You might just crave for all the mouth-watering dishes in the world and go bonkers about it when you’re pregnant, but controlling your taste buds for a few months and being extra careful about your diet can be beneficial for your child. One way to ensure a healthy pregnancy is by closely monitor on what you put in your body. Most foods are indeed safe for pregnant mums to eat, but, at the same time there are some foods that they need to strictly avoid because of the dangers they pose to their unborn baby. Let’s find out what are the top 10 foods to avoid during pregnancy.
The pregnancy journey is never easy. It requires a small level of sacrifice and discipline, from avoiding harmful and unnecessary chemicals to remembering to take the prenatal vitamins. The food that pregnant women consume is one of the important things that they must pay careful attention. A balanced diet not only contributes to a healthy weight gain, but it can also help in the relief of pregnancy symptoms including nausea and constipation.
While John Hopkins Medicine recommends an additional 300 calories per day for a healthy pregnancy, that doesn’t mean you should eat everything on a buffet spread, mums. In a nutshell, these extra calories can come from nutrient-dense foods. For example, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and proteins.
Now, help yourself with our roundup of foods to avoid during pregnancy and why you should avoid them in the first place!
Top 10 Foods To Avoid During Pregnancy
1. Raw Seafood
Okay mummies, you may have to wait until after you give birth to eat sushi again. This is because pregnant women are more susceptible to infections caused by bacteria and parasites such as E.coli, Listeria, and Salmonella when they eat undercooked or raw fish.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), pregnant women are up to “10 times more likely” to get infected by Listeria. It can be harmful for pregnant women because it can cause miscarriages, stillbirths, and even death in newborns.
Mums, don’t worry, you can still eat your sushi! Just make sure that the seafood is cooked.
2. Unpasteurised Dairy Products
When you eat unpasteurised dairy products, you are exposing yourself to listeria and other bacteria. As previously stated, listeriosis may result in miscarriage or stillbirth. So, which dairy products should you avoid? Soft cheeses like brie, camembert, and gorgonzola should be avoided in general. You should also avoid unpasteurised cow’s milk and goat’s milk.
Tip: Only consume pasteurised dairy products and a lways double-check the label.
3. Excessive Caffeine
Caffeine is safe to consume during pregnancy, but it should be consumed in moderation because too much caffeine can interfere with fetal growth. According to most experts, caffeine consumption should not exceed 200 mg per day, which is around a cup and a half of coffee. It’s also important to keep in mind that we’re not only talking about coffee here; we’re also talking about other caffeinated beverages.
Tip: Any time you want a cup of coffee, use a smaller cup so you can quickly reduce your caffeine intake. Another way to reduce the caffeine in your coffee is to add milk, which is also a good source of calcium!
4. Raw Eggs
If you’re pregnant, it’s time to put your love for poached eggs on hold! This is due to the risk of Salmonella bacteria being present in raw eggs, which can cause food poisoning.
Salmonella infections in pregnant women may result in preterm labor or stillbirth. It’s important to remember that it isn’t just over easy or lightly scrambled eggs that you should be wary of, but also foods such as hollandaise sauce, some salad dressings or homemade mayonnaise.
Tip: To be safe, cook your eggs thoroughly or use pasteurised eggs.
5. Fish High in Mercury
Mercury is highly poisonous and has been labelled a global pollutant, according to reports. When a developing baby inside the womb is exposed to mercury, it may cause developmental problems. Larger fishes usually has higher mercury levels in their systems than smaller fishes. As a precaution, it’s highly recommended that you remove these fishes from your diet when you’re pregnant, planning to get pregnant or breastfeeding:
- King Mackerel
- Bigeye Tuna
- Tilefish from the Gulf of Mexico
- Orange Roughy
Tip: Fish can still be a nutritious part of a pregnant woman’s diet! Tilapia, herring, salmon, trout, anchovy, cod, and flounder are some of the best and safest fish to eat during pregnancy.
Alcohol is a major no-no during pregnancy and should be avoided at all costs! CDC stated that alcohol consumption during the first three months of pregnancy, “may cause the baby to have irregular facial features.”
Outside these crucial months, alcohol can still negatively impact pregnancy and cause low birth weight, behaviour problems in children, increased risk of miscarriage and stillbirth, and sudden infant death syndrome.
Tip: All types of alcohol is dangerous during pregnancy. If you hadn’t been trying to get pregnant but found out you are, stop drinking alcohol immediately.
7. Raw & Undercooked Meats
With the chance of dangerous bacteria and parasite infections such as E.coli, Salmonella, Campylobacter, and Toxoplasma gondii, now is not the time to order your favourite medium-rare steak, mums! Even if you don’t feel sick, the latter is especially dangerous because it can cause hearing loss, blindness, intellectual disability, and brain or eye defects in your baby.
Tip: When eating out, make sure to ask for your meats to be fully cooked. When cooking meats at home, make sure they’re thoroughly washed and cooked to the right internal temperature.
8. Raw Sprouts
Salads are normally safe to eat when pregnant (they’re already super healthy), but raw sprouts? Not really. Sprouts, you see, grow from seeds in a humid climate, which is ideal for bacteria like Salmonella, Listeria, and E. coli to grow. Raw sprouts should be avoided by children, the elderly, pregnant women, and those with weak immune systems, according to the FDA.
Tip: Simply washing raw sprouts is not enough to get rid of bacteria. If you want to eat it, make sure it’s not just washed well but also cooked thoroughly.
9. Too Much Sugar
Who doesn’t like sweets? However, eating too much sugar is never a good idea. Mums should avoid eating too much sugar when pregnant for numerous of reasons. Excessive sugar intake, for example, has been related to increased weight gain, increased risk of gestational diabetes, low birth weight, and many more.
Tip: Consume small snacks in between meals to combat sugar cravings. To make you feel fuller, eat more fibre or snack on fruits instead. You can, however, indulge in a small amount of chocolate every now and then. For example, one or two tiny squares of a chocolate bar should suffice to satisfy the cravings.
10. Deli Meats
Listeria can also be found in processed meats such as hot dogs, deli meats, and sausages. Contamination of deli meats may occur during processing or storage.
Tip: It’s still fine to indulge in your favourite salami sandwich every once in a while, mums. But when you do, make sure that you reheat it until it’s steaming hot to ensure any bacteria on the meat is killed.
While there are certain foods to avoid while pregnant (and only a handful are entirely off-limits), the rest can be safely consumed as long as they are prepared in a clean environment and thoroughly cooked. Just remember to keep your mouth and teeth clean with Mama’s Choice Non-Fluoride Toothpaste and Mama’s Choice Alcohol-Free Mouthwash after every meal. Available on Shopee and Lazada.
Kidding aside, mums, when you’re struggling to rein in your love for caffeine or sushi, remember that you’re doing it for the sake of your little one. Have a worry-free pregnancy!
Mama's Choice Team
The Mama's Choice MY team is consisted of 4 beautiful mamas who are strong and dedicated in being the support system that many mamas need these days. <3