If you were ever worried about how the food you consume maybe harmful to your body, being pregnant makes the situation even more attention-demanding. Everything you eat passes right through the placenta and to the baby. What is bad for the baby is bad for you, and vice-versa (all the more!). So we decided it would be good to make a list of the do’s and don’t–even–think–abouts of food during pregnancy.
Tips to deal with Pregnancy Cravings
Research shows that nearly three-quarters of all pregnant women experience something called pregnancy craving, or a sudden urge to consume foods and sometimes, totally strange combination of edibles, which can happen at any time of the day. They are mostly only the body’s way of indicating the deficiency of certain nutrients, which it hopes to obtain from the foods that it makes the person crave for, although hormones are equal contenders for the responsibility.
As such, there doesn’t seem to be a problem in giving in to the urges, unless they tend to make you stray into unsafe territories. Also it would be wise to keep an eye on the quality of the food one chooses, especially when it can contain germs and bacteria which could be harmful for the mother and the baby. What should be done in such cases? Well….
- If you feel suddenly attracted towards fruits and vegetables, don’t hesitate by any means. There are like a gazillion tons of articles on the internet itself about the benefits of fruits and vegetables, and there’s absolutely no difference in this case. Use as wide a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables as you can find. They will provide essential vitamins and minerals.
- If you crave for some sweet, find a healthier way to do it, say like a low-sugar alternative, or fruits which have sugar content like mangoes, apples, grapes etc. You can even use both of these in combination with some natural honey.
- If you feel like munching on some potato chips, try to avoid the readymade stuff and making your own, as it will keep you busy as well. Try to keep as far away from processed food as possible. If you’re getting drawn to thoughts of high-sugar, creamy, chocolate-coated marshmallow treats, keep your mind distracted with a non-food activity — any sort of entertainment like watching television, listening to music, reading a novel etc.
- If you find yourself craving something that you know you shouldn’t be having, stay clear of it, by any means! Just a few minutes of satisfaction for you, can have life-long serious consequences. Here we have a list of foods that must be avoided at any cost.
Food to be avoided during pregnancy
Usually they are excellent sources of protein and essential Omega-3 fatty acids, thus making them perhaps a good nutritional source during pregnancy, but some fishes have been found to have high mercury and polychlorinated biphenyl content, especially shark, swordfish, king mackerel, tilefish, pike, bluefish, trout and even albacore tuna. This contamination occurs as a result of industries dumping harmful waste into lakes and oceans. Fish that are bred in local fish farms maybe safe from this poisonous exposure and cleaner, but one must be absolutely positive about where the fish came from. This applies not only to carrying women, but also to them who are planning to conceive as mercury has been known to remain in the blood stream for more than a year.
- Smoked Meat and Seafood:
Foods, especially non-veg, are smoked to keep it preserved for a longer time. But it can cause problems for the mother and the baby as a result of the presence of Listeria monocytogenes, a dangerous bacterium that can spread through contaminated food and cause a condition called Listeriosis.
- Raw Meat and Shellfish:
Not that you’d go right for the animals! What we meant is that cooking food that in most cases of sea-food borne illness, the culprit is undercooked shellfish like oysters, clams, and mussels. Though cooking may help prevent certain infections, it will not prevent algae-related infections that can be caused due to occurrence of red tides. Always remember to cook your food well to get rid of harmful germs that maybe present in it.
- Raw Eggs:
Raw eggs can also pose a problem due to the presence of salmonella, or anything that contains raw eggs as an ingredient. Mayonnaise, homemade ice creams and custards are examples of such foods. Cooking the food at can however lower the risks.
- Unwashed Vegetables:
As beneficial as vegetables are to the body, there is a great risk of possible exposure to toxoplasmosis if they are not washed thoroughly.
Research studies claim that caffeine, and coffee in particular, if drunk in excess can increase chances of miscarriages. An average of 8 cups of coffee a day is enough to raise the chance of miscarriages to above 50 percent.
Alcohol, in any amount, ingested during pregnancy, puts the baby in danger of contracting the Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) which can impair the baby’s growth and development and can even lead to brain damage.
Food recommended during pregnancy
These are some pregnancy power foods that deliver an amazing amount of nutrients in a matter of few bites, making them very effective.
- Avocados: Contents: Folic acid (formation of baby's brain and nervous system), potassium, vitamin C, and vitamin B6 (baby's tissue and brain growth, mother’s morning sickness)
A word of caution: high in fat (the good kind) and calories, can cause weight gain.
- Broccoli: Contents: vitamins A and C, calcium (builds baby’s bones), folic acid.
- Carrots: Contents: vitamin A, vitamins B6 and C and fiber.
- DHA eggs: Contents: low-calorie, high-protein, Omega-3 fatty acid (brain development and eye formation in the fetus)
- Lentils: Contents: Folic acid and protein, vitamin B6, and iron.
- Mangoes: Contents: Vitamins A and C, potassium.
- Nuts: Contents: Vitamin E, copper, manganese, magnesium, selenium, zinc, potassium and calcium.
- Oatmeal: Contents: Fiber, vitamin B, iron and a host of other minerals.
- Red pepper: Contents: Vitamins A and C, with plenty of B6
- Spinach: Contents: Folic acid, iron (for baby’s blood cells), vitamin A, and calcium.
- Yogurt: Contents: Calcium, protein and folic acid, the good bacteria in yogurt prevents stomach upset, and yeast infections.
Pregnancy is a stage demanding extra care in several affairs, one of which is proper attention to nutrition. We sincerely hope that this article provided useful information about the various foods that are beneficial, and more importantly stuff that should be avoided. Wish you a healthy and happy delivery.
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