Pregnancy is the most delicate period for a woman and her unborn child. It affects her immune system and makes both the mother and child susceptible to the bacteria and viruses that cause food-borne illnesses. There are certain foods that should be avoided to protect the health of the unborn baby. Foods that are too high in mercury or vitamin A can pose a health risk to the baby. It is best to talk to the doctor to find out exactly what foods the mother can or cannot eat.
Given below are lists of food items which have been categorised as:
- Foods to avoid
- Foods that are fine in small amounts
1 Foods to avoid:
- Raw eggs or under cooked eggs may have traces of salmonella, a bacterium that can cause fever, vomiting and diarrhoea.
- Unpasteurised juice
- Some varieties of fish which have high levels of mercury can harm or affect the baby’s nervous system.
- Undercooked meat and poultry
- Unwashed fruits and vegetables
- Raw vegetable sprouts
- Nuts that cause allergies
- Excessive caffeine-related products
- Canned foods
- Sugar-rich foods
- Street foods
- Raw or unripe papaya
- Leftover foods
- Licorice or mulethi
2 Foods that can be consumed in moderation:
- Moderate levels of caffeine
- Nitrate-rich foods like cured meat including bacon and sausage.
- Soft cheeses
- Foods made from fine flour can cause painful constipation though it does not harm the baby.
Some precautions should be taken while eating fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Always wash the fruits and vegetables to remove any possible traces of salmonella or E.coli.
- Even if the outer skin is not eaten, thoroughly wash the fruits and vegetables.
- Properly peel fruits and vegetables and keep them separately in clean utensils.
- Avoid eating fruits and vegetables that have been refrigerated for a long time.
- Vegetables should be cooked appropriately.
- Avoid uncooked leafy vegetables.
It is of paramount importance that the mother follows a proper diet and nutrition plan, but above all, she should not spend the entire magical journey of pregnancy in fretting over little things.