A nutritionally balanced diet plays a vital role in helping one to stay healthy, during pregnancy. The diet of the mother is very important for the baby's development. Eating of nutritive foods, vitamins, and minerals during pregnancy help the baby's growth. But pregnant women are likely to experience odd cravings for drinks at odd hours of the day that could harm the health of the baby and the mother. Dr. Aparna Jha, Consultant Obstetrics & Gynecology at Apollo Cradle & Children’s Hospital, Brookefield lists out certain food groups that should be avoided by expecting mothers.
5 foods that should be avoided during pregnancy
Raw meat and poultry
During pregnancy, there is an increased risk of bacterial food poisoning from food like uncooked raw meat. Salmonella is a bacteria harmful bacterium that increases the risk of food poisoning and causes toxoplasmosis. Toxoplasmosis can lead to miscarriage and fetal death. Pregnant women should eat well-cooked meat and chicken and homemade varieties of chicken breast.
Unpasteurized and pasteurized foods
Pregnant women are advisable to avoid all food made from unpasteurized milk, such as soft aged goat cheese, goat milk, sheep milk, or cream. Listeria monocytogenes(a kind of pathogen) is present in unpasteurized or softly aged dairy products. This can cause an infection called listeriosis that can cause miscarriage, and stillbirth, and also make the newborns ill. Similarly, soft cheese with a white coating on the outside is moist. This makes it easier for the bacteria to grow. The cheese should be cooked until moist kills the bacteria and reduces the risk of listeriosis.
Raw or undercooked eggs
Do not eat raw, undercooked, or soft-boiled eggs as they contain harmful salmonella that can cause food poisoning. It can cause diarrhea, severe vomiting, headache, abdominal pain, and high temperature. All of these symptoms are unlikely to harm the baby, but they can weaken the immune system and affect the baby's development. Buy pasteurized egg products. Eat boiled eggs with hard yolks or well-cooked omelets and salads.
Unwashed fruits and vegetables
Unwashed fruits and vegetables carry toxoplasma parasites that are harmful to developing babies. Toxoplasmosis pollutes the soil where fruits and vegetables grow and can pick up harmful microbes if eaten unwashed. Rinse fruits and vegetables well with boiled water. Bacteria are prone to grow, so peel or rub the surface and cut off the damaged part. Cook the vegetables well, especially leafy vegetables
During pregnancy, the mother's diet should include soya, wheat, milk, eggs, peanuts, nuts, almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, etc. but those who aren’t allergic can take fish and shellfish. However, studies have shown that eating these foods early in pregnancy can reduce the likelihood that the baby will develop allergies and asthma later in life. Not all studies support this claim, so it's best to check with the doctor what's safe and what's not, especially when it comes to allergies.
Proper nutrition is important during pregnancy as it provides nutrition for both the mother and the baby. To ensure the proper growth, development, and safety of the baby, the mother needs to be educated about the food what to have, and what not. Raw or poorly cooked fish and shellfish, mercury-rich fish, soft cheeses, unwashed fruits, and vegetables can increase the baby's exposure to toxins and other harmful substances. Therefore, eat a healthy diet and consult your doctor on regular basis.
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