When you are pregnant with your little one, you have to make a lot of changes to keep him or her safe. This includes changing your diet! There are some foods that, while perfectly fine for most adults, can be harmful for your growing baby. Here are some foods professionals, like those at Women's Healthcare Associates LLC, encourage you to avoid.
Fish does have a good amount of health benefits, but many types also contain mercury, which can be harmful for your baby. According to the American Pregnancy Association, you should avoid fish with the highest amounts of mercury (such as shark and swordfish), eat no more than three 6-ounce servings a month of fish with high amounts of mercury (such as canned tuna and sea bass), eat no more than six 6-ounce servings a month of fish with low amounts of mercury (such as cod and lobster), and eat no more than two 6-ounce servings a week of fish with the lowest amounts of mercury (such as crab and clams).
These rules can seem very complicated, but they are important in order to avoid the effects of mercury poisoning on your baby. These effects, which include nervous system damage and delayed milestones, can be very serious.
2. Unpasteurized Juice or Milk
Freshly squeezed juice can be delicious, but it contains a lot more harmful organisms than juice that has gone through pasteurization. Your immune system might be strong enough to handle these organisms normally, but it is suppressed when you are pregnant, leaving you more susceptible to illness. The same goes for unpasteurized milk (milk you buy in the store should be pasteurized, but milk fresh from a farm might not be).
Are you addicted to your morning coffee? When you are pregnant, you should try to avoid drinking more than just one or two cups. Too much caffeine can increase your chances of having a miscarriage or your baby's chances of having a low birth weight and other complications. In addition to coffee and tea, make sure to limit your use of medications (such as allergy medicines) that might contain caffeine.
4. Raw Meat and Eggs
Do you like your steak rare? That's fine under normal circumstances, but it could be harmful to your suppressed immune system during pregnancy. Avoid undercooked meat or raw eggs, which can contain harmful bacteria that can make you sick.
While you might crave a drink to calm your nerves during a stressful pregnancy, it is important to abstain. Alcohol can cause birth defects in your baby, including fetal alcohol syndrome. While you will probably be okay having a glass of wine with dinner every once in a while, it is better to be safe than sorry. Try to avoid drinking completely if you can to give your baby the best chances of being healthy.
6. Junk Food
Many people refer to a pregnant woman as "eating for two," but the phrase is a little misleading. While you should increase your daily calories some while you are pregnant, you should definitely not double them; you should only be eating around 300 calories a day more than you did pre-pregnancy.
There's nothing wrong with having some junk food once in a while when you are pregnant, but you should not take pregnancy as an opportunity to eat as much as you want. Gaining too much weight can increase your risk of complications during pregnancy.
There is nothing you can do to completely guarantee you will have a healthy baby, but there are plenty of things you can do to increase the chance. Eating the right foods is one of them. Your child will thank you one day for your willpower and dedication!