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Five foods you should avoid while pregnant

Pregnancy By Esther Muchene
During pregnancy, everything you do and even how you feel affects your baby (Photo: Shutterstock)

Pregnancy brings many changes to your usual lifestyle. From the first day of pregnancy, everything you do and even how you feel affects your baby. If you are used to doing activities that require a lot of force and vigour, you’ll have to switch them up for less strenuous ones as the baby continues to develop.

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If you are used to eating different types of foods and trying new things as far as diet is concerned, things will also have to change.

Medically, certain foods are restricted for pregnant women while others are recommended. Some foods are known to increase the chances of a miscarriage, which is every mom’s nightmare.

Having a successful pregnancy and delivery requires that you pay close attention and avoid harmful foods and drinks. Post-delivery, some of these foods should still be consumed moderately.

Below is a list of foods that expectant mothers should definitely avoid.

i. Raw meats

In supermarkets today, we find so many raw meat products such as ham, salami and other ready to eat meats. When you are not expectant, these products get tossed into your shopping cart without thinking twice. For pregnant women however, more keenness should be observed. These meats can contain harmful bacteria such as Listeria, E. coli and salmonella, which could possibly cause a miscarriage. In order to avoid this, meats should always be thoroughly cooked or boiled before consumption. This way, you and the baby can avoid risk of contamination.

ii. High mercury fish

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Fish are one of the most recommended sources of vitamins, omega 3, iron, fatty acids and other great benefits. Pregnant women are often recommended to consume fish on a regular basis because it also improves the development of the baby. Still, there are certain types of fish with high mercury content, which are very harmful and should be avoided. These fish include swordfish, tuna and mackerel just to name a few. High mercury content fish are known to impair growth by damaging the nervous system, kidneys and other harmful effects. Low mercury fish are okay to consume, but the ones with a lot of mercury should be avoided even for breastfeeding women.

Having a successful pregnancy and delivery requires that you pay close attention to what you are eating (Photo: Shutterstock)

iii. Raw eggs

Raw eggs or undercooked eggs should be avoided by pregnant women. This is because they contain bacteria such as salmonella, which could have dire consequences for the baby. During a pregnancy, the body isn’t able to handle and destroy these infections once they occur. This can then transfer these bacteria to the unborn baby and lead to a miscarriage. Pregnant women should therefore avoid runny eggs, undercooked eggs and other desserts and foods that may contain raw eggs.

iv. Raw and unwashed produce

Expectant mothers should also avoid consuming raw or undercooked vegetables and poorly washed fruits. Produce usually comes into contact with dirt and unclean hands so different types of parasites and bacteria survive on them. When they are cultivated in the farms and gardens, a harmful parasite known to affect pregnant women is Toxoplasma. This is a deadly parasite because it can cause stillbirths, miscarriages, blindness and even severe brain damage to an unborn child.

Pregnant women are instructed to always wash fruits and vegetables very well. Also, it’s best to avoid eating raw salads from restaurants because you aren’t aware how clean they are. Vegetables should be thoroughly cooked so that these parasites and other types of bacteria are eliminated.

v. Unpasteurized products

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Pasteurization is the process that eliminates harmful bacteria from products such as cheese and milk and fruit juices. These products, when consumed directly, contain harmful bacteria and other microorganisms including Listeria, Toxoplasma and E.coli. These parasites and bacteria easily cause food poisoning and also have negative effects on the baby. While pregnant, it’s best to avoid drinking freshly squeezed juices from fruit bars and drinking milkshakes from random places since you aren’t sure that they are bacteria free.

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