Now that you’re pregnant, you’ve got a lot on your mind: How do I take care of my health? What are good nutrients to put inside my body? What is good for my body? How can I keep my baby healthy? One of the things many women plan when trying to conceive and when finding out they’re pregnant, is what they should and should not eat.
Although you’re gonna have many pregnancy cravings that will try to take control of your appetite, you have to balance out what you want and what you need. This balance will ensure you are growing a happy, strong, and healthy baby in your belly.
There are many things that you’ll start doing once you find out you're pregnant -- like taking prenatal vitamins and maintaining an exercise routine in order to motivate a healthy pregnancy. However, you can’t forget about the things you should avoid as well, specifically the foods and drinks to avoid when pregnant.
Here is a list of foods that you should avoid when pregnant:
1) Mercury in Fish
Fish is an excellent source of nutrients, whether you’re pregnant or not. It gives you a sufficient amount of omega-3 fat which is significant for your baby’s brain development. With these benefits however, some fish is very high in mercury which can be harmful to the growth of your baby’s brain.
Mercury is commonly found in polluted water, in which some large marine fish can also be found. This includes high-mercury fish like shark, tuna, marlin, and king mackerel. It is safe to eat with balance which means you should try to choose fish that is low in mercury. This would include fish like anchovies, cod, haddock, salmon, trout, and tilapia.
2) Raw Fish
Calling all sushi lovers! Unfortunately, your appetite for sushi may have to be put on hold during your pregnancy because of the undercooked or raw fish. Raw fish can cause many different viral, bacterial, or parasitic types of infections.
These infections not only affect your health as a mother, but can also potentially harm your baby. Your baby is most susceptible to harm during the first 12 weeks of your pregnancy. Therefore, it’s best to stay off the raw fish as soon as possible, even when you’re trying to get pregnant.
This is something that most women have heard even before getting pregnant -- to stay away from coffee and caffeinated beverages. Keep in mind that having too much coffee during your pregnancy is harmful to your baby. But you can limit yourself to 200 milligrams of caffeine per day which is about two cups of coffee.
Caffeine isn’t particularly healthy for you during pregnancy as it can potentially be connected to miscarriages, although there isn’t enough research to support this for sure. It can also be uncomfortable as you will have the urge to urinate more often, and it can also interfere with sleep for both you and your baby.
4) Unpasteurized Foods
Ready-to-eat foods (although easy and convenient) can be extremely harmful because of the possibility of being contaminated with Listeria. Foods to avoid that would reduce your risk of Listeria include:
- Unpasteurized milk
- Unpasteurized cheese
- Unpasteurized juices
- Contaminated meat
- Raw vegetables that have been contaminated
- Processed meat such as hot dogs, deli meats
- Pre-packaged meats, cheese, salads, eggs
- Raw or undercooked meats
- Raw eggs
If you are infected with listeria, symptoms that you may experience include headaches, stiff neck, changes in your alertness, and imbalance. This would be a time when you should contact your doctor or health care provider.
Drinking alcohol is something that should be completely avoided when you’re pregnant. There is no amount of alcohol that has been proven to be safe during pregnancy, which means it should be completely eliminated out of your consumption.
Alcohol will dangerously enter the mother’s bloodstream and pass through the baby through the umbilical cord. This can cause serious harms such as miscarriages, stillbirth, and a range of physical, behavioural, and intellectual disabilities in your baby.
Pregnancy is a huge responsibility for a mother and it’s important you take care of yourself every step of the way which will improve the health of your baby as well. Use your motherly instincts even before your baby arrives and make the right choice for your growing family!