What Foods to Avoid During Pregnancy?

Understanding what foods to avoid during pregnancy can help the pregnant woman make the healthiest choices for herself and the newborn baby. The following foods could be unsafe for the baby-

  • Unpasteurized milk Raw milk may contain dangerous bacteria like Salmonella, E.coli and Listeria. Listeria infection increases the risk of miscarriage, stillbirth or premature labor.
  • Raw or undercooked meat, poultry, seafood (such as oysters and clam or uncooked sushi) and eggs- these can contain harmful bacteria and increase the risk of bacterial food poisoning.
  • Seafood containing high levels of mercury- Avoid shellfish, shark, swordfish, King mackerel and tilefish as it may contain unsafe levels of mercury. These fish absorbs the mercury from contaminated water and binds it tightly to the proteins in fish muscle. Mercury remains there even after the fish is cooked. High levels of mercury could damage the baby's developing nervous system.
  • Processed or canned fish- As it is often preserved in saline (salt solution), which may lead to water retention.
  • Alcoholic drinks- Drinking alcohol during pregnancy can cause physical defects, learning disabilities, and emotional problems in children.
  • High caffeine intake- Drinking more than 200mg of caffeine a day increases the risk of miscarriage and low birth weight. Cut down on caffeine. Do not have more than two mugs of instant coffee, or two cups of tea or five cans of cola per day.
  • Large quantities of vitamin A can cause birth defects.

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