Pregnancy is a stage when everything you eat or do affects the baby – and sometimes in not so good ways. Being pregnant also calls for getting into a health conscious mode, so indeed it is a welcome step. You can take simple steps to ensure that you and your baby are at the least of risks when it comes to health.
Foods To Avoid During Pregnancy
It is important to keep a good check on the diet during pregnancy as both mother and the developing baby need the required vitamin and minerals for proper growth and well-being. While there is a lot of advice given to an expectant mother on what to eat, she should know that there are certain food items that can be unsafe for the health of the baby and also for the mother. Foods to avoid during pregnancy, which can cause food poisoning or harm the baby in the womb, are:
- Seafood that is high in mercury: Seafood is a good source of protein but there are certain sea foods that contain high level of mercury which can be dangerous for the baby’s nervous system. The bigger and older fish have higher possibility of increased mercury levels such as in sharks, swordfish, crab and prawns and should be avoided specially during pregnancy. It is also advisable to avoid raw fish as it may contain parasites or bacteria
- Unpasteurized food: Any food that is not pasteurized must be avoided as unpasteurized products may lead to food-borne illnesses. Soft cheese made from unpasteurized milk must be avoided. Even unpasteurized juices are not safe
- Raw or uncooked eggs: Any food item that has raw or uncooked eggs poses a food poisoning threat. Make sure eggs are properly cooked to prevent the risk of food poisoning from salmonella. Cooking eggs at 71 degree Celsius kills salmonella which is very risky for pregnant women
- Raw or uncooked meat: Cook all the poultry and meat properly till there is no trace of pinkness or blood. Uncooked meat may contain listeria bacteria which can hinder the growth of the baby and may also lead to infection or blood poisoning in baby
- Avoid alcohol: Alcohol may cause physical defects and learning disabilities in the baby. The risk of miscarriage and low-weight infant birth is high if alcohol intake is not controlled. As soon as you discover your pregnancy, quit alcohol consumption completely as it is very dangerous for the developing baby
- Reduce caffeine intake: To reduce the chance of miscarriage or pre-mature delivery, caffeine intake should be restricted and preferably stopped if the expecting mother is not a habitual drinker. Instead, drink plenty of water, milk and pasteurized juices rather than coffee or tea
- Uncooked, raw or under cooked food: It is advisable to avoid all kinds of raw food, even vegetables and fruits should be washed thoroughly before consumption. These fruits and vegetables might contain harmful bacteria or viruses which may affect the growth of the developing baby. The best way to ensure that the food item is safe for consumption is to cook it so that most bacteria and germs are completely eliminated
- Oily and fatty foods: Although fat and oil are sources of energy and provide the body with essential fatty acid but their use should always be restricted to minimum requirement. Excessive use of fat is unhealthy and it is better to switch to vegetable oils such as olive oil, corn and sunflower instead of animal source of fats as vegetable oils are healthier
- Regulate Salt intake: Avoid salty food during pregnancy as it can contribute to water retention and blood pressure. Snacks such as crisps, chips and other fast foods that are high in salt should be consumed minimally. Salt intake must be in moderation as it also helps in maintaining adequate fluid levels
Although you are now aware of the food items that you need to avoid while being pregnant yet it is always better to consult your doctor. A trained dietitian can provide a diet chart and discuss your health issues so that a proper diet plan is made keeping all the health related issues in mind.
Activities To Avoid During Pregnancy
Any activity, that poses a risk to fall, topple, loose balance or cause trauma must be avoided during pregnancy. Some of the activities that can cause problems when you are expecting are:
- Running: If you have been running already, slow down your pace into the second trimester. If new, then start at very moderate levels and do not get overheated. Have plenty of water as well
- Cycling: Unless you are quite experienced, you should not try to ride the bicycles. Even when you have a fair deal of experience in cycling, restrict the activity after the second trimester as your center of gravity has now shifted and could play with your balance making it dangerous
- Amusement park rides: The rides can create bumps, raise your anxiety levels, start or stop suddenly and cause nausea. Cut it off the list
- Gymnastics: All the balancing poses a high risk of falling and causing trauma to your abdomen. No to this
- Saunas and Steam Baths: Increased levels of heat can cause your baby to suffer and may induce defects. Let go of those hot tubs and jacuzzis
- Surfing and Water-skiing: Again, you can be at quite a risk of falling and causing your abdomen trauma. Rest it
Even if your were very active prior to your pregnancy, you must cut down on your physical activity levels or else you will put ypurself at a risk of a preterm labor and intrauterine growth restriction (when the baby fails to grow at a normal rate. Talk to your doctor on the levels of physical activities that you can undertake.