps in the uterus, leading to premature birth or stillbirth [2].

Avoid poached eggs, homemade mayonnaise, cake icing, hollandaise sauce, sunny-side-up and make sure to cook eggs thoroughly.


2. Caffeine

You MUST give up your daily cups of coffee, tea and cocoa because caffeine, when consumed, gets absorbed very quickly and passes easily into the placenta. This can restrict foetal growth and increase the risk of low birth weight at delivery [3]. Pregnant people are generally advised to limit their caffeine intake to less than 200 milligrams (mg) per day [4].


3. Raw Sprouts

Alfalfa, clover, radish, and mung bean sprouts are naturally healthy but eating raw sprouts when pregnant can lead to delivery complications as raw sprouts may contain Salmonella [5]. Bacteria - including Salmonella, Listeria, and E. coli - can get into sprout seeds through cracks in the shell.


4. Organ Meat

It is best to stick to lean meat at the time of pregnancy, as it is healthier and contains less fat when compared to meats like beef, mutton, and pork. Gaining pregnancy weight is unhealthy for you as well as for the foetus [6].


5. Undercooked/Raw Fish

Foods like sushi are not safe to be consumed by a pregnant woman [7]. Raw fish, especially shellfish, can cause viral, bacterial, or parasitic infections. These infections can cause dehydration and weakness. Doctors advise a pregnant woman to completely avoid raw fish and shellfish and the complications premature delivery, miscarriage, stillbirth, and other serious health problems [8].


6. Mercury-rich Fish

Kinds of seafood like mackerel anchovies, cod, flounder, haddock, salmon, tilapia, and trout have a high content of mercury, that is extremely harmful to the baby's brain development. It is best to control your seafood intake and only stick to lean meats that are high in protein and are healthy [9].


7. Unwashed/Raw Vegetables

Unwashed or unpeeled fruits and vegetables may be contaminated with several bacteria and parasites that include Toxoplasma, E. coli, Salmonella, and Listeria [10]. Fruits and vegetables can get contaminated during production, harvest, processing, storage, transportation, or retail. Eating unwashed produce can cause blindness or intellectual disabilities in the child.


8. Unpasteurised Dairy

Raw milk, unpasteurised cheese, and other unpasteurised dairy products contain an array of harmful bacteria which can cause life-threatening consequences for an unborn baby [11]. To minimise the risk of infections, eat only pasteurised dairy products.


9. Processed Junk Foods

Processed junk food is generally low in nutrients and high in calories, sugar, and added fats [12]. While weight gain during pregnancy is entirely normal, excess weight gain has been linked to many complications, including an increased risk of gestational diabetes, as well as pregnancy or birth complications.


10. Alcohol

Consuming alcohol when you are pregnant can increase the risk of miscarriage and stillbirth and can affect the baby's brain development [13]. Whatever the quantity, alcohol is a strict no-no for an expectant mother.

Apart from the above-mentioned foods to avoid for pregnancy, the following may also cause health problems in pregnant mothers:

• Capers
• Liquorice
• Hing (asafoetida)


On A Final Note…

The foods and drinks mentioned in this article are types of foods that are generally harmful to pregnant women. Some women may develop complications from other foods also. It is essential that you stick to your diet plan and visit your gynaecologist regularly.

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