Congratulations on getting those two red lines on your pregnancy strip! It’s definitely a time for celebration, but with that, it also calls for a strict healthy lifestyle. And when we are talking about a healthy lifestyle, it not only includes exercises and a balanced diet but also consists of knowing about the worst foods during pregnancy that you should avoid at all costs.
From posing risky situations for you to rising certain infections for your unborn baby, these foods can result in several adverse situations during your pregnancy. Want to know about them? Read along.
Mercury is mostly found in oceans, seas and streams. When it is consumed via fishes like shark, tilefish and swordfish, it gets converted to methylmercury, a neurotoxin that is linked to brain damage and even developmental delays among babies. Instead of choosing seafood, choose fishes like salmon, cod and catfish.
Opt for fishes that are enriched with Omega-3 and have lesser mercury levels. As per FDA warnings, it is advised for expecting women, to consume low-mercury fishes for up to 12 ounces per week.
2. Raw or unpasteurized juices or milk
There can be many who claim the benefits of raw milk and juices. However, contrary to these popular beliefs, there can be actual serious risks associated with them. The main reason behind this is listeriosis, a typical bacterial infection; an infection can actually pose serious risks for you and your baby, especially when you’re pregnant because it is during this time when you have a suppressed immune system.
Listeria Monocytogenes is a kind of bacterium that generally lurks in raw or unpasteurized dairy products, juices and other foods. It becomes worse when you refrigerate these foods. This is the core reason due to which pregnant women are advised to completely avoid such beverages.
3. Refrigerated meats
No, it’s not just refrigerated beverages where listeria can grow. It’s the same with deli meats that are similarly stored in refrigerators. These meats include turkey, bologna, hot dogs, turkey and roast beef. If you do have their cravings, just make sure to heat them up to 165 degrees of Fahrenheit, before consuming them.
Likewise, the same issue applies to refrigerated smoked seafood, deli salads like ham salads, coleslaw, potato salad and meat spreads. Canned or shelf-stable meats or even seafood can be, to a certain extent, safe. However, these comprise of sodium, that too in high levels. This makes them instead rather an unsafe choice during your pregnancy period.
4. Raw or undercooked fish, meat, shellfish, poultry and eggs
The main risks that are associated with undercooked or raw food are due to Salmonella and Toxoplasma, kinds of bacteria and parasite respectively. Both of them can result in serious health issues and can consecutively infect your foetus or unborn baby.
While consuming veal, pork or lamb, check if they reach up to 145 F degrees. For ground meat and poultry, make sure they reach at least 160 to 165 degrees, respectively. While consuming eggs, ensure that their yolks are firm enough. For foods containing eggs, let the dishes reach up to 160 degrees.
Sauces that are made with raw eggs such as hollandaise sauces and Caesar salad dressing should be avoided at all costs. In case you do make foods that need raw eggs, make use of a product that has pasteurized egg in it. While making cookie dough or even cake batter, try resisting at every cost to lick off that uncooked stuff.
In case you dine out, order to get your meat, eggs and seafood to be completely cooked. Also, don’t forget to avoid the aforementioned sauces.
5. Raw and unwashed produce and sprouts
Raw sprouts and unwashed or bruised veggies are yet again a big “No!” Cracks in sprout shells easily let bacteria get into them. Since, sprouts, in most cases, aren’t cooked, there thus turns no way to eliminate these bacteria. Thus, it’s always safe to completely avoid foods raw radish, clover and alfalfa.
As for the unwashed veggies are concerned, Toxoplasma gondii is the primary reason. It is a typical microscopic parasite that can infect your placenta, and of course, your unborn baby. Always remember to wash your veggies thoroughly a couple of times before cooking them. Avoid the bruised parts of fruits and vegetables as damaged parts can be a good place for bacteria to thrive in.
6. Unpasteurized cheese
The only thing that you need to look for in cheese is its pasteurization. While mozzarella, as well as feta, may often claim to be pasteurized, they may NOT be. If the cheese is homemade, ask its maker how it’s done. If in doubt, just skip it. Like refrigerated meats, unpasteurized cheese too can contain listeria. Play safe by opting for cheddar cheese or Swiss cheese.
7. Caffeinated drinks
Caffeine takes a prolific rank among the worst foods during pregnancy. Caffeine, when taken in small amounts, to a certain extent, can be safe for pregnant women. This includes having not more than two coffee cups in a day. However, pregnant women who have high blood pressure and anxiety issues, complete abandonment should be followed as caffeine can simply aggravate your condition.
Same is applied for caffeinated energy drinks. For drinks that have natural energy boosters like green tea extract and guarana, their consumption has not been yet proven safe. Thus, it’s better to completely abstain them.
8. Unripe papaya
Green or unripe papaya has a typical kind of latex substance which can be instrumental in triggering uterine contractions. The latex, thus found, are known to act like oxytocin and prostaglandin hormones, which are known to be involved in starting labour. Thus, it’s better to completely keep unripe papaya, generally found in Thai restaurants’ menus, at bay.
9. Foods with trans fats
Among the leading worst foods during pregnancy, foods that have transfats in them also take a major rank. These foods have multiple adverse consequences such as increasing LDL cholesterol and resulting to even lower birth weights. Avoid fried foods, frosting, pancake mixes, margarine and even biscuits as much as possible.
10. Sneaky sugars
No, it’s not about the naturally occurring sugars. We are talking about those sugars that are added purposely to foods for enhancing their tastes. Excess sugar can be, in fact, fatal for pregnant women who already have gestational diabetes. Foods where added sugar generally hides include bread, frozen meals, snacks, salad dressings and cereals.
11. Sodium rich foods
Pregnancy generally makes women more prone to not just swelling but also water retention. Try keeping your sodium intake to a maximum of 2300 mg in a day as excess sodium can simply make your situation worse. Avoid foods like frozen meals, canned soups, shelf-stable snacks, rolls and bread.
Avoid these listed worst foods during pregnancy and instead, include tonnes of fresh fruits and veggies and, of course, stay hydrated. With a healthy lifestyle, you and your little one can indeed go a long way.