Being pregnant is an exciting time, but also a period of your life when you have to consider things you may not have before, like whether you should modify your diet for the health of your baby. Whether you’re normally a health food nut or a junk food junkie, there are some foods that you shouldn’t eat as long as you’re expecting.
They call processed fast foods “junk” for a reason. Those burgers, fries and snack foods are full of fat, sodium, sugar and preservatives, none of which are good for your growing baby. Plus, this type of bad food lacks important nutrients like vitamins, minerals and fiber, meaning it rates high among the foods to avoid when pregnant.
While it won’t hurt to treat yourself to a bag of chips or dish of ice cream occasionally, you’ll be doing much better for your little one if you make healthy, nutritious foods the major part of your diet. In addition, you’ll have less excess baby weight to lose after delivery!
Soft cheeses and luncheon meats
One thing you really want to avoid during pregnancy is being exposed to listeria bacteria, since these nasty microbes can cause miscarriage, stillbirth or premature delivery. The bacteria can be found in uncooked meats and unprocessed cheeses as well as soil or water. For this reason, pregnant women should forgo soft cheeses like brie, camembert or feta as well as raw milk.
Meats and fish to avoid for the duration include patés, smoked seafood and sushi. Hot dogs and luncheon meats should be thoroughly heated before eating. Since listeria can also grow in raw vegetables, these should be washed thoroughly before preparation.
Fish with high levels of mercury
While fish is generally a healthy food for you and the baby, not all of our finny friends are created equal. Some can harbour dangerously high levels of mercury ad should be avoided. These include ahi tuna, king mackerel, shark, swordfish and tilefish.
Instead, substitute one of the fish least likely to have high mercury levels, like anchovies, crab, flounder, haddock, salmon, sole or tilapia. Eat a “safe” fish a couple of times a week to get your quota of omega-3 fatty acids, which are good for you and the baby. Canned tuna can be consumed in moderation, up to three times per month.
Lose these, too
Caffeine is not healthy for the baby so you should restrict yourself to one small cup of coffee or tea per day. Alcohol should also be avoided during pregnancy, even in the third trimester.
Don’t dwell on the food to avoid during pregnancy—enjoy all the tasty, nutritious meals that will be good for both of you!