A lot of mummies know what they should eat while pregnant. However, knowing the worst foods during pregnancy is just as essential as eating the right food. Keep yourself and your baby safe and healthy by removing certain items off the menu, at least for 9 months!
And while doing so, continue to maintain a balanced diet so your baby develops properly.
Here are 15 foods to avoid during pregnancy, and how they affect you and your baby.
15 Worst Foods During Pregnancy
1. Fish high in mercury
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Avoid eating fish that's high in mercury content like swordfish, king mackerel, or shark. The element delays babies' overall development and can cause neurological defects.
The American Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advises limiting your weekly portion of low-mercury fish to 8 to 12 ounces, like salmon, tuna, and cod. But make sure they're fully cooked through!
2. Raw eggs
It might have been part of your morning workout routine as a quick protein hit. After all, it's like a multi-vitamin pill!
But raw eggs carry the risk of salmonella, which can cause serious health problems in your unborn child. This makes raw eggs among the worst foods during pregnancy.
Avoid sauces and food products with uncooked eggs like chocolate mousse and salad dressings (think mayonnaise, Caesar salad).
Eggs are fine if you fully boil or fry them.
3. Unpasteurised cheese
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If you love cheese, take note! Soft, unpasteurised cheese like camembert, gorgonzola, and bleu cheese carry the bacterium Listeria.
This can cause listeriosis which results in an early miscarriage! These types of cheeses are included in the foods to avoid during early pregnancy, and throughout the nine months you are expecting.
Pasteurised cheese is safe, but check the label before purchasing or eating it!
4. Raw meat
Of the worst foods during pregnancy you could eat, raw meat is universally known to be blacklisted.
A raw steak or undercooked chicken also carries listeria. So remember that raw meat is included among the foods to avoid during pregnancy.
Make sure your meat is always thoroughly cooked. You can enjoy all the rare steak after the little one is out!
5. Fresh juice
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Try to avoid fresh-squeezed juice from restaurants. There is a chance that it's not pasteurised, meaning this seemingly-harmless drink carries the risk of salmonella and E.coli. This makes unpasteurised juices among the foods to avoid during early pregnancy and your entire pregnancy journey.
When buying fruit juice from supermarkets, check the label to see if it's pasteurised first.
6. Raw sprouts
Raw sprouts, like beansprouts, are staple ingredients in certain dishes like Pho. However, foods from this vegetable family, such as broccoli, cauliflower, radish, and even onions, are known to carry salmonella, listeria, and E.coli.
If you're cooking at home, make sure your sprouts are fully cooked. If you're ordering out, remove these from the dish if you're not sure, or order an alternate dish altogether.
Raw sprouts are among the foods to avoid during early pregnancy, and to be on the safe side, don’t eat them until the baby has come out.
7. Deli meats
It can be convenient to put in sandwiches or eat on the go.
However, these meats are known to contain listeria, making them one of the worst foods during pregnancy.
Cooking the meats at high temperature makes them safe to eat. If that ruins the flavour or enjoyment of deli meats, then consider not buying them for now!
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A bowl of cereal contains fibre and nutrients to promote healthy growth for your unborn baby.
But make sure to read the packaging before buying a box. Check for high sugar values that can contribute to gestational diabetes.
Even if the sugar values seem to be low, watch out for sneaky sugar substitutes in the form of additives, especially saccharin. Saccharin can cause bladder malfunction in your baby, making cereals high in sugar among the foods to avoid during pregnancy.
9. Frozen dinners
When you're short on time, throwing a frozen pre-made bought from the supermarket seems like the easiest option.
But for your health's sake, include this on your list of foods to avoid during pregnancy. They are usually high in monosodium glutamate (MSG) to retain their flavour. MSG can lead to unpleasant headaches, nausea, and dizziness - not what you need while pregnant!
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Consuming more than 200mg of caffeine daily has been linked with adverse side effects, like miscarriage. That is why coffee is among the foods to avoid during early pregnancy.
Drinking 200mg of caffeine daily equates to 12 ounces of coffee. The general rule of thumb is to cut down, if not cut out coffee from your diet while pregnant.
But note that other products may contain coffee! These include iced teas, soft drinks, and energy drinks. In addition, coffee ice cream, matcha drinks, and chocolate drinks contain caffeine as well.
Make sure to remember that these are the drinks to avoid during pregnancy.
11. Herbal teas
Herbal teas might seem like a good idea to indulge in while pregnant. But certain herbs can contribute toward preterm labour, or at worse, miscarriage. This makes them among the drinks to avoid during pregnancy.
Avoid drinking teas with herbs like Wormwood and Saw Palmetto. Despite the claimed ability to increase energy levels, these haven't been tested. Speak with your doctor if you feel more tired than usual and have concerns.
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12. Unwashed fruits and veggies
While some people purchase unwashed produce as a sign of their freshness, these items also carry Toxoplasma bacteria.
Toxoplasmic microbes dwell in the soil where these products grew. And it can give your baby and placenta an infection. For these reasons, unwashed fruits and veggies are among the worst foods during pregnancy.
Make sure to thoroughly wash fruits and vegetables bought from the supermarket before eating them.
It's general wisdom not to drink alcohol while pregnant.
"But surely a small glass every so often can't hurt, right?"
Actually, a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that even one alcoholic beverage each day significantly increases the risk of infant retardation in unborn babies.
Don't be tempted, mum-to-be! Remember that alcoholic beverages are among the drinks to avoid during pregnancy. Avoid alcohol at all costs.
14. Processed food
It's quite a broad category, but anything that's not homemade is likely to have a higher level of sugar content. This even includes bread, biscuits, and candy.
It feels like you're enjoying a sweet treat, but it can quickly lead to gestational diabetes. Although many pregnant ladies develop high blood sugar levels, it can result in more serious comorbid medical emergencies further down the line, such as shoulder dystocia!
To be on the safe side, hold off on processed food and include them among the foods to avoid during pregnancy.
15. Canned food
Popular canned foods like soup keep their flavour thanks to the high sodium content.
A high-salt diet will result in high blood pressure!
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Eat these foods in moderation. It's better if you get a lot more whole produce in your diet!
You might know which foods you should eat while pregnant. But it's equally important to know the worst foods during pregnancy, so you can avoid them and ensure a healthy journey for you and baby.
Start planning your diet during pregnancy now!
Updates by Romy Peña Cruz
Here at theAsianparent Singapore, it's important for us to give information that is correct, significant, and timely. But this doesn't serve as an alternative for medical advice or medical treatment. theAsianparent Singapore is not responsible for those that would choose to drink medicines based on information from our website. If you have any doubts, we recommend consulting your doctor for clearer information.