By Shefali Jha Last Updated:
The arrival of a new, little member in the family always brings a lot of joy and happiness in everyone’s life. The well-being of a new-born is of paramount importance to everyone. New-born demands and should receive the utmost attention, nutrition and care both outside and inside the mother’s womb. And to ensure that the new-born gets the best of nutrition even when it is inside the womb, a lot of care has to be taken.
Just like there are foods which a pregnant woman must have while carrying, there are certain food items a pregnant woman must stay away from during the entire time of pregnancy as they might prove out to be harmful to the unborn. In some extreme cases, certain foods can even cause a miscarriage. Let’s take a look at the list of fruits, vegetables, spices and other foods to avoid during pregnancy:
First and foremost, papaya. No matter how the daily consumption of papaya lends you a beautiful, glowing skin or how it boosts your chances of weight loss; papaya can prove out to be quite harmful to the unborn child. Unripe or green papaya has high levels of laxatives which can initiate premature labour and in some cases, even miscarriage. The papaya seeds are also rich in enzymes which cause the contraction of the uterus. Hence, a pregnant woman must avoid papaya at all costs.
Another fruit which one must avoid having while being pregnant is pineapple. Pineapples are rich in a substance called bromelain which induces labour or triggers the contractions of the uterus due to which chances of miscarriage increase by many folds. Hence, a pregnant woman should not eat pineapple.
If you ask is it safe to eat peaches during pregnancy, the answer will be a big NO! Pregnant women might have a craving to enjoy some seasonal fruits like peach, but it is in the best interest of a pregnant woman to not eat peach during the early stages of their pregnancy. Peaches are generally considered to be a ‘hot’ fruit and consuming them in huge number might produce excessive heat in the body which may result in internal bleeding or miscarriage. The skin of the fruit and its tiny follicles might irritate the throat after being consumed.
Since wild apples are sour and quite acidic, they have a tendency to squeeze the uterus or initiate contractions. Hence, during pregnancy, wild apples should also be avoided.
Though crabs can prove out to be a rich source of calcium, they are also responsible for high levels of cholesterol in many. And a high level of cholesterol in a pregnant woman means shrinkage of the uterus, early and unnatural contractions, internal bleeding or miscarriage. All in all, crabs are not safe during pregnancy.
For many of the meat eaters out there, the animal liver is a go-to menu whenever we go to a restaurant. However, the consumption of any animal liver for a pregnant woman might lead to accumulation of retinol in the body. Because of this, the growth and development of the baby hampers. Consumption of animal liver for a pregnant woman is not harmful though as it is rich in vitamins which can prove out to be a good nutrient for the baby.
While fish can prove out to be a good nutrient for the baby, consumption of mercury-rich fish is pretty harmful to the unborn child. Fishes which have high mercury content can inversely affect the growth and development of the baby. Fishes to avoid during pregnancy are King mackerel, swordfish, tuna, shark, orange roughy, marlin, tilefish should be avoided during pregnancy. Our Indian variety of fishes – rohu, katla, ilish, etc don’t have any negative impact on the baby though.
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While you may have always heard that processed food is never good, one should be even more careful when it comes to pregnant women. Consumption of processed meat for a pregnant woman might lead to food poisoning. Processed food items like – salami, minced meat, sausages, pate, pepperoni have bacteria like – salmonella, listeria etc. Consumption of such bacteria harboured meat unknowingly may lead to many complications in pregnant women like – stillbirth, miscarriage, undergrowth etc.
Pregnant women are at a greater risk of miscarriage or stillbirth if they consume too much of seafood while carrying. Shellfish, oysters, sashimi, sushi, prawns etc. are the kinds of seafood that lead to miscarriage. The reason is that they are often laced with water bacteria like listeria which can prove out to be fatal for the unborn child. They also induce premature labour and contractions. Raw seafood is often laced with parasites like tapeworm etc which can cause serious damage to the intestine and abdomen of the pregnant women and also affect the growth of the child. Japanese preparation of seafood should be avoided during pregnancy at all costs as they only cook the seafood items from the outside and leave it raw inside.
Even though they are quite nutritious many eggs carry bacteria like – salmonella which may affect a baby’s growth and development inside the womb. The eggs carrying this bacterium might also lead to food poisoning, diarrhoea, fever, abdominal and intestinal pain, shrinkage of uterus or miscarriage. Hence, during pregnancy, all eggs consumed should be thoroughly cooked on the heat in order to kill the bacteria. Mayonnaise, mousse and smoothie contain egg yolks and such foods should be avoided during pregnancy.
While spices add flavour and taste to the food, many of them, when consumed in excess may prove harmful for the baby. There are certain spices that need to be avoided during pregnancy. Garlic and Angelica have blood thinning property and hence their consumption in excess can lead to bleeding or miscarriage. Spices like fenugreek, Ajinomoto and asafoetida can stimulate the uterus and induce premature contractions. Peppermint and Angelica are also the spices to be avoided during pregnancy.
While most women are asked to have a few black sesame seeds every day, white sesame seeds are ‘hot’ in property and sesame shouldn’t be consumed during pregnancy.
Despite its numerous skin benefits, aloe vera is harmful when consumed during pregnancy. A laxative, anthraquinones, present in aloe vera can cause bleeding and miscarriage.
Even though drumsticks are rich in iron and vitamin, it comprises of alpha-sitosterol which affects the growth and development of the baby. Therefore, consumption of drumsticks is harmful during pregnancy.
Caffeine and milk products should also be consumed in limited quantity during pregnancy as they have heating property. It is advisable to not drink coffee during pregnancy as it might cause a higher risk of miscarriage.
Even though these are some of the most commonly known food items to avoid during pregnancy, speak at length with your doctor to know more about what you should and shouldn’t consume while carrying.