It seems you can’t open a pregnancy book or go online without encountering some sort of hideous warning about which foods to avoid during pregnancy. There are some clear cut no-no’s, but in general, you can eat almost everything you ate before.
Those items that are seriously ill advised are few. Here are the 5 most important items to remove from your diet for these nine months.
Undercooked Proteins – In this category we will lump undercooked beef, fish, poultry and eggs. Organic or not, raw meat frequently carries salmonella bacteria, and has the potential to carry a variety of other viruses or parasites.
Toxoplasmosis, a parasite with minor effect for someone who isn’t pregnant, can lead to devastating birth defects if the mother encounters it for the first time during gestation. Salmonella’s effects can be much more severe during pregnancy. Even raw produce should be washed carefully to avoid transferring bacteria from organic fertilizers.
Raw Milk – Under normal circumstances, we are in favor of only using raw milk products. The raw milk provides enzymes that aid in digestion, and ensure better nutritional value for the drinker. Unfortunately, raw milk can also contain listeria, a bacterium that can lead to miscarriage.
Liver – Many people don’t care much for liver–but some love. Unfortunately liver contains large amounts of vitamin A which can cause birth defects when absorbed in large amounts.
You will get better vitamin A from carotenoids, which are actually the precursors of the vitamin. If when your body takes vitamin A from these sources, it takes only what it needs, and “spills over” the rest.
Mercury-Laden Fish – There are some fish that contain much more mercury than is healthy for anyone to ingest. Tile fish, swordfish, shark, grouper and orange roughy top this list. Saltwater bass, halibut, tuna, sea trout and bluefin also have high levels of mercury, although they are not quite as hazardous as the others – so they can be eaten very infrequently.
Mercury is bad for anyone, but for a developing baby it can be disastrous. It can affect the brain and nervous system profoundly. This makes it one of the top foods to avoid during pregnancy–especially during the early months.
Artificial Sweeteners – While the food industry will try to convince you that artificial sweeteners are safe, there really is no level of them that are good for you. These chemicals have always been associated with a variety of health hazards. Saccharine is linked to elevated cancer rates.
Aspertame is connected to a variety of neurological issues, and can be extremely dangerous to those who lack the right digestive enzyme. Sucralose has been connected to problems with the chemical breaking down at elevated temperatures.
No matter which of the artificial sweeteners you use, avoid them during your pregnancy. There may be no conclusive evidence yet to support eliminating them from your diet at that time, but since they really aren’t likely to be good for you at any time, protect your baby from any potential side effects.
What are the Other Foods to Avoid During Pregnancy?
There are always other precautionary measures you can take to protect yourself and your baby while you’re pregnant. The question becomes at what point does one move from caution to paranoia?
While you should always consult your doctor before any major change in diet, as long as you stay away from these five foods to avoid during pregnancy, there is every reason to believe that you and your baby will thrive, grow and have a wonderful life together.