10 Foods and Drinks to Avoid During Pregnancy!

These are the foods and drinks to avoid during pregnancy that everyone needs to know for well being, as pregnancy is one of the most vital and sensitive periods in a woman’s life. However, it is very important for pregnant women to have a healthy diet .

During pregnancy it is extremely important that mothers have to pay close attention to what they eat and avoid harmful foods and drinks. Certain foods should only be eaten infrequently, while others should be avoided altogether.

 Foods and drinks to avoid during pregnancy:

1. Unwashed product:

Unwashed or peeled fruits and vegetables can be contaminated with various bacteria and parasites, making them   foods and drinks to avoid during pregnancy . These include Toxoplasma, E. coli, Salmonella and Listeria, which can be acquired from the soil or through manipulation.

Contamination can occur at any time during production, harvesting, processing, storage, transport or retail. In addition, the bacteria can harm the mother and the fetus. A very dangerous parasite that can persist in fruits and vegetables is called Toxoplasma.

Most people who get toxoplasmosis have no symptoms, while others may feel like they have the flu for a month or more. Most children infected with Toxoplasma, still in utero, have no symptoms at birth. However, symptoms such as blindness or intellectual disability can develop later in life.

Furthermore, a small percentage of infected newborns have severe eye or brain damage at birth. While you are pregnant, it is very important to minimize your risk of infection by thoroughly rinsing, peeling, or cooking fruits and vegetables.

2. Organ meat:

Organ meat is a great source of many nutrients. These include iron , vitamin B12 , vitamin A and copper – all of which are good for a mother-to-be and her child. However, eating lots of animal-based vitamin A (preformed vitamin A) is not recommended during pregnancy.

It can cause vitamin A toxicity as well as abnormally high levels of copper , which can result in birth defects and liver toxicity. Therefore, pregnant women should not eat organ meat more than once a week as it is part of the   foods and drinks to avoid during pregnancy.

3. Unpasteurized milk, cheese and fruit juice:

Raw milk and unpasteurized cheese can contain a variety of harmful bacteria, including Listeria, Salmonella, E. coli and Campylobacter. The same goes for unpasteurized juice, which is also prone to bacterial contamination. These infections can have potentially fatal consequences for the fetus.

The bacteria can occur naturally or be caused by contamination during collection or storage. Furthermore, pasteurization is the most effective way to kill any harmful bacteria, without altering the nutritional value of the products.

To minimize the risk of infections, pregnant women are advised to consume only pasteurized milk, cheese and fruit juice. It can also cause fetal alcohol syndrome, which involves facial deformities, heart defects, and mental retardation. While no level of alcohol has been proven to be safe during pregnancy, it is recommended to avoid it as it is one of the   foods and drinks to avoid during pregnancy .

4. Raw sprouts:

Raw sprouts, including alfalfa , clover, radish , and mung bean sprouts, can be contaminated with Salmonella, so they are foods and drinks to avoid during pregnancy . The moist environment required by seeds to start sprouting is ideal for these types of bacteria, and washing them is nearly impossible.  

However, pregnant women are advised to avoid raw sprouts altogether. However, sprouts are safe to consume once cooked. Raw shoots can be contaminated with bacteria inside the seeds. Pregnant women should only eat cooked sprouts.

5. Raw fish:

Raw fish, especially shellfish , can cause various infections, so it is among the   foods and drinks to avoid during pregnancy . These can be viral, bacterial or parasitic, such as norovirus, Vibrio, Salmonella and Listeria. Some of these infections only affect the mother, leaving her dehydrated and weak. Other infections can be transmitted to the fetus with serious or even fatal consequences.

Pregnant women are especially susceptible to Listeria infections. Certainly, pregnant women are up to 20 times more likely to be infected with Listeria than the general population. This bacterium can be found in soil and contaminated water or plants. Raw fish can become infected during processing.

Listeria can be transmitted to the fetus through the placenta, even if the mother shows no signs of illness. This can lead to premature birth, miscarriage , stillbirth, and other serious health issues.

Pregnant women are therefore advised to avoid raw fish and shellfish. This includes many sushi dishes. Raw fish and shellfish can be contaminated with bacteria and parasites. Some of these can cause adverse health effects and harm both mother and fetus.

6. Processed foods:

Pregnancy is a time of rapid growth. As a result, pregnant women need increased amounts of many essential nutrients, including protein , folate , and iron . However, even if you’re basically eating for two, you don’t need twice as many calories—about 350 to 500 extra calories a day during the second and third trimesters should be enough.

