Pregnancy marks the beginning of your journey to motherhood. So, it comes as no surprise that pregnant women need to be extra careful about what they eat and drink. And, while it is fairly obvious to infer that smoking or drinking while you are gestating can lead to many nasty complications, what most women fail to realize is that some types of foods can also damage the growing fetus.
Doctors and health experts recommend against eating certain foods during pregnancy as it can lead to fetal development issues and childbirth defects as well.
But, which foods can potentially harm your unborn baby? Don’t fret. Below, we list 4 toxic foods and beverages that are a strict no-no during pregnancy.
1. Raw Or Undercooked Eggs
If you like your eggs fried or with a runny yolk, you are in for some disappointment. Eggs are packed with nutrients that you need for a healthy pregnancy. So, make sure you thorough cook your eggs until the yolks and whites are solid to avoid the risk of salmonella food poisoning. Avoid all foods that may contain raw eggs such as homemade mayonnaise, milkshakes and smoothies, Caesar salad dressing, hollandaise sauce, homemade ice cream, and eggnog (1).
We’ve already determined that consuming too much coffee can have a detrimental effect on your fetus, and can lead to many complications during childbirth and even after your child grows up. While you may love your morning cuppa, opt for a safer option, at least until you begin to wean your baby. Excess caffeine intake can lead to birth defects, fetal death, and low birth weight during pregnancy. But the good news is that you don’t have to completely let go of your daily caffeine intake. Just make sure you keep it to 300 mg a day, and you should be fine (2).
3. Undercooked Meat
While some animal meat is rich in minerals and is loaded with vitamins, raw or undercooked meat is a home for parasites or bacteria like salmonella and listeria. These organisms have the potential to not just harm the mother by causing severe abdominal pains, vomiting etc., but also harm the baby by entering through the placenta (3).
All meat should be cooked to about 145 °F (the heat can be increased or decreased depending on the kind of meat that you are cooking). This also means that refrigereated meat has to be consumed with greater precautions and should be bought from places that have a fresh stock.
Branded and approved foods (by food authorities) are the best ones to consume, but not before giving them some heat!
4. Soft Cheeses And Unpasteurized Milk
Soft cheeses, especially the ones that are imported, may contain listeria, just like unpasteurized milk. Cheeses such as brie, Camembert, Roquefort, feta, Gorgonzola, and Mexican should be a big no no! Look for cheeses which are made from pasteurized milk as they kill all the harmful microorganisms. It is a myth that pasteurization destroys essential nutrients and vitamins in milk (4).
Avoid the above for a healthy baby and you. And, if you are living in areas which do not have potable tap water, try switching over to mineral water for all drinking purposes!