15 May Foods to avoid during pregnancy
Maternal nutrition during pregnancy will affect the growth of the foetus as well as its future health. A well-balanced diet should consist of an appropriate amount of carbohydrate, protein, fats, vitamins and minerals. In choosing what to eat during pregnancy, it is important to know the foods to avoid. These foods can be categorised as follows:
- Foods contaminated with chemicals:
- Studies have linked pesticides to premature births and possible birth defects. Foods contaminated with pesticides include fruits and vegetables with thin skins like peaches and strawberries. Washing these foods thoroughly with water before consumption may help.
- Mercury can cause developmental delays and brain damage of the foetus. Some fish such as shark, tile fish and swordfish may contain dangerous levels of mercury. Choose smaller fish like pomfret, anchovies, salmon and trout instead.
- Foods contaminated with harmful bacteria or parasites:
- Unpasteurized milk and cheese may contain the bacteria, Listeria, that can cause miscarriage. Maternal infection can lead to blood poisoning, which may be life-threatening.
- Raw eggs, or foods containing raw eggs, such as homemade Caesar dressings, ice cream and mayonnaise, may be contaminated with Salmonella.
- Undercooked hot dogs and luncheon meats may be contaminated with Listeria.
- Sushi, sashimi, raw oysters, scallops or clams may be contaminated with bacteria. Eating these foods may result in food poisoning.
- Unwashed vegetables and fruits may be exposed Toxoplasmosis, a parasite that can cause miscarriage or foetal abnormalities.
Depending on the amount and timing, alcohol consumption during pregnancy can lead to Foetal Alcohol Syndrome and other developmental disorders. It should be avoided.
The effect of caffeine on the foetus remains unclear although some studies suggest that drinking too much caffeine during pregnancy might be associated with an increased risk of miscarriage. It is recommended that limiting the amount of caffeine to 200 milligrams a day should be safe during pregnancy. This is equivalent to two 8-ounce (237-milliliter) cups of brewed coffee.
As there is little data on the safety profiles of herbs on the developing foetus, it is advisable not to consume them.
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