A pregnant woman should choose her diet with care. The maternal diet affects the health of the developing baby. A number of foods and beverages that you consumed in your pre-pregnancy days might not be safe for the growing fetus.
Foods to avoid during pregnancy
Undercooked and raw food
While eating meat, poultry, eggs, fish and seafood, make sure that the food is well cooked. Undercooked or raw animal products are often sources of parasites, bacteria and viruses that would harm the body of the mother and the growing fetus.
Avoid runny eggs, sushi and raw oysters and clams. Even cakes and cookies that have not been baked properly at the right temperature could be unsafe for pregnant women.
Unpasteurized dairy products
Stillbirths and miscarriages are sometimes associated with bacterial infections that occur from consuming unpasteurized milk and dairy products.
Processed meats such as salami, hotdog, meat spreads and smoked seafood might contain listeria, a bacterium linked to serious health problems, which might lead to miscarriage and fetal death.
Fish and seafood with high mercury levels
Fish and seafood caught from water contaminated with mercury are harmful for the developing child. High levels of mercury impair development of the nervous system. They are also linked to brain malfunction. Mercury, a common industrial pollutant, is often found in large fish.
Juices bought from roadside stands are often sources of germs, which might lead to food poisoning. Pregnant women should avoid the unpasteurized juices.
Although a balanced diet should contain at least five servings of vegetables, raw leafy green vegetables and raw vegetable sprouts might be unsafe for pregnant women. Bacteria might be present in the raw seed sprouts and leafy greens, which might harm the fetus. However, cooked vegetables and sprouts could be safely consumed.
Moderate caffeine intake might not be harmful for pregnant women, but excess caffeine might increase the risk of low birth weight, stillbirth and miscarriage. If you can’t eliminate your daily cups of coffee or tea from your diet, consume not more than two cups of the beverage each day. However, skip colas, another source of caffeine, during pregnancy.