Most mothers in the world would have a converging view, when asked to describe happiest moments in their life. All of them would invariably zero with the arrival of their baby as the right answer. It is indeed so. However, these happy moments come at a cost. Most mothers would not mind it to reach the ultimate goal of giving birth to a healthy baby. There are several restrictions on “What to eat during Pregnancy?”. The expectant mothers are flooded with suggestions about things to eat and things not to eat. Some components of otherwise normal eating habits need to be avoided during pregnancy. There are valid medical reasons for the need to discard certain items during the full period of pregnancy.
Soft cheese may contain E coli or Listeria, as the cheese is mold ripened. Although rare, the danger of eventual miscarriage or stillbirth, due infection cannot be totally ruled out. Discretion demands that these products are best avoided. Avoidable cheeses include brie, camembert, gorgonzola, rockfort and goats’ cheese. Instead hard cheeses like cheddar or Swiss can be consumed.
Raw or Under-cooked Meat Curry
Toxoplasmosis is an infection caused by a parasite found in raw or undercooked meat. This infection is also rare, but can damage the baby. Thorough cooking will ensure destruction of the hazardous parasite.
Some varieties of Fish
Shark, swordfish and marlin are some of the potentially risky varieties of fish, which need to be totally avoided. Even consumption of Tuna fish needs to be controlled to bare minimum. High levels of mercury in these varieties of fish have a detrimental effect on a baby’s nervous system.
Sushi made from raw fish, which is frozen first is safe for eating, as the freezing process kills worms in the fish. Non frozen fish can contain worms. Some restaurants tend to use non frozen fish for sushi preparation. In such a scenario, the safest route for pregnant women is to avoid eating sushi.
Vitamin A rich Foods
Fish liver oil or liver patty or supplements containing Vitamin A need to be totally avoided, as excess of Vitamin A is reported to be detrimental for pregnant women. Data shows that excessive levels of Vitamin A in pregnant women are responsible for the birth of children with defects. Although there is disagreement within the medical community about threshold levels of Vitamin A, it is better to avoid the risks.
Doctors are constantly advising all women to shun alcohol before and during pregnancy. Alcohol consumption is said to cause many undesirable effects on the unborn child. History of mothers giving birth to children with serious birth defects, were studied minutely and it was found that the cause of the defects was essentially consumption of alcohol during pregnancy. Hence alcohol in all forms needs to be avoided.
Presently there are two opinions in the medical fraternity about the suitability of peanuts in pregnant women’s diet. One opinion gives a green chit to peanuts. However, there are strong opinions, indicating that if pregnant woman’s family history shows instances of eczema, asthma or food allergy, then peanuts are best avoided.
Unpasteurized milk has a potential danger of containing variety infection causing entities. The milk, if available, in unpasteurized form, needs to be thoroughly boiled to remove the infection causing bacteria. Equal care is required to be taken before consuming milk products. The products can be consumed only after ascertaining that the milk used in the product is pasteurized.
Raw Bean Sprouts
Raw bean sprouts can be eaten only if they are distinctly marked as ‘ready to eat’. Otherwise the danger of these sprouts containing salmonella and E. coli remains. The contamination can lead to food poisoning.
Unwashed vegetables & fruits
Unwashed vegetables and fruits have the danger of containing many parasites, which can cause a number of infections. Thorough washing in running water will ensure removal of the bacteria. Infection causing bacteria are generally found in the soil attached to vegetables and fruits. Use of soap for washing is not recommended. Small vegetable brush can be used for cleaning. Bruised area should be chopped off.
The list can be extended to include many more things. The recommendations are based on wide research results. Some of the results may not be exactly valid, in individual cases. In fact, it is always better to visit a doctor and get a complete list of avoidable components in eating for individual expectant mother. The doctor would be in a position to recommend few things, based on health status of pregnant woman. There is no alternative, but to take abundant precautions during pregnancy. There has to be a happy ending to all stories. In this case the story would end with the arrival of an angel like baby.