Foods to Avoid VS Foods to Have When You Are Pregnant

Pregnancy is a remarkable milestone in every woman’s life and it is also a period when you need to take great care of your body more than ever as well! As your body will undergo various biological changes, getting enough nutrition should be your utmost priority during this time. When it comes to your diet during pregnancy, there are foods you should refrain from having and foods that you are encouraged to consume. We understand how tough it can be for you to keep tabs on the right food to have. Therefore, we have listed what to eat and what not to eat when pregnant for you.

First and foremost, let’s start with the food you should avoid. It is important to identify which foods could affect your wellbeing during pregnancy so that you can plan out your meals. So which foods should you be wary of?

Foods to Avoid

Certain Types of Cheese

Cheese is a popular ingredient that we can spot in food, snacks, or even drinks, and they are well-loved by many. They are creamy, tender, a little nutty and sometimes salty as well.

While dairies are good for you during pregnancy, there are some cheeses that you might want to stay away from at this point. Why?

Some cheeses such as Roquefort, Feta, Gorgonzola, Brie and Camembert are commonly found unpasteurized, thus may contain Listeria. Wait, why is this such a big deal? Well, it is because pregnant women are 10 times more likely to be infected with Listeria, as mentioned by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States. 

Listeriosis can cause miscarriage, low infant birthweight, premature labour and even infant death.  Avoiding these cheeses, for the time being would be a safer choice.

Mercury-Rich Fishes

One of the foods you should generally avoid during pregnancy is mercury-rich fishes. Mercury is harmless when consumed in low quantities. However, it does pose serious harm when taken in large sums.

Excessive intake of mercury could cause severe spinal, brain and kidney damage. The damage is not limited to only you but it also includes your unborn baby too!

But then again, there are a lot of fishes in the ocean, so which one is a no-no to you? For instance, you should avoid consuming sharks, king mackerel, tilefish, swordfish and even the infamous tuna! Meanwhile, canned tuna that uses skipjack tuna are lower in mercury and are generally safe for mommies to consume.

Raw or Undercooked Eggs and Meats

When preparing meat or eggs based meals, it is worth keeping in mind that these meals should be prepared well and cooked thoroughly. Traces of blood or pink on the meat can be a host for toxoplasmosis, a parasite that resides in raw meat while undercooked eggs may contain salmonella.

This parasite is dangerous to pregnant mothers as it can cause stillborn, damage the baby’s nervous system. Thus making raw or undercooked eggs and meat a pregnancy food to avoid. All in all, well-done meat is well done indeed!

If you still have the urge to have undercooked eggs in your meals during pregnancy, the least you can do is to make sure foods that are made with raw or lightly cooked eggs are only made with only pasteurized eggs.

Some examples of food that uses raw or lightly cooked eggs include:

  • Homemade caesar salad dressing
  • Homemade mayonnaise
  • Tiramisu
  • Homemade ice-cream
  • Eggs benedict
  • Homemade Hollandaise sauce

Alcohol During Pregnancy

During pregnancy, it is wise for you to avoid alcohol-based food and drinks altogether as it affects the brain development of your baby. Plus consuming alcohol would increase risk of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, higher risk of miscarriage, stillbirth, lifelong physical, behavioural and intellectual disabilities. You might want to put those good drinks off for now.

Now that we have covered what foods to avoid when pregnant, let’s go over to the tasty, healthy, scrumptious foods you can have!

Foods You Should Get

Dairy Foods

Dairy products are beneficial for pregnant mothers. They are a great source for proteins and calcium, nutrients which are important for the growth of your unborn child as they promote better bone growth, tissue growth and development of muscles.

Furthermore, a glass of milk can also be an effective source of amino acids, fatty acids and protein. These elements are vital for the formation of the baby’s nervous system.

Besides, dairy products are available in abundance and they are easily accessible to everyone! Some of the examples of dairy products include pasteurized milk,  casein, whey, and yoghurt and pasteurized cheese

Vitamin D Rich Foods

  • Shiitake mushrooms
  • Salmon
  • Mackerel
  • Egg Yolks
  • Fortified margarine
  • Fortified soy milk/ soy products
  • Fortified milk
  • Fortified cereals

Vitamin D helps in calcium regulation for bone health for both mother and baby. In a recent study done in Singapore, low maternal vitamin D status was associated with poorer sleep quality at mid pregnancy.

Other researches show that low vitamin D status during pregnancy is associated with higher risk of Autism Spectrum Disorder, higher risk of ADHD symptoms, higher risk of Multiple Sclerosis and lower peak bone mass in children at 20 years old leading to higher risk of fracture.

Emerging evidence also states that there may be a link between vitamin D deficiency and increased risk of allergic diseases.

Legumes

It might not be your cup of tea but legumes are actually great for your health especially when you are pregnant. What are the upsides to adding legumes into your diet, you may ask?

Firstly, legumes are home to much plant-based fibre, protein, iron, calcium and more important a great source of folate! Folate is an important nutrient for both you and the baby as it encourages protection from neural tube defects such as spina bifida and other life-threatening conditions.

Some of the examples of the common  legumes that you can find in our local grocery store easily are are peas, kidney beans, chickpeas, peanuts and soybeans, mung beans, adzuki beans, yellow lentils and black beans You can easily add these into your meals for example:

  • mungbean/ adzuki beans are commonly cooked into a desert
  • Kidney beans can be cooked with stewed beef
  • Soybeans and black beans can be added in your soup
  • Chickpeas and peanuts can be steamed or roasted and eaten by itself as a healthy snack
  • Peas and yellow lentils can be easily added into our staples to add colour and flavour

 Fruits

Fruits make for a tasty and healthy treat, but that is not all! Fruits are a rich source of antioxidants, it keeps you hydrated and promotes better digestion as well (constipation is a normal occasion during pregnancy, so you might want to stock up on these berries). They are rich in flavour yet still counts for a very low calorie!

Moreover, fruits help prevent cell damage and help in the absorption of iron, making it a superfood for pregnant mommies! Plus, you can also have them as snacks or a healthy alternative for desserts.

Keep in mind that you only stick to 2 servings of fruits per day as per recommended by Singapore Health Promotion Board.

If you are interested in turning your choice of fruits into yummy beverages or healthy smoothies, you might want to give MumChecked a try! You’ll be able to find baby or mommy related products that would make your daily routine a hassle-free experience.

Probiotics 

Probiotics are one of the foods that you should have more during pregnancy. Examples of probiotics include cultured milk and yoghurt. They are great for your health as it increases the number of good bacteria in your body.

In turn, this will encourage good gut health which is instrumental for the support of a good immune system. Additionally, probiotics lowers risk of allergic diseases ( mainly eczema) in babies.

Fish 

Fishes are great for your health. They are juicy, tasty and most importantly, easily accessible as well! Fishes are known to be a great source for Omega3-DHA. It helps with the development of the brain, eyes and nervous system of your baby. Plus, consuming fish would ensure healthy birth weight and lower risk of preterm labour.  What’s not to like?

In a nutshell, while you might not be able to indulge yourself as you did pre-pregnancy, it is worth keeping in mind that there are tasty yet healthy options available around you. After all,  your health is your most prized possession, and a healthy you is the best blessing your baby and your family can have.