Expecting mothers need to pay close attention to what they eat since it would affect not just their health but that of their baby too. Cravings are inevitable but make sure you know the important facts about which foods to avoid and how harmful loading your body with these junk foods can be.
Discretionary Foods are a Big ‘NO’
Discretionary foods do not fit into any of the five food groups and are not necessary for a healthy diet. They are high in sugar and fat and have very little nutritional value.
They may cause an unhealthy increase in body weight of the expecting mother which will be difficult to shed off later and has also been linked to a higher risk of developing diabetes during pregnancy, high blood pressure, complications during birth and childhood obesity. Discretionary foods have also been linked to paediatric mental health issues. Discretionary foods and drinks include sweet biscuits, cakes, desserts and pastries, sweetened condensed milk, ice cream and other processed and packaged sweets.
The best foods to eat while pregnant are freshly cooked or freshly prepared foods. They provide good nutrition to you and the baby.
Avoid Foods High in Mercury
Mercury is a naturally occurring metal that is found in trace amounts in water and food. It can build up over time during pregnancy, and high levels in the blood stream can be harmful to the baby, particularly to their nervous systems.
For pregnant women, it is important to limit fish or seafood that contains high amounts of mercury. Check the facts about the mercury content in these foods and when in doubt it is best to avoid them! Salmon though is known to contain lower levels of mercury.
Foods with High Levels of Listeria
Pregnancy affects the immune system, which makes you and your unborn baby more susceptible to the bacteria, viruses, and parasites that cause food borne illness. Even in cases where the pregnant woman does not feel sick, some of these germs like the Listeria and Taxoplasma may infect the baby and cause health problems.
More than 25% of all listeriosis cases are pregnant women and there is a high fatality rate among those who are vulnerable.
Sources of bacteria could be ready-to-eat deli meats and hot dogs, unpasteurized (raw) milk and dairy products made from them, refrigerated smoked seafood, raw sprouts etc.
So, be a little more careful and as I said earlier, better to stay away from these food items!
Avoid Foods Contaminated with BPA
Plastic, Plastic Go Away
Not to Come Back Any Day!
BPA, or bisphenol A, is a chemical used in the production of polycarbonate plastics. It has been found to impact hormones and though the evidence is limited, it is generally recommended that women trying to conceive, pregnant mothers and infants have minimal exposure.
Let us use healthier storage and serving options and do away with plastic…true for everyone in general and pregnant women and girls in particular.
Avoid Artificial Sweeteners!
Studies have shown that sugar substitutes have been associated with preterm delivery and affecting genetic programming to result in obesity later in life. It is therefore advised to avoid large intakes of sugar substitutes in pregnant women as far as possible.
In fact it is best to avoid any foods with artificial flavourings, additives, colourings etc. In fact why just pregnant women, I would advise everyone to stay away from these….it is in our best interest.
Smoking, alcohol and pregnancy don’t mix!
Needless to say, alcohol and smoking have done no good to anyone, so for women who are expecting, they are a big NO NO! No one is sure of the amounts of alcohol that can be safe during a pregnancy. It is known to travel through the placenta and its consumption can lead to miscarriage or foetal alcohol syndrome.
Smoking during pregnancy increases the risk of health problems for developing babies, including preterm birth, low birth weight, and birth defects of the mouth and lip. Smoking during pregnancy also increases the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
E-cigarettes and other tobacco products containing nicotine can damage a developing baby’s brain and lungs. It is therefore advised to avoid alcohol, smoking and other substances completely for an eventless pregnancy.