The foods to avoid during pregnancy include raw cheeses, liver, swordfish and king mackerel, raw or undercooked meat, raw eggs, unripe papaya, alcohol, caffeine, diet soda, fresh juices, etc. And things to avoid during pregnancy include tobacco, tress, skincare and grooming, OTC medications, pesticides, pets, contact sports, amusement park rides, X-rays, horseback riding, sauna or jacuzzis, sunbath, household cleaning and lifting weights.
If you are pregnant, it is needless to say that you would be on cloud nine! Pregnancy is perhaps one of the happiest moments in every woman’s life. Though these 9 months can be a roller coaster ride, every woman waits to experience the joy of being a mother!
The stepping stone to motherhood, in other words pregnancy, without a doubt, brings a lot of unprecedented changes in a woman’s life. This is true regardless of your caste, color or race. To ensure that your baby is born healthy, you will need to exercise certain precautions when it comes to food intake. From foods that you take or beverages that you like, everything needs to be consumed only after careful consideration and if necessary, after a consultation with your doctor. This will minimize the risk of any harm to your baby and you will be in good health as well. This includes diet, lifestyle as well as general safety related aspects.
Pregnancy can be a challenging time for any mother to be. If you are pregnant and anxious as to what you should not be doing through these 9 months, we have compiled for you just the guide you need. Below listed are the top 21 risky things that a pregnant woman should avoid at all costs:
Foods to avoid during Pregnancy
There are some foods that are not suitable for women who have conceived as well as the fetus.
- Feta Cheese– When you are pregnant, refrain from including feta cheese in your meals. Eating unpasteurized cheese can lead to onset of food borne ailments. It can cause an ailment called Listeriosis which can increase risk of miscarriage. In fact, consuming any type of unpasteurized dairy stuffs can be harmful for both the mother and baby. As tempting as it may be, pass off eating any form of cheese to ensure you have a safe and healthy pregnancy.
- Liver– Liver contains vitamin A in very high amounts, which is thought to be clinically unsafe for pregnant women and the babies. Eating liver and related foods can lead to birth defects in the infant. You should preferably stick to vegetable sources of Vitamin A during pregnancy to have an uneventful pregnancy.
- Swordfish and King Mackerel– Eating Seafish can offer you and your unborn baby with liberal doses of Omega 3 fatty acids and other nutrients but you should keep an eye on mercury contamination. You can safely eat no more than 12 ounces of fish, prawns and seafood a week. Certain sea fish species like swordfish and King mackerel contain mercury in high amounts, eating these fish species can prove to be harmful for the baby. In fact, the nervous system of the fetus may be affected and your baby may succumb to permanent damage that can render him or her handicapped! A well known adage goes, “Prevention is better than cure” And we second that! Choose fish like tuna and salmon, if you cannot stay away from seafood through your pregnancy. These fish have no mercury content and hence are safe for consumption. You should also avoid eating fish dishes where the fish is used semi cooked or raw. Sorry, Sushi lovers, but this is one dish you must simply strike off your menu for a full 9 months!
- Raw vegetables, sprouts-It is true vegetables contain a lot of nutrients and they can benefit your growing baby. However, you should avoid eating raw vegetable sprouts when you are pregnant. This is necessary to minimize risk of food borne infection. While making salads ensure the vegetables are washed properly. If you wish to have a portion of sprouts, simply steam them to destroy bacteria before chomping away!
- Raw eggs-Eggs do have a good amount of protein and other nutrients. However, in pregnancy you should evade consuming undercooked or raw egg in any form. This can lead to risk of salmonella infection.
- Papaya– This is no old wives’ tale. Several studies have indicated, that unripe papayas contain a high percentage of papain, an enzyme that possesses abortifacient properties and can induce preterm labor and/ or miscarriage. But, fully ripened papayas are safe.
- Under-cooked meat- Pregnancy is that time of your life when you have the strangest of cravings. If you are pregnant you know just what we are speaking about! While for some pregnant women it may be pickles, it could be ice cream or plain sugar for others. If hamburgers seem to delight you most, be sure to order only fully cooked dishes off the menu. Under-cooked meat and deli meat can be a host to various bacteria and can even harbor toxoplasma and listeria, that can be detrimental to the growth of your baby!
Beverages to avoid during Pregnancy
Just like foods, certain types of beverages can be harmful to both you and the precious life growing within you. During pregnancy, you should either limit the consumption of these beverages or stop simply stop consuming them altogether.
- Alcohol– During pregnancy, you would do well to stay away from alcohol as far as possible. Drinking a glass too many, when you are carrying can be risky for both you and him/her. If you consume way too much alcohol you stand the risk of a miscarriage or even may give birth prematurely. The exposure to alcohol may harm the baby in more than one way. Complications such as hyperactivity, speech deficiency and overall deficit in intellectual abilities can develop and manifest as the child grows up.
- Caffeine– When you are pregnant, mood swings and lethargy can set in from time to time. For most women, a quick fix to lethargy is a steaming cup of coffee! Yes, while a cuppa coffee can do wonders to cheer you up, we do not recommend it! Coffee contains caffeine and it can be harmful both for you and your baby. Excessive caffeine consumption in pregnancy can result in reduced blood flow to the fetus. Caffeine also affects iron absorption in the body, thereby affecting growth of the baby. This is why you should avoid drinking coffee and aerated drinks that have caffeine in elevated amounts in pregnancy. Consume no more than 200 mg of caffeine a day!
