During pregnancy the food someone is taking influences both the heath of an expecting mother and unborn child. Pregnant women hear lots of confusing advice regarding food intake throughout the pregnancy from near and dear ones, and even from others who are unknown to her. Here is the list of some foods which should be avoided or severely limited as these may affect the immune system of the mother and the unborn baby.
Soft cheeses like brie, feta, Gorgonzola, Camembert, Roquefort, panela, queso blanco, queso fresco and blue cheese should be avoided as they are made of unpasteurized sheep and goat’s milk. Unpasteurized milk can deliver a kind of bacteria, named listeria which causes listeriosis–a life threatening infection to pregnant women and the unborn. It also may contain another bacteria called E. coli. During pregnancy, one can eat hard cheeses like cheddar. No matter what type of cheese it is, always check the label to confirm if the cheese is prepared from any pasteurized milk or not. In addition, check with a specialist or assigned doctor.
Unpasteurized milk and juice
During pregnancy a woman’s immune system is very sensitive. During the pregnancy months, drinking unpasteurized milk is harmful. It may carry bacteria such as campylobacter, E. coli, listeria and salmonella. Also, the fresh juice which is sold in restaurants, markets and juice bars may contain E. Coli. Health professionals suggests boiling juice and cider for a minimum of one minute before cooling and consuming.
Raw eggs may transfer salmonella and result in fever, vomiting and diarrhea. The egg must be completely cooked for consumption by pregnant women. When someone is baking cookies or cakes, pregnant women may be excited and may lick a bit of raw dough – this can transfer into harmful bacteria for the baby. Eggnog, homemade Caesar salad dressing, Bearnaise sauce, hollandaise sauce, mayonnaise, homemade desserts; including mousse, meringue, tiramisu and ice cream should also be avoided for the same reason.
Uncooked meat and fish
Undercooked meats and fish also contain parasites and bacteria, so one should not eat sushi, ham salad, chicken salad and seafood salad- or at least see the doctor to determine levels of consumption. When cooking meat, it being thoroughly cooked is essential. Refrigerated meat such as turkey, roast beef, ham, hot dogs, prosciutto, bologna, pâté, etc. should not be eaten until steaming (165° F). In addition, pregnant women should be cautious about deli meats, canned meat spreads, dry uncooked or undercooked sausages, such as salami and pepperoni, refrigerated smoked seafood i.e. smoked salmon, smoked trout, whitefish, cod, tuna and all kinds of raw shell-fish like, oysters, mussels and clams.
Some sea fish for their mercury content
Though fish is good for the baby and the mother, sometimes it is better cut off some types from the diet as they contain methyl mercury in a higher levels, which can affect the baby’s nervous system. Seafood of this type are swordfish, tilefish (white or golden snapper), and shark. According to US Food and Drug Administration, one can eat weekly, a maximum 12 ounces (approximately two meals) of lower-mercury fish such as catfish, pollack, salmon, shrimp and canned light tuna. Fish like albacore (white) tuna is approved per week not more than six ounces.
Raw or undercooked sprouts, for example; clover, alfalfa, mung bean and radish may contain E. coli and Salmonella bacteria. Before eating one needs to check sandwiches to be sure that they do not have raw sprouts. Cook sprouts thoroughly to destroy any bacteria.
Caffeine and alcohol
Though a moderate amount of caffeine is safe during pregnancy, still the majority stands on the opinion that higher amounts of caffeine can increase the chance of miscarriage. The March of Dimes Foundation that works to improve the health of mothers and babies, advises the pregnant women or who are trying to conceive should limit caffeine to 200 mg per day or 12-ounce cup of coffee. One must also remember that caffeine is also available in soda, tea, chocolate, and in some energy drinks.
Additionally, heavy drinking during pregnancy can cause serious birth defects. It is best for both mother and baby if drinking any form of alcohol, such as wine, beer and coolers are extremely limited or by the suggestion of the doctor. Traditional eggnog should be eliminated altogether, completing a list of foods that may cause harm during pregnancy.
By Rahad Abir