A good pregnancy diet is essential for all expectant mothers that wish to have a healthy trouble-free pregnancy and a healthy baby. Unfortunately in this day and age, with the level of fatty processed foods on our supermarket shelves, a good pregnancy diet will not occur on its own. However, with some planning and organisation, expectant mothers will learn very quickly the best foods to consume during pregnancy and more importantly, the foods to avoid during pregnancy.
Proper nutrition ensures normal fetal growth and development. It also plays an important role for the mother, as eating the correct pregnancy foods helps maintain the hormonal balances in the woman’s body, and also helps to control mood swings, depression, and other behavioural concerns relating to pregnancy. Conversely, consuming the wrong foods can increase the possibilities of birth defects, including disability, low birth weight, and poor fetal development, as well as increasing the possibility of miscarriage. Birth defects have increased dramatically in the past 5 decades, with approximately 1 in 5 children born with problems.
So what are some of the foods to be avoided during pregnancy?
Junk foods are obvious foods to avoid during pregnancy. Junk foods are full of fats, food additives, processed sugars, are highly processed, and are low in nutritional value. Examples of junk foods are fast foods, fried foods, soft drinks, sweets and most boxed foods.
Caffeine is one to be avoided, or at least reduced considerably. Some studies have linked caffeine to low birth weight, premature birth and miscarriage. It is also thought to reduce iron absorption. Caffeine is also a diuretic which means that it helps to reduce fluids in the body. This can lead to dehydration and calcium loss for mother and child.
Artificial and refined sweeteners are empty calories that affect your body’s ability to regulate blood sugar. They can increase your desire for sugar, so the more you eat, the more you want. This in turn can increase your body’s demand for insulin production which can lead to diabetes. Two of the most common artificial sweeteners on the market are saccharine and aspartame.
Food additives, such as MSG are to be avoided. These are neurotoxins that will harm your baby’s development. Remember, natural wholesome foods do not have food additives, processed foods do!
Foods to avoid during pregnancy will include certain forms of seafood. Shellfish such as oysters, mussels, and clams are to be avoided unless they are well cooked. Raw shellfish can contain numerous bacteria that cause infection and food poisoning. Similarly, if you are a sushi lover, find an alternative for the duration of your pregnancy!. Sushi is raw fish, and will contain bacteria that can cause infection in the fetus. Also remember to avoid certain large fish like swordfish, king mackerel, tilefish, shark and marlin. All these fish can have high levels of mercury in their meat. If this is passed to your developing fetus, it can have an impact on the development of the nervous system.
Remember, wholesome natural foods, that are free of additives and processing, are the best foods for you and your baby. Begin your pregnancy diet with this in mind, and you will quickly establish the best foods to avoid during pregnancy.