15 foods that a pregnant woman cannot eat
A healthy pregnancy depends largely on a nutritious diet of the mother, so she must have a varied and very complete diet to meet her own nutritional needs and those of the baby. That is why you have to pay close attention to foods that are prohibited during pregnancy.
The idea of doing a diet for pregnant women can keep aside certain cravings for foods and foods that can be harmful to the mother and the baby, because we must not ignore that nutrition during pregnancy is a key aspect, if not essential, to guarantee the optimal development of the fetus and a healthy gestational advance.
That is why the pregnancy diet should focus on meeting the nutritional needs of both, prioritizing the consumption of fruits and vegetables several times a day, an efficient protein and dairy intake.
This will be better explained to you by your doctor, since after having a positive pregnancy test, the next step is to seek your health provider to start prenatal care .
But, in general, we can list some foods that a pregnant woman can eat.
Diet in pregnancy
- Plant-based foods: fruits and vegetables, especially fruits rich in vitamin C such as oranges and green leafy vegetables such as spinach and lettuce.
- Legumes and cereals, which provide energy and fiber as well as carbohydrates.
- Meat, fish and dairy products for being rich in iron and calcium.
All these food groups are part of a nutritious and balanced diet , which should be had before pregnancy, maintained during and after pregnancy, because it will also help enrich breastfeeding.
Foods to avoid in pregnancy
It is also important to know those foods that pregnant women can not eat, to avoid succumbing to them when you have a craving.
To begin with, there are some foods that are prohibited during pregnancy in the first trimester, such as sushi or any other type of raw meat, including smoked sausages.
The reason is due to bacteria and parasites that may be present in raw foods. Some of them do not directly affect the fetus, but produce gastrointestinal disorders in the mother such as diarrhea and vomiting, which lead to dehydration that can harm both.
On the other hand, some parasites such as toxoplasma gondii cause severe infections in the fetus, leaving sequelae in the central nervous system, hearing or visual loss.
Many women wonder if pregnant women can eat shellfish. In this case, the ideal is to avoid raw or undercooked seafood due to the risk of contracting listeria and anisakis, parasite infections that live in the digestive tract.
To have a broader view of the foods that should be avoided during pregnancy, you can read the list below of the 15 foods that are prohibited during pregnancy, including drinks.
What you should NOT eat during pregnancy… or drink
1. Raw fish
Fish that are prepared raw, such as in sushi, are more likely to contain bacteria and parasites if they have not been properly refrigerated. So avoid eating ceviche, fish carpaccio or smoked salmon to reduce the risks of anisakis infections. It is also advised not to eat large fish, because the mercury content in these is higher, so an alternative is to eat cod during pregnancy, sardines, whiting, among others that are small and well cooked.
2. Raw meat
Any meat must be cooked properly, without traces of blood or pink areas, no matter what animal it is. Still, you should be especially careful with beef and not eat it raw to avoid contracting toxoplasmosis. Above we commented that infection by this parasite can cause irremediable problems in the fetus, including blindness, epilepsy, among others.
3. Raw dairy
Raw milk, unpasteurized and moldy cheeses have a higher risk of containing bacteria such as Listeria, which is found in raw foods and can cause spontaneous abortion, different digestive infections and even the death of the newborn. During pregnancy, the prohibited cheeses are Brie, Gorgonzola, Roquefort, Camembert and Feta cheese. Instead, you can safely eat cheddar, Parmesan, and mozzarella cheese. Also, cream cheese, cottage cheese and sliced cheese.
4. Raw seafood
The risk is the same as with uncooked fish, so avoid eating raw oysters and shellfish, as you will reduce the risk of poisoning that can endanger your life and that of the baby.
Homemade pâtés have not been refrigerated properly, the same is true of some meat spreads that can be infected with listeria, so it is better to be safe than to have a hard time with gastrointestinal infections.
6. Sausages and ham
These foods can also be contaminated with Toxoplasma Gondii and you already know all the negative effects that this parasite has on the fetus, so avoid the consumption of sausages during pregnancy, especially products made from raw meat.
7. Raw egg
Eggs cannot be eaten raw or semi-raw due to the risk of contracting salmonella, as this bacterium affects the digestive system, can cause severe dehydration, meningitis, among other diseases. It is also advisable to avoid foods that contain raw eggs in their preparation, such as hollandaise sauce or homemade mayonnaise.
8. Some infusions
There are several herbs that cannot be taken as infusions during pregnancy, since they stimulate uterine movements and can even trigger an abortion or premature birth. Some of them are rue, eucalyptus, mint, anise, sage, Ginkgo biloba tea and the list goes on. On the contrary, you can take chamomile from time to time to relax a little or a ginger tea to calm nausea.
9. Vegetables without disinfection
All foods must be washed very well before being consumed, especially vegetables and fruits. Likewise, the necessary care must be maintained with the utensils to avoid cross-contamination and contact with raw meat and other foods.
However, we want to emphasize that eating vegetables during pregnancy is very important, because it represents an important source of iron, vitamin C, folic acid, among other nutrients. For this reason, many doctors recommend, for example, eating asparagus during pregnancy, since these have probiotic properties, provide antioxidants, minerals such as potassium, vitamin E, among others.
Raw sprouts and sprouts are prone to contamination by bacteria such as E. Colli or salmonella. Therefore, you should avoid eating alfalfa, soybeans, radishes or clover, unless you cook them well to reduce any risk of contamination and infection.
Too much caffeine can increase your risk of miscarriage, so try to have a small cup a day or avoid caffeine altogether. Caffeine as the main active ingredient in this drink can affect the baby’s weight, cause diabetes or heart failure. Also, you must remember that caffeine is present in other foods and beverages, so you must take care of the consumption of chocolate during pregnancy, as well as green tea, among others.
12. Soft drinks, energy drinks and sugary drinks
Drinking coca cola during pregnancy is not healthy. Excess sugar in these and other soft drinks predisposes the mother to gestational diabetes . In addition, sugary, carbonated and energy drinks contain caffeine in different proportions and we already talked about how harmful this component is. If you want a refreshing drink, you can try lemon water during pregnancy, as its benefits are numerous. We start by increasing defenses, due to its vitamin C content, therefore it helps prevent colds and flu. It also works as a detoxifying drink that improves liver function, stimulates digestion and lowers blood pressure levels.
Alcoholic beverages are harmful to the developing baby, so they should be avoided because otherwise there is a risk of miscarriage, stillbirth, heart defects, mental retardation, among others.
14. Processed foods
Eating processed foods, pastries, and ready meals means introducing more salt, fat, calories, and refined sugars into your diet. Therefore, it decreases the nutritional values of other foods, can cause gestational diabetes and affect the mother’s weight gain. Similarly, it can affect the weight of the baby, producing obesity.
So it is best to opt for fresh foods, fruits and vegetables, natural sweeteners and reduce industrialized foods. In this sense, using honey during pregnancy is beneficial due to its high energy value, folic acid content and vitamin content.
Likewise, we reiterate the importance of eating fruits, especially those that have direct benefits on the fetus. Such is the case of pineapple in pregnancy, whose vitamin C content favors the formation of collagen necessary for the growth of the fetus and its structures, as well as its neurological development.
15. Salt and seasoning
High consumption of salt and condiments rich in sodium can alter blood pressure in pregnant women, promote fluid retention and trigger preeclampsia . Therefore, you must take care of the amount of salt that you put in your meals and when it comes to seasoning you can use olive oil and lemon to dress salads.