“There is such a special sweetness in being able to participate in creation.” This beautiful quote by Pamela S. Nadav summarizes the amazing time in a woman’s life when she is pregnant.
It can also be a very confusing time. There are hundreds of articles offering pregnancy-related advice, especially regarding what is safe to eat.
The hormonal changes in the body during pregnancy cause food cravings. However, before eating anything, you need to think about the safety of your unborn baby. You can always consult your doctor regarding a healthy diet during pregnancy and what foods you should avoid.
Here are a few foods that all women should avoid during pregnancy.
1. Raw and Partially Cooked Eggs
If you have the habit of tossing raw eggs into your morning smoothie to give it a protein boost, skip this ingredient during your pregnancy.
Pregnant women must avoid eating raw or partially cooked eggs. They pose a huge risk for salmonella infection, which can cause vomiting and diarrhea. This in turn affects the baby’s health.
Eggs are a good source of protein, vitamins and minerals, so if you want to eat eggs during your pregnancy, just make sure that they are cooked.
Cook them until the yolks and whites are firm to reduce the risk of salmonella poisoning. Also, wash your hands after handling eggs as salmonella is often present on the shells.
In addition, avoid foods made with raw or partially cooked eggs, such as homemade mayonnaise, Caesar salad dressing and others.
Pregnant women should abstain from drinking alcohol due to its adverse effects on pregnancy outcomes. Alcohol significantly increases the risk for fetal alcohol syndrome, developmental disorders and miscarriages.
During the first trimester, it increases the risk of miscarriage, while during the second and final trimesters it can be very harmful to the unborn baby.
There is no safe amount of alcohol during pregnancy. Even when breastfeeding, you should avoid drinking alcohol.
Limit the amount of coffee that you drink during pregnancy. Its high caffeine content works as a stimulant that can affect your baby’s heart rate.
Caffeine also increases the risk of miscarriage and low birth weight. In addition, excess caffeine can cause dehydration.
Avoid caffeine during the first trimester to reduce the likelihood of a miscarriage. Drinking coffee in moderation is permissible after the first trimester.
Also, avoid other sources of caffeine like herbal teas, green tea, energy drinks, soft drinks, dark chocolate and others.
Pregnant women should not consume more than 200 milligrams of caffeine per day. On average, an 8-ounce cup of coffee contains approximately 95 mg of caffeine.
4. High-Mercury Fish
Fish may be a healthy source of omega-3 fatty acids, but avoid those that have high levels of mercury during pregnancy. High mercury can interfere with the normal development of a child’s brain and nervous system.
Some types of fish that are high in mercury are king mackerel, swordfish, walleye, Chilean bass, marlin, Spanish mackerel and shark.
If you like fish, you can have up to 2 servings per week of wild salmon, tilapia, catfish or shrimp. You can also try white fish and cooked shellfish. Tuna is also acceptable, limited to 4 medium-size cans per week or 2 tuna steaks.
Do not eat raw or undercooked fish or shellfish as well as cold smoked or pickled fish.