By Kamakshi Ganesh
If you are wondering what kind of diet to follow through your pregnancy, this post is just for you! Magical as this time is, it’s very important to not drop the ball when it comes to your food and nutrition plan because what you eat is for your growing baby too. At large, the rule of thumb should be to eat fresh, clean food that packs in a lot of nutrients in a mouthful and not much in empty calories. However, it is important to be mindful of some foods that are better avoided during pregnancy for the safety of the mother and the child.
For a healthy pregnancy, a balanced nutrient variety is essential to the mother’s diet – this involves the right balance of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats, and consuming a wide variety of vegetables and fruits. Following a pregnancy food chart might help you follow through on a healthy meal plan through the trimesters.
Here are some foods to avoid during pregnancy:
1. Unpasteurized milk and dairy products
Unpasteurized milk and soft cheeses made from said milk - like brie and feta - contains microbes that are detrimental to the health of the unborn baby.
However, dairy products that are pasteurized like milk and paneer, yogurt and hard cheese made from pasteurized milk are rich in calcium, vitamin D and protein. All these nutrients are essential to the growth and bone development of the baby. So don’t avoid ALL dairy products; just be mindful of the unpasteurized kind!
This is one of the hardest foods to give up, especially because pregnancy can be an exhausting affair! But you don’t have to completely cut caffeine out of your diet. WHO recommends a maximum of 300mg of caffeine/day. Consuming more than that could lead to a difficult birth, low birth weight and in rare cases, even miscarriage.
Besides just coffee and tea, caffeine is present in a number of foods like energy drinks, soft drinks and even some cold/flu remedies. Make sure to consult with your doctor and ensure that you stick to the recommended caffeine levels!
We all have that craving for delicious Chinese food every once in a while! However, it’s wise to avoid it during the course of your pregnancy. Most Asian restaurants add MSG or ajinomoto to their food and this additive is found to have an adverse effect in the development of the foetus. MSG is also commonly found in a lot of processed foods like soy sauce, food colouring, broth and seasoning so make sure to read the food labels thoroughly. And heartbreaking as it is, these are definitely foods to avoid during pregnancy.
4. High mercury seafood
These would rate pretty high in the list of foods to avoid during pregnancy. Certain deep-sea fish such as king mackerel, shark and swordfish have high levels of mercury which is found to affect the foetus’s nervous system. However since fish is also high in omega 3-fatty acids and protein, you can consume certain varieties in moderation.
While on the subject of seafood, raw fish in the form of sushi, raw oysters or sashimi should also definitely be avoided. Raw or undercooked seafood could expose your baby to bacteria and other harmful parasites.
5. Refined Flour Products
Try and avoid items made from refined flour. But you needn’t avoid these foods like roti, dosa, noodles, bread and pasta altogether. Instead, substitute refined flour with whole grains like millets, oats and brown rice.
Especially during the first trimester, grains are essential in providing energy to your baby and also aid in the growth of the placenta. Since grains like whole wheat, brown rice, oats and millets are unrefined; they are rich in fibre and nutrients. The fibre present in these whole grains, help maintain a healthy bowel through the course of pregnancy too.
Just focus on maintaining a well-balanced diet and keeping yourself active through the pregnancy to ensure both you and your baby stay fit and healthy!