Food precautions you must take during pregnancy
Pregnancy can be a tricky time, especially when it comes to your diet. While it’s important to make sure you are eating the right amount of calories and getting the vital nutrients your body needs, do not forget to learn about which foods should be avoided during pregnancy. Here are some important food precautions you need to keep in mind throughout your pregnancy.
Diet is one of the most important things to take care of during pregnancy. You might experience some strong food cravings and aversions too. However, your baby’s wellbeing and nutritional needs should always be the priority. So, make sure you keep the above precautions in mind so that you don’t compromise the foetal health.
Avoid certain kinds of seafood
Seafood provides your body with essential protein and omega-3 fatty acids that are vital for foetal development. However, certain types of seafood have high levels of mercury and should be completely eliminated from your diet. These include shark, ahi, kalava and bhekti. Raw fish is again something that you should avoid altogether. If you’re going to have sushi, make sure it’s either pre-frozen or has been prepared at a quality-conscious restaurant. Raw shellfish like oysters, mussels, and clams are foods to avoid during pregnancy. There is a strong risk of bacterial or viral contamination, which can cause severe food poisoning during pregnancy.
Avoid raw or partially cooked meat and eggs
Don’t eat cold cuts, deli meats, hot dogs, or other ready-to-eat meats, unless they are steamed and then served hot. Avoid steak tartare or any other rare cuts of meats, as well as raw or undercooked meats. These have a high chance of bacterial or viral contamination, and can lead to severe indigestion, which can be harmful to the foetus.
It’s just as important to avoid raw eggs. Though raw eggs are usually not a part of daily diet, food items like mayonnaise, eggnog, raw batter, cookie dough, Caesar dressings, and hollandaise may contain raw or undercooked eggs. It’s best not to take a chance with these foods when you’re pregnant.
Be careful with precooked meals
You need to be very careful while consuming pre-packaged or ready-to-eat meals. It’s best to go for freshly cooked meals, but if you have to have precooked food, make sure that you cook it until it’s piping hot. There is a chance that listeria might be present in ready-to-eat packages, and listeriosis can be hazardous during pregnancy.
Limit your caffeine intake
Excessive caffeine intake is not good for your body even when you’re not pregnant. However, the dangers multiply when you are expecting. Caffeine interferes with your body’s ability to absorb iron, and since your body needs more iron during pregnancy, too much caffeine can result in anaemia. Plus, too much caffeine can also lead to a miscarriage. In fact, your caffeine consumption shouldn’t be more than 200mg a day. If you absolutely must have caffeine during pregnancy, make sure you don’t have more than 2 cups daily. You can also consider switching to decaf or giving up coffee altogether while you're pregnant.
While there are some conflicting studies around how much alcohol is okay to consume during pregnancy, most experts say that it’s best to cut out alcohol from your diet completely. The foetal liver cannot process alcohol the way an adult liver can. So, although the alcohol that enters your baby’s bloodstream is of the same quantity as in your bloodstream, it takes twice as long to leave it. Given that alcohol can significantly derail foetal development, especially when it comes to the brain and spinal cells, it’s best to stay on the safe side with this one.
Milk and cheese are good - but here’s what you should know
While milk provides essential protein and calcium during pregnancy, it’s important to consume milk that has been pasteurized, to minimise the risk of bacterial infection. As far as cheese is concerned, most varieties of cheeses are okay. However, make sure you stay away from soft mould-ripened cheese like Brie, Camembert, or blue-veined cheese. These cheeses might contain listeria, which can cause fatal infections during pregnancy.
Avoid raw sprouts
Sprouts are a great source of protein and essential nutrients, particularly if you’re a vegetarian and/or lactose intolerant. However, raw sprouts may contain bacteria like salmonella and E. coli which can cause a bad infection. So, every time you eat sprouts, whether that’s moong bean, radish, or alfalfa, make sure you wash the sprouts and then cook them thoroughly before consuming.