Being pregnant is one of those things in life you can never be fully prepared for; even if you prepare for it. You have to be responsible for the other human growing inside you, which means that you have to give up so many things even if they are good for you so that it won’t hurt them. Of course, you can’t drink alcohol and you also have to cut down your caffeine to no more than 200mg per day but that is not nearly all of it. You still have to give up on so much more. However, there is a lot more than you can still eat than what you can’t; all you have to do is make a couple of changes and things will be fine. Here are the top 10 categories of foods you will have to give up.
Raw Fish And Other Seafood
Sorry sushi, sayonara, yellowtail sashimi and other raw seafood lovers, you just don’t have a choice but to take a 9-month break from these tasty treats. Seafood is a comfortable home for salmonella and other bacteria that your body may be more than able to fight when you are not pregnant but not when you have a baby bump.
The FDA recommends taking a break from all uncooked fish and seafood throughout your pregnancy. Unfortunately, the list of uncooked food here includes smoked fish and other seafood because smoked foods may still contain listeria and other resistant parasites and bacteria. It is especially bad during the first trimester when these killers can cause a miscarriage or malformations on your little one. You can enjoy properly steamed, fried and fully cooked fish and other seafood though.
High Mercury Foods
This is quite a tough list to navigate, but you can keep yourself safe once you know that almost all large marine fish from oceans are high in mercury. Mercury has been linked with many congenital malformations in babies affecting everything from the brain to their nervous system. Fish from polluted waters are high in mercury and no amount of cooking can make them safe. Fish that eat other fish also tend to be higher in mercury which is why the list of fish to avoid include tuna, sharks, swordfish, marlin among other big fish. You can have your cod, freshwater trout, salmon and tilapia though as long as they are cooked properly.
Unwashed Fresh Veggies And Fruits
It is important that you eat lots of fruits and vegetables when you are pregnant because they contain nutrients that are vital for your baby’s development. Unwashed fruits and vegetables can harbour lots of dangerous bacteria and parasites such as toxoplasma which can cause problems when they come into contact with your baby. Invest in a fruit brush and a proper vegetable rinsing basin and wash all fresh food thoroughly before eating them; Just don’t use soap because that will cause more harm than good.
Unpasteurized Milk/ Cheeses
Milk that comes directly from an animal may be all good for some people but when you are pregnant, it just isn’t right for you. Unpasteurized milk harbours lots of lots of dangerous bacteria such as listeria which is a red flag for expectant mothers. The same applies to cheese made with unpasteurized milk which includes most soft cheeses such as Danish Blue, Brie and Gorgonzola. Check the ingredients to ensure that whichever milk or milk product you buy was made using pasteurized milk.
Raw Eggs And Related Foods
Raw eggs may contain salmonella which is why you have to avoid lightly scrambled eggs, homemade mayonnaise and hollandaise sauce as well as other toppings and dressings that are made using raw eggs. While pasteurized eggs are used to make most of the foods you will buy, it is safe to check and ensure that the ingredient list says pasteurized eggs; otherwise, don’t take the chances.
Caffeine is a drug, but being legal, its effects on the human body are often overlooked. Health experts advise that you limit your daily intake of caffeine in a day to 200mg per day. It may be hard to keep that in check if you don’t know the foods that contain caffeine which includes chocolate, energy drinks, soda. Tea, and of course, coffee among others. It may be difficult to keep that limit because you can’t keep count of all the caffeine you take but you can keep it in check by cutting down on the caffeinated foods you know and take daily. Your baby doesn’t have the enzymes needed to break down caffeine which results in a build-up in their system causing malformations and low birth weight.
Raw, Undercooked, Organ and Processed Meats
Processed foods are the main surprise inclusion in the list but you have to remember that once the meat is cut and exposed, it becomes vulnerable to contamination by salmonella, listeria, Toxoplasma and other bacteria that may harm your baby. You have to recook hot dogs, sausages and other processed meats before eating them to destroy these bacteria and parasites. Organ meats such as liver contain lots of preformed Vitamin A which has been linked with malformations in babies and miscarriages so you have to cut down on them.
Unrefrigerated Left Overs
This goto bag or box is a helpful tool that allows you to finish the rest of your restaurant meal in your car or at home. One thing you should know is that the longer that food stays unrefrigerated, the more vulnerable it becomes to bacteria and other parasites. So, if you come into contact with any food that has been out of the fridge for over two hours, (make that one hour on a hot day) just say no to it. Unrefrigerated foods may also include potluck foods, which you have to be careful with. If your food doesn’t come steaming hot and it isn’t from the refrigerator, then you wanna give it a second thought.
Unpasteurized Fresh Juice And Salads
Once you are pregnant, you have to put your blender to use because you have better control of how clean food is before it goes into the blender. Ready to drink fresh juice and salads from restaurants may have been made with poorly washed veggies and fruits which may carry salmonella, E.coli and other harmful bacteria that may harm your baby. You can take juice if it is pasteurized though.
The environment in which seeds sprout also happens to be the perfect one for bacteria and parasites such as listeria and salmonella to grow and as you have seen earlier, they can cause premature birth, malformations and even miscarriage. While soybean sprouts, alfalfa, broccoli and other popular sprouts are nutritious, they are not safe to eat raw when pregnant. You have to cook or steam them before eating.