For the most part, you can continue to a normal diet throughout your pregnancy, and you’ll need to eat a little more during the second and third trimesters because the developing baby requires extra nutrition. Most foods are safe, however, there are some foods that you should avoid during pregnancy. Understanding what foods to avoid while pregnancy can help you make the healthiest choices for you and your baby.
Avoid unpasteurized milk and soft cheese
Milk and cheese are excellent sources of calcium, which you and your baby need. However, unpasteurized milk and dairy products are more likely to contain bacteria called Listeria, which can cause miscarriage. Listeria has the ability to cross the placenta and may infect the baby leading to infection or blood poisoning, which can be life-threatening. Make sure that any milk or dairy products you choose are pasteurized.
Avoid raw foods
Raw foods include uncooked seafood, raw eggs, undercooked beef or poultry, which may be contaminated with bacteria like E. coli or salmonella. Make sure that eggs are thoroughly cooked until the whites and yolks are solid; cook all meat and poultry thoroughly so it is steaming hot and there is no trace of pink or blood. In addition, the majority of seafood-borne illness is caused by undercooked shellfish, raw shellfish pose a concern for everybody, and they should be avoided altogether while pregnancy.
Avoid excess caffeine
Although most studies show that caffeine intake in moderation is OK, there are others that show that caffeine intake may be related to miscarriages. Because of the potential effects on your developing baby, your midwife, doctor or pharmacist might recommend limiting the amount of caffeine in your diet to less than 200 milligrams a day during pregnancy. Caffeine is naturally found in lots of foods, such as coffee, tea and chocolate, and is added to some soft drinks and energy drinks. You don’t need to cut out caffeine completely, but don’t have more than 200mg a day.
Consider the risks. Mothers who drink alcohol have a higher risk of miscarriage and stillbirth. Too much alcohol during pregnancy can lead to a condition known as Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, which can impair your baby’s growth and development and can cause permanent brain damage. One drink isn’t likely to hurt your baby, but no level of alcohol has been proved safe during pregnancy. The safest bet is to avoid alcohol entirely.
Avoid high-dose multivitamin supplements
You should avoid high-dose multivitamin supplements during pregnancy, include fish liver oil supplements and any supplements containing vitamin A. Too much vitamin A can cause birth defects. Don’t eat liver or liver products such as liver sausage, as they may contain a lot of vitamin A.
Limit the amount of fish
There are some types of fish you should limit, such as tuna and oily fish, and some types of fish contain larger amounts of mercury, so you need to stay away from shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish. Fish are low in fat and high in protein and essential Omega-3 fatty acids, which makes most fish an excellent nutritional choice during pregnancy, best choices are salmon, shrimp, pollock and catfish, eat up to 12 ounces cooked fish or shellfish each week (cook to 145 degrees F).
Food safety is of huge importance at this time to help both you and your baby avoid food poisoning. You don’t have to deprive yourself of the foods you love while pregnancy. You can eat what you enjoy, provided that you take a few simple precautions can give your baby the best chance at a happy, healthy life.