How to Avoid Harmful Foods During Pregnancy
Your growing fetus needs proper nutrition for optimal development. Not only does your baby need vitamins and minerals to grow, but she also needs to be protected from potentially harmful foods as well.
Side effects from foodborne illness and toxicity range from fetal changes such as birth weight and nervous system damage all the way to death, so pay close attention to what you eat while you are pregnant to avoid bringing harm to your baby.
5 Steps to Avoid Harmful Foods During Pregnancy
1. Avoid sources of potentially harmful bacteria such as listeria and salmonella.
These bacteria may be found in raw seafood, unpasteurized dairy products, unwashed fruits or vegetables, raw eggs and pâté or meat spreads that aren’t canned.
Pregnancy reduces the effectiveness of even your developed immune system, and your baby’s is even more vulnerable to foodborne illness.
2. Stay away from foods containing caffeine.
Reduce your intake of liquid sources of caffeine such as coffee, tea, sodas and energy drinks, as well as foods that contain caffeine such as some energy bars and desserts made with chocolate or coffee.
According to Baby Center, aily consumption of caffeine in excess of 200 mg doubled miscarriage risk. So reduce your intake of this stimulant to increase your baby safety and well being.
3. Reduce your intake of fish to avoid potential exposure to pollutants.
Methyl-mercury can adversely affect your baby’s nervous system. It is found in most fish, particularly the larger varieties that live longer and have more time to accumulate it, such as swordfish and shark. Limit your weekly intake of all fish to 12 ounces, with less than half being from higher mercury fish such as canned white albacore tuna.
4. Avoid food additives.
The flavor enhancer monosodium glutamate (MSG) and the sweetener saccharin both pass through the placenta and into your developing baby’s body. MSG has been observed to damage the brains of fetal mice, and saccharine can accumulate in your baby’s bladder and has been shown to increase the cancer risk in offspring of animals that have consumed it regularly.
Artificial food coloring is suspect in child hyperactivity and allergic intolerance. Read labels to be aware of what your food contains, and stay away from processed foods with additives whenever possible.