A woman’s body goes through several hormonal and physical changes during pregnancy. To stay healthy and strong during pregnancy, you must consume enough pregnancy nutrition that can aid in the proper growth and development of the baby. This is because the food you eat is the main source of nutrition for your baby. Thus, it is essential to get all the necessary nutrients you need. Also, if the baby is malnourished due to a lack of nutrients, this will affect their health into adulthood. A malnourished baby has a higher risk of developing conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart diseases.
Understanding the Importance of Dietary Restrictions
Doctors usually advise pregnant women to avoid eating certain foods. This is because these foods can cause several health conditions, such as being overweight, toxicity, etc., which may lead to complications during childbirth.
Doctors recommend avoiding raw and unprocessed foods because they may contain bacteria and parasites that can cause conditions such as toxoplasmosis, which might result in miscarriage. In addition, you might also have to give up your favourite sushi, steak, or coffee. Moreover, you will have to keep that old red wine bottle somewhere in the closet until your baby is born.
Doctors also restrict pregnant women from consuming any mercury-infused fish, such as tuna, sharks, etc. This is because too much mercury content in the bloodstream might damage the foetus’s developing nervous system and brain. There are other foods that we will discuss later in the article, which doctors do not recommend eating during pregnancy due to the health hazards they pose.
Foods to Avoid During Pregnancy
There are certain foods that might be harmful during pregnancy. Thus, it is advisable to avoid the following foods:
A. Raw or undercooked meat and seafood – Consuming undercooked or raw meat increases the chances of contracting bacteria or parasites, which can harm the health of both the mother and the baby. While most germs are found on the surface of the meat, some may persist within the muscle fibres.
A pregnant woman can have sirloins, tenderloins, and ribeye from lamb, beef, and veal. However, this is only true if the meat is whole or uncut and has been thoroughly cooked on the outside. It is never safe to consume cut meat, uncooked or undercooked, including beef patties, minced meat, burgers, pork, and poultry. Hence, these options are not recommended for a pregnancy diet.
B. Unpasteurised dairy products – Raw milk and other unpasteurised dairy products may contain hazardous bacteria such as Listeria, Salmonella, E. coli, and Campylobacter. These bacteria can cause various diseases like food poisoning and uterine cramping, which can be fatal to the unborn baby. The bacteria may develop naturally or due to contamination during collection or storage. Therefore, it is essential to include only pasteurised dairy products in your pregnancy diet.
C. Raw or lightly cooked eggs – Raw eggs contain salmonella, a kind of bacteria that can cause fever, vomiting, nausea, stomach pains, and diarrhoea. Additionally, it could lead to uterine cramping, potentially resulting in stillbirth or preterm birth. Raw eggs are frequently used in the following foods:
However, the majority of raw egg products are pasteurised and safe to eat. To be certain, always read the label and consult a doctor to determine if they can be included in the pregnancy diet.
D. Certain types of fish with high mercury content – Metallic mercury can contaminate waters and can be highly hazardous. It affects the kidneys, immune system, and brain if consumed in higher doses. During pregnancy, even at smaller doses, it may also cause damage to the mother, and the children might have significant developmental issues. A pregnant woman must avoid consuming large fish because they contain mercury in large quantities. The fishes mentioned below are said to have higher mercury levels-
E. Deli meats and processed meats – During manufacturing or storage, different bacteria can contaminate hot dogs, lunch meat, pepperoni, and deli meat. Since these meats are not cooked, they could contain bacteria or parasites. Furthermore, processed meats may be high in sodium and harmful fats. It is recommended to stay away from deli meats and make sure that processed meats you are consuming, like sausages, are well-cooked.
F. High-caffeine foods and beverages – It may be difficult to give up your second cup of tea or coffee, but during the next nine months, it’s advised that you monitor your caffeine intake. Large doses of caffeine impede foetal development. Be sure to carefully check nutrition labels because different meals and beverages contain varying amounts of caffeine.
G. Alcohol and tobacco – Alcohol raises the risk of miscarriage during pregnancy. It also causes stillbirth, foetal alcohol syndrome (FAS), and pregnancy loss. It’s best to stay away from alcohol completely because there is no known safe amount to consume while pregnant.
IV. Substitutes and Alternatives
While you are pregnant, you would want to eat plenty of protein, iron, calcium, and other essential vitamins. These can be obtained by consuming lean meat, seafood, whole grains, etc. Additionally, you can obtain these nutrients from plant-based foods. Below are a few foods that you can eat during pregnancy for a healthy you and your baby:
V. Balanced Nutrition for a Healthy Pregnancy
A balanced nutrition during pregnancy is much needed by the mother. It includes foods from the five groups – fruits, protein, dairy, grains, and vegetables. The additional nutrients help the baby grow and develop. A healthy diet throughout pregnancy can guarantee that your baby has the best possible start in life. The meal plan is well-balanced and includes plenty of:
A balanced pregnancy nutrition that you can eat during pregnancy consists of similar amounts of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients found in a general healthy diet. The only difference is that you require larger amounts to make up for the extra effort your body is making and the needs of the baby. Below are some of the nutrition you would need for a healthy pregnancy:
Consulting with a Healthcare Provider
Sometimes, it can be very overwhelming to decide on a pregnancy diet. Therefore, it is advisable to consult a doctor and let them guide you on what you can eat during your pregnancy. This is crucial because you need sufficient protein, calories, good fats, calcium, and various other nutrients for the baby’s growth. Additionally, if you are not getting enough nutrients from your regular diet, the doctor might prescribe some supplements to ensure adequate nutrition during pregnancy.
It must be noted that pregnant women should never take supplements or medications without consulting a doctor. Moreover, it is essential to always seek advice from the best gynaecologist in Hyderabad to ensure proper checkups and receive guidance on pregnancy nutrition.
Intaking proper nutrition during pregnancy is crucial because the food you eat contributes significantly to the baby’s growth and development. Therefore, making informed choices about your diet and avoiding potential risks to the baby’s health is essential.
A healthy diet is important for all stages of life, but it becomes even more vital during pregnancy. There is no need to go on a special diet, but it is also not advisable to indulge every craving. Strive to maintain the right balance of nutrients in the food you eat every day to promote better health and proper growth of the baby.
Try having a nutritious breakfast with nuts, whole grains, vitamin C-rich fruits, and leafy green vegetables every morning – this will help you avoid snacking, which often leads to weight gain. Additionally, inform your doctor if you are lactose intolerant, as it might cause lactic acidosis, which is harmful to both the mother and the baby. Vary your diet throughout the day to prevent getting bored with what you eat and never consume anything unusual without consulting a doctor. If you are searching for the best gynaecologist in Hyderabad, visit Giggles Hospital for a comprehensive pregnancy checkup. Book your appointment today.