An ideal pregnancy diet should consist primarily of whole foods, with plenty of nutrients to meet the needs of the mother and growing child. Among the   foods and drinks to avoid during pregnancy  are processed foods because they are generally low in nutrients and high in calories, sugar and added fats.

Additionally, added sugar has been linked to a dramatically increased risk of developing several diseases, including type 2 diabetes and heart disease. While some weight gain is necessary during pregnancy, excess weight gain has been linked to many complications and illnesses.

These include an increased risk of gestational diabetes , as well as complications in pregnancy or childbirth. It can also increase your risk of having an overweight child. This causes long-term health problems, as overweight children are much more likely to become overweight adults.

7. Fish with a high mercury content:

Mercury is a highly toxic element. It has no known safe exposure level and is most commonly found in polluted waters. In higher amounts, it can be toxic to the nervous system, immune system and kidneys. It can also cause serious developmental problems in children.

Since it is found in polluted seas, large marine fish can accumulate large amounts of mercury. Therefore, pregnant women are advised to limit their consumption of high-mercury fish to no more than 1-2 servings per month. Fish with a high mercury content include:

  • Swordfish;
  • Atum (especially albacora atum);
  • Shark;
  • Mackerel.

However, it’s important to note that not all fish are high in mercury – just a few types. Consuming low-mercury fish during pregnancy is very healthy, and these fish can be eaten up to 2 times a week. Fatty fish is rich in omega-3 fatty acids , which are important for your baby. Therefore, pregnant women should not eat fish with a high mercury content. This includes shark, swordfish, tuna and mackerel.

8. Undercooked, raw and processed meat:

Eating raw or undercooked meat increases the risk of infection with various bacteria or parasites, including Toxoplasma, E. coli, Listeria, and Salmonella. The bacteria can threaten the health of your unborn baby, possibly leading to stillbirths or serious neurological conditions, including mental retardation, blindness , and epilepsy .

While most bacteria are found on the surface of whole pieces of meat, other bacteria can remain inside the muscle fibers. Some whole cuts of meat – such as filet mignon, sirloin of beef or beef, lamb and veal – can be safely eaten when not cooked all the way through.

However, this only applies when the piece of meat is whole or not, and completely cooked on the outside. Cut out foods and drinks to avoid during pregnancy  as meat, including beef patties, hamburgers, minced meat, pork and poultry, should never be eaten raw or undercooked.  

Hot dogs, lunch meat and cold cuts are also a cause for concern. These types of meat can become infected with various bacteria during processing or storage.

Pregnant women should not consume processed meat products unless they have been reheated until very hot. Raw or undercooked meat can contain harmful bacteria. As a general rule, the meat should be cooked all the way through.

9. Raw eggs:

Raw eggs can be contaminated with Salmonella. Symptoms of Salmonella infections are usually only experienced by the mother and include fever, nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps, and diarrhea. However, in rare cases, the infection can cause cramps in the uterus, leading to premature birth or stillbirth. Foods that often contain raw eggs  include:

  • Hollandaise sauce;
  •  lightly scrambled eggs ;
  • Homemade mayonnaise;
  • poached eggs  ;
  • salad dressings;
  • Homemade ice cream.

However, most commercial products that contain raw eggs  are made with pasteurized eggs  and are safe to consume. However, you should always read the label to be sure. Pregnant women should always cook eggs thoroughly or use pasteurized eggs.

Raw eggs can be contaminated with Salmonella, which can lead to illness and an increased risk of premature birth or stillbirth. Pasteurized eggs  can be used instead.

10. Caffeine:

Caffeine is the most commonly used psychoactive substance in the world and is mainly found in coffee, tea, soft drinks and cocoa. So, pregnant women should limit their caffeine intake to less than 2-3 cups of coffee.

Caffeine is absorbed very quickly and passes easily through the placenta and fetus. Because unborn babies and their placentas lack the key enzyme needed to metabolize caffeine, high levels can build up. High caffeine intake during pregnancy restricted fetal growth and increased the risk of low birth weight.

Low birth weight – defined as 2.5 kg or more – is associated with an increased risk of infant mortality and an increased risk of chronic diseases in adulthood, such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

Pregnant women should limit their caffeine intake to 200 mg per day, which is about 2-3 cups of coffee. Incidentally, as one of the   foods and drinks to avoid during pregnancy , high caffeine intake during pregnancy can limit fetal growth and cause low birth weight.

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