Pregnancy is the best phase in a woman’s life. In that phase, a woman not only has to manage her own health well but also take her of her fetus nutritional requirements. She has to be very careful with her diet and other lifestyle habits in order to make sure that the fetus growth and development turns out well.
Pregnancy becomes better and more enjoyable if there are fewer complications involved in delivery. In order to ensure safe and normal delivery, a pregnant woman has to follow certain precautions.
Since our nutritional requirements are met through food, it is important that the pregnant woman pays more attention to what she puts into her mouth. There are certain groups of food not to eat while pregnant and there is a list of foods you can eat. Let us understand about these groups in detail.
Also, read: Eat colorful foods for health benefits!
List of foods you can eat while pregnant
1. Dark green leafy vegetables and fresh fruits
Dark green leafy vegetables are the good source of a variety of vitamins and minerals. Since a pregnant woman has to care about her hemoglobin level, she has to include iron rich food sources which include green leafy vegetables in her diet.
Make sure that you consume some source of vitamin C along with iron-rich food to ensure that iron is properly absorbed by the body. Fresh fruits are not only delicious but also rich in anti-oxidants. They keep your body hydrated while taking care of your mineral and vitamin requirement.
2. Pulses, legumes, and beans
Pulses, legumes, and beans are good sources of proteins which help in tissue building. Since the fetus requires ample amount of protein to form muscles and tissues, proteins in the diet should be taken in recommended quantities.
3. Whole grains
Whole grains are a storehouse of B-vitamins. These foods also contain a lot of fiber which helps in preventing piles. Piles also called as hemorrhoids are more likely to develop during pregnancy because certain hormones produced during pregnancy phase cause the veins in and around anus and rectum to relax.
To treat piles which have become severe, generally, haemorrhoidectomy (piles surgery) is conducted. They are the good sources of carbohydrates which provide energy to the body. Doctors generally recommend that at least half of the daily carbohydrates requirement should be met through whole grains.
Pregnant women should at least aim for 3-4 servings of dairy products a day. They are a rich source of calcium and phosphorus which are the basic building blocks of bones. Small servings of milk, ghee, yogurt, and cheese should be part of a pregnant women’s diet.
Take a look at the chart here that explains which foods to eat in what amount to maintain good balance.
Foods you should not eat while pregnant
Now, this part is equally important as foods that should be included in the diet. Certain foods cause a negative reaction to the body or can induce infection to the fetus. Hence, they have to be avoided. Here, is a list of foods pregnant women can’t eat.
- Raw or undercooked eggs:
Raw or undercooked eggs are a potential source of salmonella bacteria. Hence, preparations that involve raw egg as their ingredient are better to be avoided.
Read: Egg and salmon scramble!
- Fish and seafood
You may wonder why have we included fish and seafood on foods that are to be avoided during pregnancy list. Not all seafood is banned during pregnancy. Raw fish preparations like sashimi and smoked, refrigerated salmon are strictly no-no due to chances of inducing food-borne infections in your fetus.
Cooked fish is good to be included in the diet since it is a source of omega-3 fatty acids. Limit intake of swordfish and tuna. Sardines, rainbow trout, herring, salmon etc. are good choices during pregnancy.
We all love cheese, don’t we? Relax, we are not telling you to completely omit cheese from your diet. We are telling you not to include cheeses which are made from unpasteurized milk.
Read the label carefully before purchasing any kind of cheese and if it’s written made from unpasteurized milk, then give it a pass. Soft cheeses and cheddar and Parmesan are fine to be included in the diet.
Scratch refrigerated and cold cut meats from your diet. If you want to eat meat, make sure that you heat it till the internal temperature reaches 71 degree Celsius. Any meat has to be well heated before its consumption.
- Alcohol, nicotine and caffeine drinks
Once you are sure that you are pregnant, it is mandatory that you stay completely away from alcohol and nicotine. Intake of alcohol can have adverse effects on fetus like learning and behavioral problems. Nicotine increases the risk of SIDS and low birth weight.
You may like to read: Self-Help Tips – How to Stop Drinking Alcohol
Caffeine intake should also be restricted to a small cup of tea or coffee per day and not more than that. Consumption of excess caffeine may increase the chances of the baby to be smaller in size than the average baby delivered.
- Juices and soda
Pregnancy and diet coke is not a good combination. According to the researchers, diet sodas contain caffeine. Gynecologists from the American College of Obstetricians suggest that the caffeine consumption should be below 200 milligrams a day.
Read: Benefits Of Drinking Tea Over Coffee
Sweetened beverages, aerated drinks, and canned fruit juices are also strictly banned from the diet of a pregnant woman as they can cause premature delivery. However, consumption of a glass of freshly made fruit juice is allowed.
It’s a myth that all medications cause harm to the fetus. Most of the pregnant woman completely skip medications even in cases of life-threatening diseases.
However, risks of not treating disorders like depression, asthma etc. may pose more harm than taking medications to treat these diseases. Hence, just before abruptly discontinuing any medications, consult with your doctor and then take appropriate decision.
Sometimes, the doctor may ask you switch one medicine to another one to prevent harm to the fetus. Eg blood pressure drug ACE inhibitors are replaced by methyldopa. Some common drugs to avoid during pregnancy are Accutane which is associated with birth defects in babies and antibiotic tetracycline which may pose harm to babies teeth.
- Over-the-counter medications
Ibuprofen and aspirin may cause heart defect in the fetus if taken during the last or third trimester. For a cough and cold, one could try home remedies first and if still it is not getting cured in few days, then you can take cough suppressants medicines like Benadryl, phlegm expellers like guaifenesin and dextromethorphan which are considered safe if taken in small amounts.
The above mentioned dietary habits will definitely help in enhancing the health of your fetus and protecting it from developing any congenital diseases. It’s better to consult with your dietitian regarding what to include and what not to include in your diet in order to ensure proper fetus growth.
Activities you shouldn’t do during pregnancy
While you are pregnant avoid any activity that could cause infection. Touching soil or sand may cause parasitic infection by picking up toxoplasmosis. Hence, make sure that if you have to do any gardening activities or touch mud, you wash your hand thoroughly later.
Avoid steams, saunas or hot tubs in the first trimester because raising your core temperature by one degree Celsius or more than that can increase chances of abnormal organ development. If you are exercising, suddenly do not increase the intensity.
Maintain pace and it is important that you consult with your gynecologist a chalk out your exercise regime depending upon your needs and which suits your body.
The above-mentioned precautions during pregnancy will help you to undergo normal delivery. One should take care that the pregnant woman does not suffer from any disease which normally develops during pregnancy due to hormonal changes.
Proper care during pregnancy will ensure safe and happy delivery. With family support and love, a pregnant woman is able to enjoy this phase better and welcome her bundle of joy into this world through a safe delivery.
What do you think about this article? Do you know any more foods you shouldn’t eat while pregnant? Feel free to share with us in the comments below.
Renuka Agrawal is certified in home health aide from Healthcare sector. She possesses proficient knowledge about various health related issues, diseases, and treatments.