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10 Foods to Avoid During Pregnancy

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Now that you’re growing a baby, it’s important to be extra mindful about what you eat and drink to be sure that it helps and not harm your developing baby.

Here are ten food items that you need to steer clear of for the next nine months to keep the little one inside of you safe until you carry them to term: 

1. Unwashed Vegetables 

While it’s ideal to load up on vegetables when you are expecting, make sure that these vegetables are washed before preparing and munching on them!

When it comes to foods to avoid during pregnancy, consuming unwashed veggies may expose you to an infection called toxoplasmosis, which is sometimes present in the soil from where the vegetable was uprooted or harvested from.

Toxoplasmosis is a kind of infection from a common parasite, the Toxoplasma gondii. If this makes its way to your developing fetus, they can develop grave complications including vision problems and learning disabilities.

If you’re set on ordering a vegetable dish or cooking a particular one at home, be sure that it is thoroughly cooked to stay on the safe side. 


2. Junk and processed foods

You might be tempted to gorge yourself silly on processed and junk food when you are expecting, but try to resist your urge to snack on these.

Junk and processed foods always makes it to the list of foods to avoid during pregnancy, and with good reason!

These sweet and salty unhealthy eats are often loaded with empty calories that are nutritionally lacking, so you suffer the consequences of unhealthy weight gain, an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes and gestational diabetes, and heighten the possibility of your baby being overweight later on as a child. 


3. Smoked food items

Smoked fish and meat are two things you also want to avoid eating while pregnant.

While many fans of smoked food believe that such foods are safe for consumption, you shouldn’t bank on that as a pregnant woman.

It isn’t enough assurance that they will be free from listeria, which is a kind of bacteria that can cause illnesses in newborns and increase the pregnant mother’s chances of miscarrying or delivering a stillborn.

In addition, smoked foods often have high sodium content which does a disservice to your blood pressure, causing some of your body parts to swell. 


4. Alcohol

Drinking alcohol while pregnant must be completely avoided because it increases your risk of miscarrying or delivering a stillborn.

It’s always top on the list of foods to avoid during pregnancy! Drinking even the slightest amount is enough to negatively impact your developing baby.

An adverse effect of drinking alcohol while pregnant is a condition known as fetal alcohol syndrome, which includes heart defects, a number of intellectual disabilities, and facial deformities. 


5. Unpasteurized foods and drinks

Steer clear of food that includes cheese, fruit juice, and milk that has not been pasteurized, because there is a chance that these contain bacteria and salmonella, listeria, campylobacter, and E.coli.

These may cause infections like bacteremia, meningitis, food poisoning during pregnancy and for the baby, it may cause low birth weight, stillbirth, premature birth, or miscarriage.

During this period of your life, it is wiser to stick to pasteurized versions of cheese, fruit juice, and milk.

Afterall, they taste equally great and are readily available in many food stores. But most importantly, they are a much safer option.


6. Raw Sprouts

Sprouts that are often eaten raw or fresh. These include alfalfa, mung bean, radish and clover.

However, raw sprouts are susceptible to salmonella, especially in humid weather (a weather that we are too familiar with in Singapore).

The list of foods to avoid during pregnancy does not always highlight raw sprouts, so it is important to keep this in mind.

It is nearly impossible to completely wash off bacteria from it so you should only eat it when cooked.

Salmonella may cause food poisoning, blood infection, miscarriage, or preterm delivery. Scrutinize your salads thoroughly for ingredients like these before eating it.


7. Raw eggs

Raw eggs are often present in mayonnaise, homemade Caesar salad dressings, egg nog, Hollandaise sauce, custards and ice cream.

These too might have salmonella, especially when undercooked. So you might want to steer clear of homemade foods of sorts.

Only consume these types of foods if you are sure that they have been cooked in order to reduce the risk of salmonella exposure.


8. Raw shellfish

Oysters, mussels and clams are really delicious, but you’d best stay away from such indulgences until you’ve delivered your little one.

Raw shellfish can harm you and your developing baby because it can cause blood infection that is potentially lethal.

There is a type of food poisoning called Vibrio Vulnificus, which is from the bacteria present in shellfish.

If you eat shellfish where this bacteria is present, it can infect your blood stream (especially if you have a weak immune system) and also make its way to your baby’s blood stream.


9. High mercury fish

Mercury is toxic and can cause developmental problems in your baby.

It can also be toxic to your kidneys, immune system, and nervous system.

High mercury fish sources include: swordfish, shark, tuna (albacore tuna most especially), and king mackerel.

Low mercury fish like salmon are great alternatives to eat and if you’re a fan of eating fish, you would be pleased to learn that they are jam packed with omega 3 fatty acids that contribute significantly to your baby’s development.


10. Raw, undercooked, and processed meat

Raw and undercooked meat may have traces of bacteria and/or parasites like E. coli, salmonella, toxoplasma, and listeria.

These may cause stillbirth, a variety of neurological illnesses in infants like blindness, intellectual disability, and epilepsy to name a few.

The undercooked or raw meat might become contaminated with these bacteria when it was processed or during storage.

It is important for meat (especially steaks) to be fully cooked through to the inside before being consumed by pregnant women, while processed meat must be reheated thoroughly before consumption,


Foods to avoid during pregnancy

This list of foods to avoid during pregnancy should be taken seriously since it matters what you put into your body at this stage.

As harmless as it may seem, a wrong food choice may have dire consequences to the development of your baby and in the worst case scenario, may lead to the termination of a pregnancy.

As such, it’s best to err on the side of caution by choosing the correct foods during the 9 months of your pregnancy.

They say you are what you eat and this saying cannot be more true when it comes to growing a healthy baby inside of you.

Take the necessary precaution when it comes to your food choices and you are enroute to a more hassle-free pregnancy!  

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