More foods can affect the health of an unborn baby than one might realize. Find out what foods to stay away from during pregnancy ( should be avoided during pregnancy ).
Most people know that eating healthy is important while pregnant. It is widely known that alcohol and caffeine should be avoided, but are there certain foods that should be avoided while pregnant? Understanding what foods to avoid during pregnancy can help in making the healthiest choices for both mother and baby.
The following foods should be avoided while pregnant:
Fish High In Mercury – food should be avoided while pregnant
Seafood can have many benefits to both the mother and baby. It is a great source of iron, and contains essential omega-3 fatty acids that promote healthy brain development in the baby. Unfortunately, many fish contain dangerous levels of mercury, and should therefore be avoided while pregnant. Methyl mercury is a neurotoxin and has been linked to neurological damage, developmental delays and learning disabilities. Fish to avoid would include:
- Sea Bass
- Tuna Steaks
The following fish are safe, but should be limited in consumption to no more than once a week:
- Canned tuna
- Mahi mahi
- Lake whitefish
These types of fish are safe to consume while pregnant, but it is still wise not to over-indulge in them:
- Wild pacific salmon
- Farm-raised trout
- Farm-raised catfish
- Summer flounder
Raw Or Undercooked Fish – food should be avoided during pregnancy
Avoiding raw, undercooked fish is a good idea because of the chance of harmful bacteria entering the food. It is a good idea to stay away from:
- Raw fish and shellfish, especially oysters and clams
- Refrigerated smoked seafood
Ensuring that the fish is cooked thoroughly is very important. When the fish starts to separate into flakes and appears opaque, it is well-cooked. Shrimp, lobster and scallops should be cooked until they’re white, and clams, mussels and oysters should be cooked until their shells open. If they don’t open, they should be thrown out.
Unpasteurized Foods – should be avoided during pregnancy
Consuming dairy is a very healthy part of a pregnant woman’s diet. The calcium required while pregnant can be delivered through consuming milk. However, unpasteurized milk is dangerous since it can contain listeria – a harmful bacteria. These foods should not be consumed:
- Unpasteurized milk
- Soft cheeses, such as brie, feta, blue, camembert
Undercooked Meat, Eggs and Poultry ” should be avoided while pregnant “
These types of foods, when not cooked properly, can be riddled with dangerous bacteria such as salmonella, listeriosis and E. Coli. These bacteria are dangerous for the unborn baby, and can lead to the baby getting quite sick. Foods in this category to avoid include:
- Deli meats
- Raw seafood, especially shellfish
- Undercooked poultry or meat
It is important to fully cook all meats and poultry before eating them. Avoid raw poultry that has been pre-stuffed. The raw juices that mix with the stuffing can foster harmful bacterial growth. Frozen poultry that’s been pre-stuffed is safer when cooked from frozen.
Eggs should be cooked until the egg yolks and whites are solid. Foods that are made with raw or partially cooked eggs, such as eggnog or Hollandaise sauce, should be avoided during pregnancy.
Unwashed Fruit And Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables should be thoroughly washed, and have damaged portions or sprouts cut away. This will help avoid harmful bacteria that can cause disease.
Large Amounts Of Liver
Liver can be eaten while pregnant, but an excessive amount is not safe. Liver is high in vitamin A, and studies suggest that too much vitamin A may cause birth defects.
Herbal Tea – should be avoided during pregnancy
Although there have been few studies conducted on the effects of herbal teas on the unborn baby, it is safer just to avoid them, or consume very little of them. Herbs are technically drugs, which can have harmful effects on the baby.
Alcohol And Caffeine – should be avoided while pregnant
It is widely known that alcohol should be avoided during pregnancy due to the harmful effects on the unborn baby. Caffeine consumption should be restricted as it has been linked to low birth weight and increased risk of miscarriage.
Learning what foods to avoid and consume during pregnancy will increase the overall health of both mother and baby, and will decrease chances of illness and disease caused by harmful bacteria.