- Diet soda-If you think drinking diet soda based drinks has no bearing on your pregnancy, you are grossly mistaken! Not only do these drinks have caffeine, they also contain high levels of artificial sweeteners. They often contain saccharine which can lead to birth defects! Steer clear from any form of soda throughout your pregnancy! The artificial sweeteners found in diet sodas are known to induce glucose intolerance by altering the gut bacteria. Apart from this, some studies conducted on rats showed that the offsprings of rats fed with artificial sweeteners behaved abnormally. They were hyperactive, slow to food reward and development. In other words, their behavior was similar to brain damaged rats.
- Fresh juice– Say Sayonara to fresh juice! It is needless to say that a tall glass of fresh fruit juice can be refreshing during summer. But, as refreshing as it may be, it brings along the risk of contracting several infections that can be fatal for your growing baby. Drink only pasteurized juices, that eliminate the risk of infections caused by e.coli and salmonella.
Lifestyle issues to avoid during Pregnancy
It is prudent that you evade consuming specific foods and beverages to ensure you and your unborn baby stay healthy and there is no complication during your pregnancy. However, that alone may not be enough if you want to ensure the safety of your baby. You may also need to make some drastic lifestyle changes for a smooth and healthy pregnancy.
- Tobacco- When you are pregnant, avoiding all sources of tobacco smoke is crucial to ensure well being of the baby. Smoking can be harmful for you too. In fact, you should do well to avoid passive smoking, both at home and outside when you have conceived. The toxins in cigarette smoke get to the fetus through the bloodstream. The result can be slow growth, pregnancy complications and low IQ levels in the baby.
- Stress- It is not abnormal for some pregnant women to feel irritable or low. The hormonal changes in the body are often the culprit behind mood swings and even depression in a few women. However, you should avoid getting stressed out when you are expectant. Stress can lead to issues like insomnia and constipation in pregnant women, that can make pregnancy a sore experience.
- Skincare and grooming- Gone are the days, when pregnant women were housed within four walls with a parchment of rules to adhere to. Today, women are independent, with many having flourishing careers. If you are pregnant, there is no reason why you should not dress up or groom yourself, before you step out of home! However, if you have conceived, caution should be taken before using any new skin care or grooming product. We suggest that you do away with chemical based products such as hair colour, gel or products that can lead to rashes, allergies or other such complications. Often, the chemicals and toxins present in these products can reach the fetus and harm its development. Go natural, and choose from a wide range of all natural products to add to the glow on your face during your pregnancy.
General risks to avoid during Pregnancy
When you are pregnant, even a small fall can lead to negative developments. Therefore, you need to be careful in performing daily chores, especially in the last two trimesters. It would be good if you can avoid certain activities that are risk prone during pregnancy.
- OTC Medications-You may feel pregnancy related symptoms like nausea, back pain and headaches –in nearly all trimesters in varying amounts. However, do not make the mistake of rushing for common OTC medications including aspirin based products. Some of these medications contain compounds that can be harmful to the fetus and you.
- Pesticides- Pesticides and toxic chemicals are poisonous for the fetus and they can pass through your body to him or her. Exposure to toxic fumes and pesticides can be harmful for the baby, more so in the first trimester. So, you should ideally avoid using such products and read labels of floor cleaners and disinfectants before using them.
- Pets- Many think that pets can be a threat to those who are pregnant. But that is no more than a myth. Not all pets can pose a risk to you when you are pregnant. For example, a dog that has been vaccinated and bathed regularly is no way a threat. However, you need to be careful if there are cats in the house. Cats can get infected with toxoplasmosis and the ailment is contagious. Women with reptile pets at home should consult with a doctor to learn how they can evade the risk of salmonella contamination.
- Contact sports-It may be tough for women in active sports and athletics to stay idle in pregnancy. However, any form of exertion is best avoided in the last two trimesters of pregnancy.
- Amusement park rides– While you may think this can rejuvenate the mind, this can prove to be a risky outing during pregnancy. Unexpected falls and forceful landing can harm your baby and even be reason for pre-term labor. While some doctors suggest that you steer clear from such rides during the first and third trimesters, we recommend that you simply decline an invite to the amusement park, lest the temptation to step onto a ride may get the better of you!
- X-ray- Medical experts advise that women who have conceived should avoid x-rays unless it is absolutely necessary. The risk to the fetus is proportionate to exposure to radiation that your body gets.
- Horseback riding- This can be a risky activity to indulge in when you are pregnant. Apart from risk of fall, you cannot rule out getting kicked by an irate horse. No matter how much you fancy a horseback ride, simply turn down the urge to do so!
- Sauna, Jacuzzis- Studies have shown activities that cause a sudden spurt in body temperature can be risky for pregnant women and cause birth problems. You may feel like getting a facial done to shake off pre-birth blues, but avoid a Jacuzzi or sauna visit throughout your term.
- Sunbath- It would be best to avoid sunbathing when you are pregnant, say the doctors. It can hike your body temperature along with that of the fetus.
- Household cleaning- You should not get involved in household cleaning activities in pregnancy, more so in the last two trimesters. Apart from the risk of falling that is associated with such chores, you can also expose yourself to toxic fumes and odors that can affect the fetus eventually. Strong smelling chemicals used in such cleaners can also enhance the tendency to vomit or accelerate the morning sickness symptom.
- Lifting weights- Do not laugh this off as an old lady’s word! Lifting weights in the first trimester can cause a miscarriage, while doing the same in the last trimester can induce preterm labor.
Pregnancy brings to you, joys untold! Any woman will agree with this! Make this time of your life all the more memorable by staying safe! These simple tips can go a long way in keeping you safe through the 9 months of pregnancy. You will be left with cherished memories and nostalgia of your pregnancy, and yes a beautiful and healthy baby, who will bring a smile to your face.