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    Pregnancy Foods to Avoid

     Surbhi Dhuper


    Several women, who have been there, would agree that while getting pregnant is one thing, the  journey to meeting your baby is another. When the baby finally announces its arrival in your womb, your life is no longer only yours. And for that matter, your body too. 

    Amidst all the body changes that you have to go through, you also develop new tastes. As you try to wrap your head around an inexplicable dislike towards your favourite foods, you will also have to avoid a few things. 

    Without further ado, here is a roundup of all the food items that can cause harm to you or your baby, Of course, you can check with your health practitioner if you would still want to have them in limited quantities. Every pregnancy is different, and if you are lucky, your doctor may allow you a few cheat meals.

    • Caffeine

    Are you one of those who find it tough to go about your day without your cuppa? Well, you will have to let it go while you are expecting, for better or for worse. Caffeine gets passed on to the baby through your placenta, and the baby does not have the right enzymes to digest it. Due to this accumulation, caffeine can lead to low birth weight, type 2 diabetes in the baby, and other growth and development issues. In some cases, it can also cause infant death.

    Your doctor will be in a better position to guide you if you would still like to have it every once one in a while. 

    • Alcohol

    With your pregnancy, must begin your abstinence period as far as alcohol is considered. While your doctor may allow you an occasional glass of wine, having anything during your first trimester is a big no-no. It can result in miscarriage or deformities in the facial features of your baby.

    There are several other ways in which alcohol can impact your baby. Apart from low birth weight and stillbirth, it can cause permanent disabilities in your child. It includes physical, mental and behavioural problems, which are collectively known as fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs).

    Don’t worry if you have been enjoying your alcohol till now. It is never too late to stop.

    • Fruits like papaya and pineapple

    The first thing that my mother-in-law told me when I announced my pregnancy to her was to stop eating papaya. Honestly, I didn’t believe that fruit could cause harm to me or my baby. However, when my doctor gave me the same advice, I had to research a bit.

    Papaya has earned this reputation due to latex, which can cause premature contractions and even miscarriage. It also contains enzymes like papain and pepsin, which can cause abnormalities in your baby.

    Similarly, pineapple contains bromelain, which can induce labour. It is why you must avoid it throughout your pregnancy but can have it as you inch closer to your due date.

    • Street food

    While there is nothing primarily wrong with street food, it is the hygiene aspect that you should be careful about. Some women crave for their favourite chaat items more during pregnancy. However, it is advisable to cook them at home to satisfy your cravings.

    Street vendors may skip the hygiene norms and offer substandard items that may cause discomfort. Any instance of indigestion or diarrhoea may cause an electrolyte imbalance and lead to more complicated health problems. Moreover, spicy food may increase your heartburn which is a common complaint during those nine months.

    • Raw meat and eggs

    If you are a fan of sushi or cold cut meats, we have some bad news for you. Uncooked meats and eggs are home to parasites and harmful bacteria such as salmonella. 

    Apart from this, you will also have to be careful about eating fish. Although a rich source of proteins and essential nutrients, some varieties of fish have a high content of mercury. It is related to developmental issues in the brain or nervous system of the unborn baby. Tuna and king mackerel belong to this category and should be avoided at all costs. 

    • Fenugreek seeds

    These power-packed seeds are a blessing for lactating mothers and are often given to them in the form of methi laddoos. Methi seeds have a high concentration of galactagogues that help in breastmilk production. However, it can cause contractions and should not be consumed up until the 37th week of the pregnancy. 

    • Unpasteurised milk and cheese

    Milk and its products are one of the best superfoods that you can have in your pregnancy. However, you must boil the milk and avoid all unpasteurised milk products. It is because such food items may contain harmful microbes that may impact the growth of your baby.

    • Ajinomoto

    Ajinomoto is the reason why you enjoy Chinese food from your local street vendor. It gives an inexplicable delicious flavour to your noodles, and it is this taste that keeps calling you back.

    However, Ajinomoto can have health implications. Also known as monosodium glutamate, or MSG, it can have adverse effects during your pregnancy. When had in excessive amounts, it can damage the placental layer that protects your baby from the acidic food in your stomach. 

    Even when you go to a restaurant to indulge in your favourite Chinese cuisine, it is advisable to check with the staff if they add MSG to their food. If they do, I recommend ordering something that does not have it.

    In Summary

    I have tried my best to share a comprehensive list of foods to avoid during your pregnancy. However, several households will have more items added to this list. For the safety of your child, it is best to check with your doctor and clear your doubts.

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