I am thinking of something hilarious and personal from during my pregnant days. There was this one time that we got invited to a friend’s fast food shop’s inauguration. I had been craving for Indian-style chow-mein filled with veggies and chicken. So our host asked his cook to make some fresh for me. I enjoyed the chow mien and returned home happily. It’s then that it struck my wonderful husband that chow mien usually has MSG in it. And that’s when I started feeling queasy suddenly. I panicked and began to look for voluntary ways to puke. We read up on google and checked on multiple forums, and things went Hayward from then on. I could not reach my gynaecologist, so we rushed to the emergency to seek medical help. The junior doctor saw our plight, made us sit, and then giggled a little. It was unprofessional of her, but it soothed us both at the time of crisis. She explained why pregnancy bars certain foods and what happens when you eat one by mistake.
As a pregnant mother, you might already be preparing your daily meals rich in nutrition. People around you must be loading their pieces of advice on you by leaps and bounds. It’s all fair and reasonable right now. You are choosing wholesome foods that will do wonders for both of you. However, it’s also important to know what not to eat while you are pregnant.
However, it’s a controversial topic, to begin with. It is so because pregnancy foods are based on people’s sentimental beliefs too. I have heard of a family where pregnant women aren’t allowed to spice at all. They believe that it will make their child ill-tempered. So it’s best advised to consult a doctor and follow a generalized diet plan. You might otherwise end up losing out on nutrition just because of a myth. Make sure to consult your doctor before shutting off a specific food group. My neighbour shut off grapes for a long time because her maid told her that the heat causes the baby to be aggressive. Poor woman, she avoided grapes for four months to have easier childbirth.
Why Do Doctors Advise Against Certain Foods During Pregnancy?
The answer to it is, the fetus feeds off you. Certain processed and toxic foods that an adult’s body can process might harm the fetus. Certain foods are more likely to have illness-causing bacteria like E.coli or salmonella. A pregnant woman’s body is more prone to diseases and infections. It makes it more likely for the fetus to get infected, hampering its growth eventually.
Eating contaminated food can cause a miscarriage or preterm labour too. Unfortunately, illness-causing bacterias are powerful enough to cross the placenta and reach the fetus. The fetus’s likeliness to fight off the infections is slim as the fetus has an underdeveloped immune system. It can lead to specific congenital disabilities too.
Some other foods like mercury-rich fish are avoided because they negatively impact the fetus’s growth and development. MSG-loaded foods are avoided because their impacts have been confusing, and no solid outcomes have ever been found. No one knows how they affect the growing fetus within you.
Here is a list of Foods to Avoid During Pregnancy:
High Mercury Fish
Ceratin fish that grow in polluted waters for an extended period accumulate toxins in their bodies. Mercury is a highly toxic matter that is found in polluted waters infested with industrial water etc. It can cause severe damage to our nervous systems, immune systems, and kidneys. A fetus and a baby both have developing immune systems and organs. Mercury-rich fishes are strictly avoided during pregnancy for the same reason and while breastfeeding. Even small doses can adversely impact a fetus’s growth and leave a permanent impact. High mercury fishes that one should avoid at all costs are:
However, ensure that you include 2 portions of fatty fish rich with omega 3-s fatty acids twice a week. It can do wonders for your baby’s brain development.
Uncooked Or Raw Fish
It might come as a downer if you are a sushi lover like me. Raw fish can cause bacterial, fungal, parasitic infections. You never know what bacteria a raw fish is carrying. It could lead to dehydration and weakness in adults. However, a fetus’s undeveloped systems do not know how to respond to something toxic in nature. It could be lead to severe and fatal consequences in some cases.
You might end up getting an upset stomach because of raw fish consumption. Something as minor as stomach flu can be dangerous during pregnancy as it leads o dehydration. So, avoid raw fish and shellfish of all kinds.
Undercooked Meat, Medium-rare Steaks, and Raw Eggs
Bacteria could be lingering in the uncooked meat’s skin, or it could be hiding within the muscle tissues. Eating undercooked or raw meat heightens the risk of bacterial infections. It could lead to stillbirth and other neurological illnesses. Consume meat that has been cooked to perfection and is steaming hot. High-temperature cooking will ensure that all the bacteria and parasites are killed.
Raw eggs seem like a very harmless addition to our diets. It is used in the form of mayonnaise, poached eggs, homemade ice creams, and frostings. However, raw eggs could be a carrier for salmonella. Pasteurized eggs can reduce the risk significantly. You should always check the labels to know what is in your food.
Organ meats are packed with multiple minerals and vitamins. However, they are rich in vitamin A, an excess of which is not suitable during pregnancy. It could lead to genetic malfunctions and miscarriage too. Organ meats have iron, vitamins, selenium, zinc, and copper. All of which are essential for you and your child. It is wise to limit your organ meat consumption to just once or twice a week.
Unpasteurised Milk, Cheese, and Fruit Juices
Unpasteurized means the product has not been heat-treated. It still has germination of spores and is encouraging the growth of the surviving cells. Pasteurized milk means it has been heat-treated and has a limited scope of the organic material growing in it. It also ensures that the national value has stayed intact while keeping it just for human consumption.
Raw milk and cheeses are avoided as they could be carrying bacterias like listeria and salmonella etc. These are more prone to contamination during collection or storage. These infestations can have life-threatening impacts on the fetus.
Alcohol and Other Synthetic Substances
Alcohol consumption has been a very confusing and debated topic for years. Nobody knows if there is a specific amount that is safe for the fetus. The reason alcohol and synthetic drugs are avoided during pregnancy is that the fetus’s undeveloped system doesn’t respond well to toxic substances. It can lead to stillbirth, miscarriages, and preterm labour. In some cases, it leads to children born with learning and speech disabilities too.
Processed Junk Food
Your body needs calories during pregnancy; however, it doesn’t need an overload of calories. Also, note that your body needs all the proper nutrients along with these calories. Processed junk foods are high in calorie content but low in nutritional value. The habit makes you gain weight and puts the child’s development at risk too. An overweight mother can have birthing complications and also birth to a child with eating disorders.
On Foods like Papaya, Pineapple, Grapes, etc.?
If you are Indian, you must have already heard of many pregnancy food myths by now. Most often than not, people end up confusing a pregnant mother with these illogical myths. However, there is a little bit of science attached to these myths. Unfortunately, papaya has latex and papain, both of which are known to trigger early labour. However, papaya is also known to do wonders for people facing indigestion. My doctor had advised avoiding raw and semi-ripe papaya. However, I have consumed the occasional ripe papaya in the form of salads and my smoothies.
Bromelain, an enzyme in pineapple, is known to break down proteins. The breakdown may lead to early labour or irregular bleeding in a pregnant woman. However, it’s wise to consult your doctor before giving up on things that seem healthy. Different doctors may have different opinions too.
What to do if you ate Taboo Food by Mistake?
Reach out to your doctor immediately. Do not make the mistake of assuming things after consulting Doctor Google. Most often than not, a single accident will not cause you any serious trouble. Please do not panic and get flustered; this will do you more damage than the cause itself.
Summary: Pregnancy is a great time to inculcate new habits and healthier lifestyle choices. You may be craving a drink or sushi, but it’s best advised to avoid it. The guilt and the stress are not worth the momentary pleasure you will get from that food. Try exploring other pregnancy-safe food opinions that you have been avoiding up until now.