List the unsafe food during pregnancy. What are its effects?

A well balanced meal is important at all times, but it is even more essential during pregnancy. There are essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that are essential for the development of the baby

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Most women have crazy food cravings during pregnancy.  These cravings are perfectly normal and to a certain extent healthy. The cravings are simply the body’s way to show that it needs more nourishment. There are unique cravings for pickles and peanut butter for breakfast, noodles with chocolate sauce at night and a sudden hunger for ice cream in the middle of the night. These cravings do not pose any health problem to the mother or to the baby.

But there are certain foods that must be avoided during pregnancy, even if there is a craving for them. These foods contain certain chemicals and are dangerous to the mother and the baby. They also interfere with the development of the baby in the womb and can cause serious infections

List of foods to avoid during your pregnancy and their effects

  • Shark, swordfish, king mackerel, tilefish, and albacore tuna—most fishes   are an excellent choice during pregnancy as they are rich in protein and Omega 3 fatty acids.   Some fishes contain a high level of methyl mercury. These fishes are shark, swordfish, king mackerel and tuna are to be avoided during pregnancy as mercury can lurk in the blood stream for more than a year.
  • Fishes with low mercury levels like  shrimp, light tuna, salmon and catfish are safe to be eaten during pregnancy, but doctors recommend that the intake of these fishes must be limited to just six ounces per week.
  • Raw or under cooked fish or meats–   Raw meats can be contaminated with certain disease carrying bacteria which can cause mild discomfort in healthy persons, but for pregnant women they can become the cause of miscarriage, stillbirth or even a premature delivery. All meats must be cooked on high temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Meats and fish must be stored in the fridge at minimum 40 degrees Fahrenheit to avoid bacteria contamination.
  • Rice and rice products – Rice which is particularly brown rice has an unimpeachable staple of a wholesome diet for many decades. Its reputation has endured through trends ranging from macrobiotic to vegan to gluten free. But, white rice is even accepted by some grain free advocates as it is safe starch. Because water grown rice sucks up everything in its soil and that includes potentially troubling levels of arsenic. Organic arsenic is naturally occurring, and the more toxic inorganic arsenic is usually resided from unrelated industrial agriculture.
  • Deli meats—Deli meats can carry Listeria causing bacteria which causes a deadly infection to the baby in the placenta.  Salami sandwiches need to be completely avoided during pregnancy. The craving for deli sandwich can be fulfilled by steaming the meat before making the sandwich.
  • Soft cheeses and unpasteurized milk and juices—Unpasteurized milk and milk products like soft cheese and some fresh  juices contain the bacteria that cause Listeria.
  • Raw eggs – Raw eggs are rich in salmonella, which is dangerous to babies in your womb. So, try to avoid eating raw eggs because of the potential exposure to salmonella. They are used in Caesar dressings, mayonnaise, hollandaise sauces, and homemade ice cream or custards. Some in the form of ice cream, dressings, and eggnog which are made with pasteurized eggs and that do not increase the risk of salmonella. In restaurants pasteurized eggs are used in the form of raw eggs as hollandaise sauce or dressings. Make sure while eating outside foods as it causes harm to your baby.
  • Unwashed fruits and vegetables, salad bars, and raw vegetable sprouts—most raw vegetables contain Listeria causing bacteria.  Pregnant women must avoid spinach, lettuce, raw   vegetable sprouts like radish and clover to be safe from these bacteria. It is important to wash fruits and vegetables with warm water before eating and even before cooking them.
  • Caffeine–   The intake coffee and other caffeinated beverages must be limited to just two cups a day. But bet is to avoid it.
  • Microwave popcorn – Microwave popcorn is harmful to your baby. Because each microwavable bag is coated internally with fluorotelomers, a miraculous, substance and much loved in the packaging industry for its ability to repeal liquid and oil. When you expose them to high temperature, fluorotelomers break down into PFOA, which is a compound transmitted directly to the fetus and linked to development problems. It also affects cancer, liver disease, and thyroid disease.
  • Alcohol—Alcohol should be avoided during pregnancy as the alcohol passes directly into the placenta and to the baby.  This prenatal exposure of alcohol to the baby can lead to the impairment of the baby’s development and can also cause permanent brain damage.
  • Herbal teas and remedies—certain herbs like a mugwartand golden seal can cause uterine contractions. Herbal teas should also be avoided as they can have an adverse effect on the unborn child.
  • Non organics apples – Non-organic apples have standard shoppers hoping to minimize their pesticide exposure, even if they can’t afford to buy pure organic. If the apples are stored and fermented with chemicals and if you eat them, your baby will be harmed due to that chemical. So, it is better to avoid them.
  • Everything else in moderation—It is fine eating most foods in moderation during pregnancy. It is said that a pregnant woman should eat for two, but that does not mean she should eat double the amount of calories and nourishment in the diet.  It is advised that a pregnant woman needs just 300 extra calories per day, which is equivalent to an extra chicken sandwich, bagel bread or a glass of orange juice.  Extra food deposits in the pregnant woman’s as fat and can make her feel tired and achy.  There are chances of the deposited food remaining on her even after pregnancy.
  • Liver and Vitamin A – It is recommended to avoid liver or liver products, such as liver pate or liver sausage. Because liver contains lots of Vitamin A and is too much harm to your baby. Vitamin A is rich in fish liver oil, so try to avoid high dose multivitamin supplements and any supplements that contains Vitamin A.

 Conclusion—a pregnant woman need not be deprived of the foods of her choice. She can eat whatever she enjoys but with a few simple precautions in limiting the amount of particular foods and in cooking certain foods in the correct way.

Hindi version ]

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