Foods you should Avoid
- Processed foods contain chemicals in particular cheese and meats, cheese spreads and sausages. Avoid highly salted foods or foods with MSG these cause headaches and dehydration.
- reserved foods like smoked fish, meat and cheese, pickled foods often contain nitrates this agent works adversely with red blood cells in your blood thereby reducing its oxygen carrying role
- Caffeine found in beverages such as tea, coffee and chocolate act as stimulants and should be avoided in pregnancy; the tannin in tea interferes with iron absorption. Studies show that caffeine you consume crosses the placenta and enters your baby's body and stays there; this may cause your baby to stay awake during the days and nights directly following birth. While there is controversy over how much coffee you can drink (some doctors may ok moderate intake while others will advise total abstinence) if you are into caffeine rich foods, it makes sense to cut back as much as you can as early as possible.
- Fish, including both saltwater and freshwater varieties, if consumed in high quantities can be unsafe because of the mercury levels. A baby's brain and central nervous system can be damaged because of this. Expert opinion is to limit freshwater fish to no more than 6 oz per week; total fish consumption should be 12 oz on weekly basis. Avoid swordfish, king mackerel and shark. It is also safer to avoid sushi during pregnancy.
Food hazards What you should know
Contaminated foods carry enough bacteria to cause illness which can result in miscarriage and birth defects.
- Toxoplasmosis is caused by a parasite that lives in the intestines of animals including cats and can make its way into your body when you eat raw or undercooked meat or eggs or when you come into contact with the feces of infected animals. The effects include the risk of birth defects in particular if you fall ill in the first trimester. Always wash your hands after handling a pet or its litter and wear gloves when doing gardening are some ways you can take care. According to research another area to watch out for is unwashed fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Listeria is a rare bacterium found in soft cheeses, unpasteurized milk products, cooked chilled foods, cooked meat and raw fruits and vegetables. Germs are normally destroyed at high temperatures but if the food is infected and refrigerated, the bacteria may continue to grow from there. Food poisoning caused can dramatically increase your chance of miscarrying, giving birth prematurely and stillbirth. Since this is a very hardy bacteria, shelves of refrigerators and countertops where the foods were kept can harbor contamination.
- Salmonella is the third bacteria capable of causing food poisoning; when passed on to baby, it can sometimes cause life-threatening complications. This bacterium is found in dishes containing undercooked eggs and chicken or raw fish. It causes fever, abdominal pain and severe diarrhea. It is destroyed through cooking. Another foodborne pathogen is E. coli; it is common in undercooked meat. In large amounts, this infection can threaten pregnancy.
Food safety can take you a long way
It is important to remember that even the healthiest foods if not cooked or handled properly can make you ill to the point of being life-threatening. Preparation and storage should be proper; the health risks are particularly high during pregnancy. There are certain guidelines you can abide by to keep the risk at bay:
- Keep foods cold at all times (in the refrigerator) because bacteria multiply rapidly in warm conditions
- Always use clean utensils between jobs or tasting
- Always wash hands after visiting the wash room and before handling food.
- Ensure that all frozen foods, meat in particular, are completely defrosted and thoroughly cooked
- Avoid dented and rusty cans
- Thoroughly cook all meats and keep raw meats separately in your refrigerator / freezer
- Wash all fruits and vegetables completely before eating
- Avoid soft cheeses and unpasteurized milk; dairy products should be pasteurized
- Do not refreeze foods that have already been defrosted
- Reheat food thoroughly only once; leftovers from this should be discarded
- Wash hands and utensils using hot water and soap after handling any raw foods
- Avoid cold cuts, especially from deli counters for the time being
Word on Empty Calories
As the title suggests, these foods at best help you pile on the calories. The following foods should be reduced in pregnancy; sugar foods usually lack in nutrients and contain nothing more than sugar or sugar substitutes and refined flour.
- All forms of sweeteners white and brown sugar, golden syrup, treacle and artificial sweeteners such as saccharine and aspartame
- Sweets, candies and chocolate bars
- Soft drinks such as colas and commercial fruit juices
- Biscuits, cakes, pastries, doughnuts and pies as well as jams and spreads
- Canned fruits in syrup
- Sweetened breakfast cereal
- Ice cream that contain added sugar
- Savories that contain sugar such as pickles, salad dressings, mayonnaise, spaghetti sauce and many more read the label to check the sugar content.